As Stockade-athon coordinator Vince Juliano stands in front of Veterans Park, looking toward Proctors, he envisions roughly 1,800 runners racing through the streets of downtown Schenectady next Sunday.
For the first time in the race’s 39-year history it will begin and end downtown, near the MVP Health Care headquarters. Check out the map here.
The health care provider is the new title sponsor of the 15-kilometer race. Other sponsors of the race are Fleet Feet Sports, Brooks, The Daily Gazette, Crystal Rock, and USA Track and Field.
“We used to start and end in Central Park and the runners would go through downtown,” Juliano said. “Now we have basically flipped it, the course is the same, just the start and finish points are different,”
Juliano said the race started in 1976 as a celebration the United States’ bicentennial. Now, he said, the race attracts runners from neighboring states and gives them an opportunity to see Schenectady’s historic neighborhoods. “The course really highlights all of the neighborhoods in Schenectady,” he said. “The runners will go to the Stockade district loop through Central Park, the Vale Cemetery and Vale Park and finish at City Hall.”
Juliano said there are about 20 “elite” runners who will compete for a $750 grand prize.
“These guys are really fast,” he said, noting that most of them are in their early 20’s. “Most of them will run each mile in five minutes or so. The whole course should only take them about 45 minutes.”
Those who won’t be competing at that pace should not worry, Juliano said.
“People with kids and those who aren’t that fast can go at their own speed and take their time,” he said. “This race is a community event, it isn’t just for the super-fast people.”
MVP Health Care President and CEO Denise Gonick said sponsoring the race fits in with the company’s vision.
“This year’s route showcases some of the most healthy and vibrant locations in our city, further demonstrating the revitalization and forward thinking of many community organizations and their leaders,” she said. “We are thrilled to keep this event in Schenectady and to participate in bringing thousands of racers, spectators and volunteers to our booming downtown.”
Juliano said people can sign up to participate in the race until Tuesday by visiting www.stockadeathon.com. There will be no registrations on race day.
He also said the race still is looking for volunteers.
“We have about 50 race marshals already,” he said. “But we could always use more.”
Those who wish to volunteer are encouraged to sign up by contacting race volunteer coordinator Liz Chaunhan at [email protected]
Cathy O’Connor of Scotia came to check out the new route for her son, who will be running the race. She said her son is one of the elite runners and is competing with the hopes of snagging the grand prize.
“I think it is great that they are starting in downtown,” she said. “It really gives them a chance to show off the city.”
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