by Mat Nark and Friends
Daylight savings time comes to an end every year around this time and the HMRRC/MVP Stockade-athon 15k is here once again. Beginning in 1976 and running almost every year since, it has been one of the Capital Region’s BEST local road races for nearly five decades. The best of the best from the Albany area and beyond show up for this race every year. I ran my first Stockade-athon in the early ‘90s as a college student and have participated many times in the decades since. This race is a favorite of mine and our team with it being the conclusion for many of our fall seasons. Unfortunately, with the timing following many marathon seasons, our squad is never in peak fitness and readiness for this one. That being said, we always field multiple teams and give it our best in support of the HMRRC and the local running community.
With a ton of rich, running history in the Capital District let’s acknowledge a bit of this race’s history. From the first year when they hosted about eighty runners to its peak year, Mark Mindell is the creator and first race director of the Stockade-athon in 1976. He won the first two events and participated in 43 straight events (1976 - 2018). Originally, Joe Notar (Schenectady Commissioner of Parks and Recreation) came to Mark and asked him to start a local race for the country’s bicentennial. Mark decided that they would come up with a 15k event through the streets of Schenectady through the Stockade. This was at a time when 15k’s weren’t even a thing and local road racing was in its infancy. The event would explode in popularity in the late ‘90s under Vince Juliano’s direction. He directed the event for 19 years from 1998 to 2016. He directed five of the Stockade-athon’s best registration years with 2013 being its peak with 1877 finishers. It now stands as a mainstay in Capital District running and a must run for athletes near and far. The Stockade-athon is one of the oldest and best 15k’s in America. It has changed course numerous times over the years while always running through the Schenectady Stockade and presenting runners with a very challenging course to tackle.
I did it last year. Time was around 58 minutes. I’m trying to improve my time down to 57 minutes. As long as the weather is ideal, I believe this is possible.
Tyler Morrissey will probably wear the ski mask again and I am yet again coming off IR, so have your popcorn and cameras ready for the show. But on a serious note, most races of this distance in this area are rarely in Schenectady and it is great to see all the people lining the streets to watch the event. With that said, the goal for me is to set the course record.
Jamie Davenport and I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan Cooper 2 years ago running this race, through the cemetery. We were only mildly freaked out and he joined our group shortly after. Ha!!
This year I’m not running this race for fun. I am taking it seriously. I ran it back in 2021 with a minor knee issue so I wasn’t in 100% shape, but I finished in 1 hour 2 minutes, and even placed 2nd in AG. My goal for this year is to match or be around that time but would really like to see improvement even if it’s slight. I am feeling good & confident this year & am coming into this race injury free as well.
This is a race in my city, and it means a lot race the streets of Schenectady, where I grew up. I am finally in shape to attempt the goal that I've had for 6 years ..... a 1 hour 15k!
NRS/HMRRC/FF Stockade-athon Preview RUN on 11/29 from Bountiful Bread
I always look forward to running in such a great event. I expect to run well and for Team Nark to make some noise!
This race is the one that introduced me to the fact that this team existed. The first time I ever laid eyes on the Nark team was at the Stockade-athon in 2021, when I saw a few girls wearing Nark crops and thought, "They're crazy for running in crops in this weather...also, what's a Nark?" It took me a year and a half later to really look into it and find out...but I'm so glad I did. I'm glad to be running it this year as part of the team!
This is always a fun way to end the season. Nice and cool and running through the Stockade section of Schenectady is scenic and inviting.
I know the area well. For years I ran these streets day in and day out. This race is like a stroll down memory lane for me.
We will be hosting our annual Stockade-athon 15k post-race party, immediately following the event right up the hill from the finish line at 151 Bar & Restaurant.
Post Race Party: 151 Bar & Restaurant, Lafayette St., Schenectady, N.Y. 12305
See you there and happy running!