SCHENECTADY – It’s been 32 years since there was a back-to-back men’s champion at the Stockade-athon 15k.
There’s a good chance that streak will end on Sunday.
On the women’s side, there doesn’t appear to be much chance of a back-to-back winner, but not because the 2021 champ is out of shape or injured.
On the contrary, Cara Udvadia (nee Sherman) is coming off a terrific marathon career debut, but said on Thursday that she might not be quite recovered from that effort yet to run in the MVP Health Care Stockade-athon.
Lou Serafini, meanwhile, notified race director Brian Northan this week that he planned to run, and if the 31-year-old Serafini does, he’ll probably be tough to beat, based on the 45:28 he posted last year.
The former Niskayuna and Boston College star also won the Stockade-athon in 2016 with a time of 45:23.
You have to go all the way back to 1990 to find the last time a man won the Stockade-athon, which has been around since 1976, in consecutive years. Tom Dalton won it in 1989, then tied his friend Rich Coughlin for first place in 1990.
The 2022 men’s elite field includes six runners, Aidan Canavan, Charles Ragone, Sam Morse, Ryan Udvadia, Brian Reis and Scott Mindel, who are expected to finish in sub-48 minutes.
Like his wife Cara, Udvadia just ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 30, finishing third with a time of 2:27:36, a 5:38 pace.
Cara Udvadia, a former distance star at Mohonasen High School and UAlbany, ran a 2:47:08, comfortably under her 2:50 goal, even if the last two miles weren’t necessarily comfortable.
She won the 2021 Stockade-athon in 54:24, the same time she ran to win it in 2019.
“It [Marine Corps Marathon] was awesome. I was really happy with how it went,” she said. “I couldn’t have had a better debut, I don’t think. I can think of a million things I’ll do differently for next time. I don’t know about raceday, but I can think of a whole lot of things that I’ve already been taking some notes on and making a list, things that I want to change about my training.”
Udvadia said her recovery continues and that her workout on Thursday was the first since the marathon that felt normal to her.
“I’m not sure [about the Stockade-athon],” she said. “I did sign up, but I’m a little bit on the fence still. I really want to, so badly, but I’m a little bit dinged up from the marathon, dealing with a little thing with my hip flexor and feeling kind of tired.
“[Thursday] made me think maybe I could do it, but I’m leaning away from it a little bit.”
If Udvadia doesn’t run, that could open the door for Karen Bertasso-Hughes, a Stockade-athon mainstay who was the second female last year with a time of 57:16. Her expected finish time on Sunday is 54:45, based on the elite list supplied by Northan.
EXPECT TRAFFIC DELAYS
The Stockade-athon will start at 8:30 a.m. from Veterans Park across State Street from the MVP building.
The runners will head west toward Erie Boulevard, cross into the Stockade and turn around there to cross Erie Boulevard again on the way up Nott Street to Central Park.
They’ll turn around in the park, run through Vale Cemetery and Vale Park and finish down the Franklin Street hill toward City Hall.
The elite runners will complete the course in under an hour, but a field of about 1,000 will be strung out through these streets until about 11 a.m., so there will be some traffic delays along the way.
The back of the field should clear Erie Boulevard at the Nott Street circle around 9, and the last runners should hit Dean Street via Grand Boulevard at about 9:50.
They’ll be off Dean Street around 10. Brandywine Avenue is expected to have Stockade-athon traffic from shortly after 9 until shortly before 11 as the field leaves the park via Bradley Street and enters Vale Cemetery.
Vehicle traffic should expect delays on Nott Terrace out of Vale Park from about 9:15 to 11.
Based on entries as of Friday evening, the field size will be down a bit from 2021, when 1,025 runners finished.
Online registration closed on Friday, but latecomers can still sign up in person from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Fleet Feet Sports on Wolf Road in Albany.