Two weeks removed from winning her age group at the Lucerne Marathon in Switzerland, 58-year-old Martha Degrazia was still operating like clockwork on Sunday.
She just missed cracking the 1:09 mark by seven-tenths of a second, and was second in the women’s 55-59 age group on a day when her goal was to be under 1:09:30. Coreen Steinbach of Pompey won the division in 1:05:42.
Degrazia’s marathon time (3:29:49) on the predictably hilly Lucerne course was only seconds off what she ran at Boston in April, a 3:29:39 to finish third in the 55-59 group.
“I’ll do the Troy Turkey Trot, and we’re going to Las Vegas in December, and I’ll run Boston again in April, so I’m excited,” she said. “But I was happy to run with my team today. I hear Eileen [Combs] and Lori [Kingsley] did really well.”
Degrazia said she’s been invited back to the marathon in Switzerland, which drew 8,000 runners, but she won’t make it next year, since it was a pretty expensive trip.
“I ran 1:09 today, and my goal was to get under 1:09:30, which gets me free entry next year,” she said with a laugh.
The next group
While Fernando Cabada and Jordan Davis were dueling on the front, and 2008 Stockade-athon champion Emory Mort was flying solo behind them, there was some spirited racing going on in the pack behind those three.
Aaron Robertson, 31, of Rouses Point pulled out fourth (48:31.0), followed by Chuck Terry of Albany (48:33.5), former Shenendehowa runner Scott Mindel (48:38.8) and former Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake runner Seamus Nally (49:01.7).
Terry missed a course personal record by just a few seconds.
“We let the two leaders do their thing and tried to run our own race,” Terry saoid. “Emory was always about 10 seconds ahead of us, kind of in no-man’s land between the two leaders and us. Tough way to run.”
Mindel actually passed Terry late in the race to get into fifth and wasn’t far behind Robertson, but he had to expend so much energy getting in that position, that he faltered enough in the final mile to allow Terry to regain fifth.
“I just ran out of juice, probably from making up all that distance,” said Mindel, who ran the course with Nally on Saturday, got lost and totaled about 11 miles for the workout.
“We didn’t go out too fast, just a little faster than I wanted, but I just stuck with a group of five or six guys. We were clipping off 5:12s, 5:13s. The whole time, I felt really, really relaxed. I just wanted to stay within striking distance of the group and wait ’til the [State Street] hill.”
Mindel, making his Stockade-athon debut, ran back onto the course after finishing to find his father, Mark, who kept his record alive as the only person to run in all 34 Stockade-athons by running a 1:25:47.8, over four minutes faster than he believed he could do.
“I was warming down with Seamus and caught my dad at eight miles, and ran the rest of the way in with him,” Scott Mindel said.
“I wasn’t tired at all,” Mark Mindel said. “I kept saying, ‘You’re going to die, you’re going to die,’ and it never happened.”
Ed Whitlock, the 78-year-old superman from Ontario, Canada, returned to the Stockade-athon and finished first in the age-graded standings with a time of 1:06:12.7.
The only person in the world to ever have broken three hours for the marathon as a septugenarian, which he did in 2:54:48 in Toronto at the age of 73, Whitlock has been having knee problems for the last two years and hasn’t raced much.
“I’ve always disliked running up hills; now I dislike running down them, too,” he said with a laugh. “I was pretty satisfied, considering I’ve had basically a two-year layoff because of my knee problems, and I’m just sort of getting back into shape now. It was about a minute faster than what I sort of hoped for, so I’m fairly satisfied with that.
“A lot has leaked out in two years. I think it leaks out faster than you can put it back in again.
“It’s always a pleasure to be here. [Race director] Vince [Juliano] always looks after me here, and I love meeting the people.”
By the numbers
For the fourth year in a row, the Stockade-athon had a record number of finishers, with 1,268. The race drew 1,257 in 2008, 1,133 in 2007 and 1,110 in 2006. There have been at least 1,000 in each of the last six years. . . .
Besides New York, Canada and the District of Columbia, the race drew runners from 16 states: Texas, Ohio, Colorado, New Hamphsire, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island, California, Maine, Hawaii and Maryland.