The historic Gazette Stockade-athon, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, has a long list of multiple champions.
There’s been a new face in both the men’s and women’s divisions in each of the last four years, though, and there’s a good chance that that trend will continue on Sunday.
At least one former champion will have something to say about it, anyway.
Former University at Albany star Andy Allstadt, who won the Stockade-athon in 2007, heads the list of men’s contenders, and the women’s elite field has some talented newcomers, but 43-year-old Emily Bryans of Schenectady, a two-time Stockade-athon champ, will be a factor.
“What it looks like is you have a group of five men and five women who should be the ones to beat,” race director Vince Juliano said.
The race is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. from Central Parkway near the stone gate and will finish with a loop around Iroquois Lake to the Central Park Casino.
With no day-of-race registration, the last chance to enter will be today at the Healthy Living Expo at Proctors Theater from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The women’s race promises to be particularly competitive, with the additon of two young out-of-towners, Emily LaSala of Jamesville and Amanda LoPiccola of Syracuse.
LaSala, 25, was the second woman at the Bread for Schools Half Marathon in Fabius with a time of 1:19:22 on Oct. 10, and was the fifth U.S. woman at the Utica Boilermaker 15k in July with a time of 54:33.
She won the Syracuse Festival of Races 5k in September with a 17:01, as Bryans finished third in 17:17.
The other key race for Stockade-athon participants, based on the fact that it’s 15k, is the Fleet Feet Buffalo, where LoPiccola ran a 55:45.
“I would think Emily LaSala and Amanda LoPiccola would be up there,” Bryans said. “Amanda LoPiccola has a ton of speed, she’s really excellent at shorter distances, but her 15k is under 56, too. I would give her the edge. And Emily LaSala ran a 54 at Boilermaker, so she’s obviously formidable, also.”
“I think Emily LaSala is the one to watch,” Juliano said.
The other three top contenders have each produced excellent marathon performances this year.
Kingsley, 44, of Wysox, Pa., ran a 2:46:45 at Boston in April, and followed that up with a 2:51:39 at Twin Cities this fall.
Bryans and Combs each ran marathons in October, Bryans setting a personal record in winning the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, which she had been pointing toward for most of the year, in a time of 2:50:36.
Combs, the 2007 Stockade-athon champ, ran a 2:51:45 at the ING Hartford.
Bryans said she’s recovered well from the marathon, but it was only four weeks ago. Combs ran Hartford the same weekend.
“It’s really hard to say, until I test my legs a little bit,” Bryans said. “But I think I’ve recovered pretty good. There’s been no issues, no injuries — that’s the big thing.
“I’ve just done some basic maintenance things. My mileage has been greatly reduced, of course. Whether I still have my full head of steam remains to be seen. It would be good if I had another week or two.”
“Combs is definitely running well,” Juliano said. “She could surprise. She’s been training lights out. So you’ve got two 20-year-olds, then you’ve got Eileen Combs in her 30’s and probably the two best masters runners in the Northeast.”
Allstadt is coming off a 1:08:14 in the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon and has the fastest 15k seed time, the 46:36 he posted at the Stockade-athon in 2007.
The men’s field also includes Mark Andrews of Rochester, who ran 47:44 at Fleet Feet Buffalo this year and a 15:01 in the Run for Hospice 5k; former Guilderland High star Seth Dubois, who ran 47:50 at the Boilermaker last year and shows a 15:06 5k this year, in the Run for Dunkin’; and former Shenendehowa star Scott Mindel, who is coming off a 1:08:43 to win the Cincinnati Half Marathon last weekend.
A late addition to the field was Tim Chichester, who snapped off a 14:53 at the Run for Dunkin’.
The race could come down to Allstadt’s superiority at the 15k distance against the potential speed of the runners with better 5k PR’s.
“If Chichester could hold a 14:53 pace, he would be tough to beat,” Juliano said. “Honestly, I don’t have a prediction. Andy, on paper, is the one to beat, but these other guys can beat him in a 5k. Andy is so tenacious and so good and such a competitor . . . he doesn’t like to lose.”
Stockade-athon runners will be greeted with music at several spots along the course.
Gary Van Slyke will be playing fife and drum in colonial dress near the Lawrence the Indian statue in the Stockade, Ally Crowley-Duncan of the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band will be playing bagpipes in Vale Cemetery, Paul Sloan will be playing music at Bradley Street and the kazoo band “Symphonic Kazoo Humsemble” of the Glenville Rotary will be stationed at the top of the Bradley Street hill. . . .
Juliano said that he expects the Stockade-athon to come close to another record for particpation.
Last year, there were about 1,500 entries and 1,268 finishers.