Peter Newkirk had a lot more fun using his legs than his mind during the 33rd annual Stockade-athon Sunday.
Known for his behind-the-scenes work as a tireless supporter of area road racing, Newkirk took time to get in a little friendly competition with some family members who were visiting from Annapolis, Md.
“I had my two sons up here, along with my daughter-in-law,” he said. “We had a great time. I decided to start preparing for this about six months ago. I usually stay in pretty good shape, but when I knew the kids were coming up from Annapolis, I thought it would be great to run this race with them.”
The 62-year-old Newkirk didn’t break any course records, finishing in 1:38, but he had a chance to see how one of his peers, Stockade-athon race director Vince Juliano, handles the race. Newkirk does his share of running area road races as the director of the annual GHI WTC Corporate Challenge.
“I know some of what Vince goes through when he’s working on this. I’m sure he’s been preparing for this for a long time, and he’ll start thinking about next year right after the race. That’s what I do with the Corporate Challenge every year.”
While the Stockade-athon drew a record number of entries this year at nearly 1,400, Newkirk’s Corporate Challenge handles 7,000 runners and 300 teams every year.
“I enjoy it,” he said about being involved in so many road racing enterprises. “I was never that good of a runner in high school, but I picked it up again much later in life. I started running again in 1974, and I ran in the New York City Marathon in 1977.”
The Albany native and Hamilton College graduate runs Newkirk Communications with his brother, Ray. The Newkirks are the primary sponsors of the Willow Street Athletic Club, whose members include most of the top Capital Region runners.
“There are really two branches of Willow Street,” he said. “There is a group of older guys who run informally, and there is also the Willow Street Athletic Club. My brother and I sponsor the club. We really enjoy being involved.”
Newkirk is also very involved with the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club.
“There is no doubt that running these kinds of events is a lot of work. There is so much to all of this, both before, during and after the race,” he said.