by Stephen Hallgren
As I was driving up to Lake George from Albany, I knew it was going to be the perfect day for a race. The temperature had dipped into the 30s overnight, but despite the crisp air, the sun was out warming things up and quickly melting the frost away. I’ve never raced the Adirondack 5k, but I was particularly excited for this race. One reason is that there haven’t been a lot of races happening this year, with the stupid COVID-19 pandemic. I was also excited because rather than racing, I’d be cheering on my Nark Running & Strength (NRS) teammates, while shooting race photos–for my very first time–of all the runners who came out to prove that running doesn’t stop for COVID-19. Also, did I mention that the race was hosted at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery? A cold beer was in my near future.
If you haven’t attended a race yet during the pandemic, things look a lot different than what you might be used to. The Adirondack 5k joins only a handful of locally organized races that have figured out how to successfully host a race, while also meeting the appropriate health requirements of New York State. While over 200 runners raced, each racer was grouped into 1 of 5 waves staggered approximately 45 minutes apart. For each wave, 5 racers, spaced 6 feet apart, started at 30 second intervals. Masks abounded (my favorite was the Baby Yoda mask worn by a volunteer) and were mandatory everywhere except for your own personal “bubble” in the staging area. Despite all the somewhat cumbersome precautions, the joy, energy, friendship, struggle and competition of racing was very real throughout.
The ADK 5k website describes the course as “providing panoramic views of Lake George in early fall” with minimal hills, the biggest of which is a 60’ climb. That 60’ hill did not deter the top finishers from giving it their all and finishing with some scorching times. Jonathan Lindenauer (Willow Street AC) pulled off the overall win, Anthony Giuliano and Nathan Laing (NRS) came in close behind with the 2nd* and 3rd place overall. Within the women’s division, Christine Myers (NRS) took 1st place (5th overall), with Stephanie Popovitch (NRS) and Alyssa Drapeau (NRS) coming in 2nd and 3rd place.
After shooting more than 1,400 photos, plus lots of start/finish line video, it was time for me to head back to the Adirondack Pub & Brewery and join up with my teammates, fill my hungry belly with a pulled pork sandwich, wash it down with a Fat Scotsman and revel in the joys of running. While things looked different than other years, it was nonetheless a successful and beautiful day for runners to come together and do what they love. I was thankful that the ADK 5k happened, I was thrilled to have been able to participate vicariously through my camera lens, and super proud of my NRS teammates for showing up and running an amazing race. Here’s to what I hope are many more races, despite the pandemic.
* It should be noted that while Louie Dinuzzo’s time placed him in 2nd overall, to receive the Overall Award (Division), runners needed to run in wave 1 or wave 2. Therefore, Louie won his age group, but not the 2nd place overall award.
Stephen has a site called Teevio that has wonderful videos and photos to explore and other fun features. Click here to enjoy.