by Tom O'Grade
The Stockade-athon is a premier race in the Greater Capital Region. For any distance runner living in the area it is certainly a race that is on ones radar. I first heard about the race from Colonie High School coaches, Tom Greene and Frank Myers, who participated in the race in 2004. Consequently, I ran the Stockade-athon that year while a sophomore at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) rather than the cross country regionals, which fell on the same weekend.
In 2005 again because I was the 8th man on our RPI cross country team I went to the regionals and watched the races as an alternate. Next day I ran the Stockade-athon in 53:30 to place 10th overall cutting four minutes off my previous year’s time. Vince Juliano, long time Stockade-athon director, informed my dad of how I had improved. Vince thought that I could qualify for free entry if I could run under 53:00 minutes, and someday be a contender in the race.
In 2006, health issues prevented me from doing either the Stocke-athon or the RPI cross country races. Instead, I focused on finishing my undergraduate studies. By 2007, however, I again ran the Stockade-athon in 52:39, good for 12th place. Each year from 2007 until 2015 I ran the Stockade-athon except for 2012 when my training schedule conflicted with that for the Philadelphia Marathon. I placed in the top 10 runners and with consistent and steady training I ran just over 50 minutes twice. My best Stockade-athon time was 49:53 in 2014.
By 2015 I had run in 10 Stockade-athons. Local runner and one of its founders (1976) Mark Mindel is the only person to have run in every Stockade-athon. Several others have run 20 or more, so my goal became to run the Stockade-athon every year to join the 20+ Stockade-athon Club. But “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” In early 2016 I tore my Achilles tendon after a long battle with chronic Achilles tendonitis. Consequently, I was unable to run for most of 2016 and missed the Stockade-athon. Happily, by 2017 I was able to run again so am entered this year. How I will do remains to be seen but just being in this great event means much to me.
Best of luck to all competing this year!
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