No matter how much history you have and how many precedents that have already been set, there’s always room for something new.
Besides chip timing, the Gazette Stockadeathon will also be offering substantial prize money to the open competitors for the fi rst time on Sunday.
The $3,000 posted by the Fleet Feet shoe store will go hand-in-hand with the race’s designation as the USA Track and Field 2008 East Region 15k championship, with winners qualifying for the national championship in Jacksonville, Fla.
The idea is to ratchet up the incentives for top-level amateur runners, who always seem to find their way to the Stockade-athon, anyway, but now have even more reason to compete in the 33rd running.
“I am thrilled that we have that extra support from Fleet Feet,” race director Vince Juliano said. “We couldn’t justify having an East Region championship without having the money.”
One of Fleet Feet’s shoe manufacturers, Brooks, has made a three-year commitment to putting up the prize money, Fleet Feet Albany owner Charles Woodruff said.
The Stockade-athon had already offered $600 to the top five places in the age/gendergraded division and $1,000 to the top three men’s and women’s masters finishers.
The money breakdown for the open division will be $1,500 each for the men and women, with $600 for first and $400, $250, $150 and $100 for the next four, respectively.
To be eligible, a runner must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien who is a current member of the USATF East Region, which consists of the Adirondack, Connecticut, Long Island, Maine, Metropolitan, Mid-Atlantic, New England, New Jersey, Niagara, Virginia, Potomac Valley or Three Rivers associations.
The champions will be invited to the Gate River 15k in Jacksonville and given travel, lodging and elite status at the race. Air fare will be provided if the national standards of 48:00 (men) and 56:00 (women) are met.
“You have to pay the top amateurs some money to get them to come to your race,” Juliano said. “This is not money that they can quit their job over. But it’s some money that justifies them hopping in a car, spending 50 dollars in gas prices and tolls to get here. It maybe gives them a new pair of running shoes, they can go out to dinner on it.”
“I love the Stockade-athon,” Woodruff said. “It’s a road race. What I mean by that is they go to it because they want to run a race, it has a national reputation and we thought prize money could increase the top end.”