Andy Allstadt served as a tour guide for someone who was in unfamiliar territory on Sunday.
At the end of the trip, he found that the best way to get Tim Chichester home was to essentially say, “Oh, just follow me.”
Those two ran together for almost the entire 9.3-mile Gazette Stockade-athon route, with Allstadt answering questions from Chichester about where the hills would be.
Chichester, 22, used those hills to get the lead on the 27-year-old former University at Albany star late in the race, but Allstadt found some hidden energy reserve to win for the second time, posting a 47:51.1 in the 35th annual Stockade-athon 15k.
Chichester, a former SUNY-Geneseo runner from Mount Morris, was 6.7 seconds back in 47:57.8, and former Shenendehowa and University of Cincinnati star Scott Mindel, who briefly had designs on second place around the seven-mile mark, took third with a 36-second personal record (48:12.0).
“It’s exciting to win it,” Allstadt said. “I didn’t think I would win today, quite honestly. I’d say the first time I won Stockade-athon, that was my best road race ever. I would still rate that above this one, but this was a good one, it was exciting racing the whole way.”
Allstadt ran 46:36 to win the 2007 Stockade-athon.
On a crisp, cloudless fall day, he and Chichester were virtually inseparable the whole way, with Mindel lurking late.
Chichester had never run the Stockade-athon, but ultimately, the layout played to his strength, since there are two big hills situated on the back end of the course.
He had about a six-second lead as they got to the top of Bradley Street, and both Chichester ahead and Mindel behind believed that that was it for Allstadt.
Not only was he able to regain the lead at mile 8, but he benefitted from Chichester’s lack of local knowledge as they came off Central Parkway and pulled into the big loop around Iroquois Lake. Loop? What loop?
Chichester said he was all set to head straight to the Casino, not realizing that they had about three-eighths of a mile left around Iroquois before they finished at the Casino from the other direction.
“This is my first time running the course, so I didn’t know where the finish was, and actually, I started a kick coming into the park, because I thought we were going to go to the finish,” he said. “When I realized we weren’t, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ ”
“I could feel he was close,” Allstadt said. “I didn’t turn around and look, because that’s a bad idea, usually. But I knew he was close. The last turn, where you’re going to the finish line, you can turn and look a little bit, and I could see he was still close there, too. I was scared the whole way.”
Allstadt and Chichester wasted no time separating themselves from the rest of the field, which shattered the record for finishers with 1,387, 119 more than last year.
By the time they got through the first mile in 4:53, it was a two-horse race, chased by a pack of four that included the 24-year-old Mindel.
Chichester had flashed his 5k speed with a 14:53 to win the Run for Dunkin’ in Albany on Sept. 12, when Allstadt was fifth.
This time, they were together through 5k, then Chichester pushed the pace a little bit.
“In the first 5k, he was actually asking me about the course,” Allstadt said. “He didn’t know where the hills were, and when I started to fall back a little bit, he actually cheered me on.”
“We ran together pretty much for the first five miles, and then on the next few miles, on the uphills, I took off a little bit and put about 20 yards on him,” Chichester said.
By then, Mindel had worked his way back into the picture.
“By the time I got to five miles, I realized I was catching Tim and Andy,” Mindel said. “Going up State Street, I made up a lot of ground on them.
“Right before seven miles, I’d gotten within five or six seconds of Andy. And he even told me after that he had heard me, and I think that woke him back up. I thought Tim was going to win, and I thought I was going to beat Andy. I mean, he didn’t look good at all. I guess him hearing me woke him back up, because he made a big move right at 7. He caught Tim right around seven and a half. They just kind of gapped me at that point.”
Allstadt took over for good at mile 8.
Chichester, whose sister, Jessica, was Allstadt’s teammate on the Great Danes cross country roster, believed he still had a chance to outkick Allstadt, but his miscalculation turning toward Iroquois Lake ruined the timing of his kick.
“I’m good on uphills, so the last part was an advantage for me, but the last mile got me,” Chichester said.
Allstadt will use the next two weeks to taper for his primary fall goal, the Philadelphia Marathon.
Chichester said he’s scheduled to make his marathon debut in Orlando, Fla., in January.
“This is my last race before it, but since I pulled a calf this week, I didn’t run very much, so I actually got a pretty good taper, by accident, for this race,” Allstadt said. “I’m looking to PR. My ultimate goal is to break 2:19 for the [U.S. Olympic] Trials qualifier, so I’ll go after that, but I’m not sure if I’ll hit or not.
“Probably, I’ll fall apart,” he said with a laugh.
Mindel, who was sixth last year and was coming off a win in the Cincinnati Half Marathon in sub 1:09, was all alone in third.
Former Guilderland star Seth Dubois of Altamont was fourth in 49:02.9, and Mark Andrews of Rochester was fifth in 49:08.2.
“I wanted to go under 48, but I was definitely happy with this,” Mindel said.
NOTE: The complete list of finishers can be found in today's print editions of The Daily Gazette.