by Wes St. Riders, Al Tamont, De Sert Rose and Kram Lednim
Not to worry, however, as numerous pre-entries came in and a good number of day-of-meet teams came to play so this year’s turnout of 81 teams was the most we’ve had in the post dead-ball era.
It started to rain heavily at 7:00 race day and to the casual observer it looked like there would be a small “walk-up” crowd, but as any true historian of HMRRC events held on Colonie soil knows, it never rains during one of our events so it was “business as usual” this year.
After assistant race director Al Tamont gave pre-race instructions which nobody listened to, the women’s race was begun by recent Columbia Hall of Shame inductee Doug Hadley at precisely 8:29.
The start was predictably furious and fast. A pack of women, which included North Country invader Megan Kellogg, towed a willing group which included Karen Bertasso, Courtney Breiner, Ava Scott, Hannah Smith, Kathryn Tenney, and Emily Digman to a fast first mile.
The pace never slackened as the group approached the bike trail when area coaching legend Matt Jones remarked, “I can’t bike a 440 as fast as they are running.”
Megan poured it on for the next two miles and finished in 17:17, leaving a pack of fast women at least 30 seconds in arrears.
The men’s race became as exciting and just as competitive as the women’s when some great athletes were caught trailing significantly at the exchange.
Most of those “heavy hitters” were not used to being in arrears. “This will make for some very interesting racing” quipped ESPN commentator Mike Greenberg of Mike and Mike in the Morning fame.
Unfortunately for Megan, her early lead was not nearly enough as her teammate, Brian Halligan, ended up with numerous fishhooks in his back as they finished 3rd in the 37-45 age group.
The overall winner of the race and the 37-45 age group were Jacob Andrews (15:11) and Courtney Breiner (17:54). They were followed quickly by Dylan Lowry (15:36) and Hannah Smith (18:06) for second in the race and second in the 37-45 division.
Guilderland phenom Noah Tindale (15:37) and Colonie superstar in waiting Kathryn Tenney (18:08) were victorious in the 36 and under age group. A total of 29 teams finished in the aforementioned age division.
Ben Fazio (15:50) and Katie Schuff (25:52) won the 46-54 race. Annual Duo stalwart Nick Webster (16:35) and Karen Bertasso (17:47) came in first in the 55-63 age group. John Deer (19:05) and Kari Deer (20:03) were winners for the second year in a row in the 64-72 division and a hastily-formed tandem of Joe Altobello (20:38) and Troy High School track coach Estelle Burns (19:35) picked off the 73-81 age group title.
Brian Borden (19:43) and Hillary Johnson (20:07) were the best in the 82-90 age group and Craig Evans (19:09) and Shanley Amber (20:40) snagged the 91-99 age group.
The highlight of the day, however, was the much anticipated pairing of Tom Dalton and Emily Bryans. Tom has never raced in the Duo – perhaps he was scared of Tom Bulger. That’s what Tom said. Just kidding, but Emily is a regular winner at the race. The 2016 pairing of Tom (18:16.1) and Emily (18:16.0) won in the 100-108 division and broke the record set in 1997 by Phil Jessen and Cindy Schermerhorn by almost 2 minutes.
In the 109-117 grouping, the tandem of Dale Broomhead (didn’t get his time) and Janice Phoenix (24:51) were the winners. Dale is a member of internationally famous biker club, “The Frogs” and was probably a little short on running and a little long on biking. Or perhaps his minor flexor hallucia longus injury hampered his race. But like Saratoga training legend Dale Romans quipped, “Dale worked like a beaver with an overactive thyroid trying to dam the mouth of the Mississippi” and pulled his squad to the much cherished victory.
The final age grouping, the 118+ age group, was won by the pairing of James Larkin (28:29) and Debbie Kelley (27:29).
Meet organizers offered appearance money to Mark Mindel and Mary Beth Steffen but the legends of area running would not budge. Mary Beth stated, “If Big Papi is going to stay retired then I am also.” In Mark’s case, for whatever reason, aging runners drop off the radar screen and become Facebook gurus. In the mythically tangled genealogy of the Duo, it is a fortunate truism that a person who competed in the first Duo (Mark) did not compete in this one. Noted roadmeister Mark instinctively knows that at his age the only way not to run like a dinosaur is to attack his fellow Stegosaurusess. But as Mark so eloquently waxes, “I’m like a dinosaur with a large tail. I look around and there aren’t many dinosaurs left, just a lot of small animals moving very fast and I can’t compete anymore with that.”
As former Guilderland coach and nationally renowned dance instructor Bob Oatesovich was finishing reading out the final result of the day, he was approached by Jackie McMullen, a reporter from the Boston Globe. The query was, “why do you continue to volunteer at this race when you don’t get paid?” Bob gave a long, thought-out answer but in was undecipherable since Ayegore, his Russian interpreter, was swimming in the pool with Colonie All-American track runners Amanda Chambers and Marilyn O’Brien.
The Dynamic Duo organizers have always taken a leaf out of Bob’s long-time meet director’s book. No computerized chips or High-Tek scoring for us. Just make the entry fee small and the prizes (176 shirts) nice colors. We probably won’t listen to Ed Menis’ suggestion to give out better awards, like self-loading PEZ dispensers with Duo legend Scott Mindel’s bobblehead on top?
As always, we want to thank the volunteers who helped put on this year’s Duo. They were Bob Oates, Don Myers, Diane Myers, Nancy Nisiewicz, Ellen Snee, Marl Mindel, Tom Greene, Natalie Greene, Doug Hadley, and Bob Foggo.