It’s the latest hit song for actress/singer Miley Cyrus, who plays Hannah Montana in the television series that is popular among younger viewers.
It’s also the reason why Fernando Cabada Jr. worked much harder than he planned en route to winning the 34th annual Gazette Stockade-athon, which drew a record field of nearly 1,500 entrants on a clear, sunny Sunday that warmed up to close to 60 degrees by the time the race ended. A total of 1,268 runners finished the race.
List of finishers
For the complete list of race finishers, click HERE.
Cabada, a world-class runner from Boulder, Colo., who is the American record holder at 25 kilometers, defeated Jordan Davis of Remsen by 21 seconds, but his 46:35.7 was not the kind of time he was looking for in his first race since an Achilles’ heel injury sidelined him for six months. The injury prevented Cabada from running in the marathon for the U.S. in the World Championships in Berlin in August.
The hilly State Street section of the 15k course was much more than Cabada expected.
“A win is a win,” said Cabada, who was wearing a white Reebok T-shirt and dark sunglasses. “I can’t say I saved myself. I left it all out there. It wasn’t the best time, but I underestimated that hill. It seemed like it took two or three minutes to climb it. I was trying to run away with the race, and I kept pushing myself, but there was nothing I could do. I was supposed to be picking up ground up that hill, but I only picked up about five seconds.”
Cabada, who clocked a 46:10 to finish as the top American in last year’s Utica Boilermaker, was surprised how difficult the hill was, and he was also a little stunned that he couldn’t pull away from Davis.
“To be honest, I didn’t know how he was doing for a while, but then I got a little nervous because after three or four miles, he was still running very smooth behind me. He was looking good,” Cabada said. “I thought maybe at the seven- or eight-mile mark, he was starting to struggle just a little bit.
“I’ve run a lot of races, and I’m pretty good at reading other runners. I think he was fatigued just a little bit, and I thought I could start pulling away from him. I tried to give it a little more, but he was still right there.
“I don’t underestimate anybody. I knew he was another good runner back there. I was just clipping a five-minute pace, but I really couldn’t go much faster.”
Cabada, a Fresno, Calif., native, was hoping to run at least 45:45, but it’s clear that the 27-year-old standout is not yet at 100 percent.
“I think I’m still six to eight months away from being fully back, but this race was good for my fitness,” he said. “My Achilles’ looked pretty good. It’s only swollen a little bit. But I’ve got to say that this a very fun race, and a difficult one. The hill at the end was very tough. It felt great to have the uniform on again. ”
Cabada, who has run for the University at Akansas, Fresno State and Virginia Intermont, has increased his training dramatically during his comeback from the injury, and he ran close to 100 miles this week in preparation for the Stockade-athon, a race he heard about from some Syracuse friends he met while running at the Utica Boilermaker.
“I needed to run a race, and when I heard about this race, it sounded perfect for me,” he said. “I’m glad I ran it.”
Davis, 24, a former Auburn University standout, wasn’t happy with his time, although he was glad he could stay within earshot of Cabada.
“I usually go all out right from the beginning. I don’t like to play mind games,” said Davis, who ran 46:50 at Fleet Feet in Buffalo this year. “But we didn’t go out very fast at all.
“He’s [Cabada] a much better runner than I am. He’s a somebody, and I’m a nobody. I like to go all out, and I was hoping to run something closer to 46 minutes. We just didn’t have it on that hill. It’s not like we were just fooling around out there. We were both going out to win.
“He put more room between us at the bottom of the hill. He got about 10 meters ahead of me. I think we both underestimated that hill. We were chatting just before the race, and we both said that we wanted to go out there and get a good time. It just didn’t happen that way today.”
Defending champion Emory Mort of Ghent was a distant third in 48:19, followed by Aaron Robertson (48:31) of Rouses Point and Chuck Terry (48:33.5) of Albany.
Scott Mindel of Ballston Lake, the son of Mark Mindel, the only runner to compete in every Stockade-athon, was sixth in 48:38.8, followed by Seamus Nally of Burnt Hills (49:01.7), Justin Bishop of Colonie (49:39.7, Kieran O’Connor of New York (49:42.3) and Tim Scarpinato of Clifton Park (50:10.4).
For Mort, a 25-year-old former Cornell University track and cross country captain, it was a very disappointing race. A year ago, he won by nearly a minute over Andy Allstadt in a time of 47:51.4. Sunday, he was watching the two leaders from behind the entire way.
“I just didn’t have it today,” said Mort. “They [Cabada and Davis] didn’t go out very fast at all. If they did, they could have really put some room between themselves and the rest of the field. I didn’t run very well today. I didn’t think Cabada and Davis were very aggressive. Maybe Cabada was being cautious.”
Laurel Burdick of Manlius won the women’s race in 54:00.9, while Jen Adams of Ganesvoort finished second for the second consecutive year in 55:53.1. Defending champion Kaitin O’Sullivan did not enter, and two-time champion Emily Bryans of Schenectady couldn’t compete because of a stress fracture.