Celebrating the Tuesday Night Track Meet's 50th Anniversary Season

by Frank Myers

Until the late ‘60s area summer track meets were hosted at Bleecker Stadium on each of the 4 Wednesdays in July. One week there would be the 100 yard dash, the 440 yard dash and the 1 mile run. The next week there would be a 220 yard dash, and 880 yard run and a two mile. If competitors wanted a full-scale meet that had to travel to Brockport, Sydney, Rochester, Elmira or New York City.

My track club, the West Striders decided there was enough interest in track to warrant a summer meet schedule so my brother Don and I held our inaugural meet on Monday, July 8 at Colonie High School. A total of 18 males competed and we had 6 running events. We had 3 more meets and about 40 different people competed over the course of the 4 weeks. All the meets were run on the Colonie cinder track.

The contests were moved to the U Albany Grasstext track for the 1970 through 1972 seasons. We averaged about 30 competitors over the course of the 6-7 meet season. We had most of the standard running events and added several field events.

We moved back to Colonie’s newly surfaced Resilite track for the 1973 campaign. In 1975 the Colonie Recreation Department took over sponsorship of our program from the West Albany Striders. At this point we started getting between 100 to 125 competitors.

The “Running Boom” in the early ‘80s and the advent of the Empire Games helped our numbers to increase.

Back to Colonie for 1988 and a return to normalcy as far as participation went. We made a drastic change in 1990. Tim Layden, now one of the head writers at Sports Illustrated, was a fledgling area sports writer and his main assignment was covering the Saratoga Race Track. Tim was a 4:20 miler but couldn’t race on Monday because Saratoga was open. The track was “dark” on Tuesdays so Monday Nite Track Meets became Tuesday Nite Track meets. This actually helped attendance since we got more road racers involved. We had another drastic change in 1990. We ran our meets at Shaker because Colonie was installing a new polyurethane track.

We had many highlights in the ‘90s. In 1997 we got to use the football concession stand bathrooms. We had been bathroom-less for about 28 years. Also we celebrated our 200th meet in 1994. Five competitors from the inaugural meet in 1969 competed---Charlie Shrader, Bernie Gansle, Jeff Green, Don Myers and myself.

The Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club took over sponsorship from the Colonie Recreation Department in 2010.

Fun Facts

Olympians who competed

  • Don Paige
  • Andy Bloom
  • Tracy Baskin
  • Diana Richburg
  • Grace Claxton
  • Tim Lewis
  • Harry Marra (Olympic Coach)

National Champions – Between 15 and 20

State Champions – Over 100

As of July 10, 2018 – 428 Meets (We’ve kept the results of 420 of them)

On June 25, 2018 – We timed 240 people in the Mile

Since the “Running Boom” is way over, we generally get a huge number of “kids” and not as many adults as past years. 

THE PROGRAM HAS BEEN “FREE” SINCE ITS INCEPTION

Helpers (non-paid) that I can remember:

Diane Myers                 Eleanor Myers
Bill Drake                      Don Doolittle
Jim Egan                        Ray Gomez
Anton Kastberg           Don Romano
Jen Kramer                   Karl Steffen
Mary Beth Steffen       Don Gallagher
Nicole Susser               Dana Ostrander
Ann Michalek               Linda Mindel
Cheryl McMillan          Ellen Predmore
Tracy Clifford               Ellen Snee
Kirstin Kaminski          Kaitie Schillaci
Doug Hadley                Matt Jones
Sandy Morley               Paul Gansle
Mike Caccuitto             Glenn Wolin
Tom Greene                 Lisa Paparone
Scott Hannay               Pat Morris
Pete Sheridan              Bernie Phillips
Mark Mindel                Bob Oates
Ron Racey                    Bernie Philips

The red have helped this year. My apology to anyone I forgot. After all, it’s been 50 years.

Links

Tuesday Meets Running Strong: Myers brothers still run weekly summer track competitions at Colonie High School 2018

Something for everyone: Colonie summer meets still popular after 40 years 2009

CCHS Girls Running Coach Myers Notches 300th Win


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