Chuck Terry won the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon on Sunday, then was helped to the medical tent and spent 10 minutes on his back.
Once he was back on his feet, one of the EMTs told him “Your eyes don’t look great,” but he offered a reassuring chuckle and was on his way.
Given the choice to postpone an interview until later, he laughed and said, “I’m not going to get any better.”
If he had said those words six years ago, he would’ve been wrong.
Despite less-than-ideal training circumstances and temperatures in the 70s, the 29-year-old Terry, of Albany, ran much better than he did in 2005, his only other attempt at this race.
He gutted his way to a 2:32:47, a six-minute improvement from 2005, and beat Louis-Philippe Garnier, an excellent masters marathoner from Montreal, by 3:35.
“I got through it,” Terry said. “The rest of the season, if I do anything else, is just a bonus.”
The women’s winner was 35-year-old Sara Facteau of Plattsburgh, a name familiar to those who follow high school cross country.
She was a two-time Class B state champion for Peru High School in the early 1990s.
Facteau finished in 2:53:58, 2:36 ahead of 28-year-old Kristina Gracey of Albany.
Terry ran in a pack with Mike Roda of Albany, Jon Wetzel of Niskayuna and Sergey Kolesnikov of Russia, behind Justin Bishop of Colonie, by himself in second to 29-year-old Sean Gallagher of Clearwater, Fla.
Gallagher took command less than three miles into the race and went through the half marathon in 1:15:32, with Bishop 22 seconds back and Terry, Wetzel and Roda each less than a half-minute behind Bishop.
Terry made his move at mile 16, first catching Bishop, then Gallagher.
“We were running 5:50s, then I started doing 5:30s from that point on to try and catch the leader, who was 200, 300 meters ahead of us,” Terry said. “I started clicking off 5:30s and thinking I might be able to negative-split the race.”
He didn’t quite achieve that goal, by 13 seconds.
Still, Gallagher wasn’t able to answer Terry’s move, and when Terry started to feel poorly with about four miles left, he found some hidden reserve of will and energy to get through the finish line first.
“I felt great up until about 20, and then the last four, probably, were a real struggle,” Terry said. “And my hamstrings completely seized up by the boat launch.
“I fought through it, when I wanted to walk a few times. That’s difficult to do. I wasn’t sure how much of a lead I had. I was willing to settle for second or third. You get all these negative thoughts going through your mind.”
Terry said he pretty much didn’t have any thoughts once he got into the chute.
He was wobbly and was helped by two workers to the med tent, where he was covered in blankets and examined by the staff.
“I was really pumped that I held on to win, but I kind of blanked out at the finish,” he said. “I was out for five minutes.”
Terry did not come into the MHR Marathon with what would be considered textbook training.
Between his jobs as a recreational therapist for New Visions and head coach of the Hudson Valley Community College cross country teams, it’s difficult to find the hours in a week to get the proper mileage.
He spent Saturday on his feet coaching at the Hamilton College Invitational — “not conducive the day before the race” — and he gets to work only four times a week.
What he has, though, is more experience than he had in 2005.
That allowed him to be more patient early in the race, he said.
“And I was hydrated, I rested,” he said. “I double-hydrated during the race. I actually stopped at every water station and drank
water. I think I would’ve died earlier if I hadn’t done that. It was hot.
“I haven’t run this race since ‘05, and I was in better shape 5k and 10k-wise. I had run sub-15 for 5k at the Arsenal Run, then I came here and ran 2:38, and it was my first marathon. This year, seven years later, I had seven years of endurance, and I didn’t have to have the perfect buildup. Those miles accumulate over the years, and I learned how to race it, and ran six minutes faster seven years later.”
Gallagher held on for third, in 2:36:28, Bishop was fourth in 2:37:52 and Wetzel rounded out the top five in 2:42:01.
Facteau won in just her second career marathon.
A mother of 11-year-old daughter Lia, she was the seventh-place woman at the Vermont City Marathon in May, running a 2:56:21.
“I started with halves, and I wanted to try a full, and that’s pretty much it for my history,” she said.
Like the rest of the field, Facteau was feeling the heat.
She ran a 6:39 mile pace and was almost six minutes slower for the second half.
“I’m a little lost right now,” she said. “I just basically wanted to go out in 6:30 and hold it. I held it for awhile, and then I started losing it. But it’s tough.
“I dropped off that pace probably at about 18 or 19. But it’s my second marathon, so I’m still learning how to race it.”
Aaron, 33, of Voorheesville, won the MHR Half Marathon in 1:10:15, and 45-yeear-old Lori Kingsley of Wysox, Pa., a member of the Willow Street AC, won the women’s division in 1:22:02.
Chuck Terry (29, Albany), 2:32:47; Louis-Philippe Garnier (46, Montreal), 2:36:22; Sean Gallagher (29, Clearwater, Fla.), 2:36:28; Justin Bishop (30, Colonie), 2:37:52; Jonathan Wetzel (23, Niskayuna), 2:42:01; Dan Clark (39, Alachua, Fla.), 2:44:02; Sergey Kolesnikov (39, Kemerovo, Russia), 2:46:44; Mike Roda (35, Albany), 2:47:35; David Harwood (25, Schenectady), 2:48:14; Rudi Trivigno (42, Wood Ridge), 2:48:49.
Sara Facteau (35, Plattsburgh), 2:53:58; Kristina Gracey (28, Albany), 2:56:34; Mollie Turner (31, Chesapeake, Va.), 3:05:22; Alison Jeffs (45, Chester, N.J.), 3:08:18; Allison Craig (Delmar), 3:08:14; Sarah Muhlbradt (33, Los Angeles), 3:09:35; Anne Feldman (29, Arlington, Va.), 3:09:45; Karen Bertasso (27, Slingerlands), 3:12:15; Mary Christian (48, Flanders, N.J.), 3:13:48.
MHR HALF MARATHON
Aaron Robertson (33, Voorheesville), 1:10:15; Alexander Paley (25, Albany), 1:11:02; Thomas O’Grady (26, Latham), 1:11:06; Aaron Knobloch (35, Schenectady), 1:16:00; Louis DiNuzzo (29, Albany), 1:18:42.
Lori Kingsley (45, Wysox, Pa.), 1:22:02; Renee Tolan (36, Clifton Park), 1:23:10; Melanie Staley (30, Saratoga Springs), 1:24:48; Kari Gathen (43, Albany), 1:25:14; Shelly Binsfield (32, Clifton Park), 1:26:05.