Women’s participation in races like the Gazette Stockade-athon has grown considerably in the last three decades.
Stockade-athon race director Vince Juliano attributes the growing overall field size of his race to this trend.
The race doesn’t just draw sheer numbers, though, it draws some serious talent, and since this year’s women’s field features such a strong group, Juliano has asked several of the top women to participate in a distance running forum at the Healthy Living Expo on Saturday.
It will gives area coaches and runners an opportunity to pick the brains of such notable women as two-time Gazette champion Emily Bryans, the reigning USA Track & Field 5k masters national champion; Willow Street Athletic Club teammate Lori Kingsley, the reigning USATF 15k masters national champion; and a relative newcomer, Emily LaSala, 25, of Jamestown, who won the Syracuse Festival of Races 5k this season.
They will conduct a panel discussion open to the public which will be held at 2:30 p.m. at Proctors Theater as part of the Healthy Living Expo.
“In the 80’s, women made up about 20 percent of the fields, in the 90’s it was about 30 percent and now it’s more like 50 percent,” Juliano said. “There are a lot of races where there are more women than men.
“We’ve had records crowds for our race, and it’s primarily a surge in popularity of distance running for women.”
Bryans won the Stockade-athon in 1998 and 2001.
At 43, Bryans is one of the top masters women in the country.
She is coming off a victory in the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon in 2:50:36.
Kingsley, 44, of Wysox, Pa., won the Buffalo Fleet Feet 15k in 55:37.
LaSala, who was fourth in the Stockade-athon last year, posted a 54:35 at the Utica Boilermaker.
The Healthy Living Expo will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It will be the last chance to register for the Stockade-athon, and pre-registered runners are encouraged to pick up their race packets.