It was difficult to tell if Dana Bush was more delighted with her finish in the Stockade-athon on Sunday, or with that of her two kids in the fun run.
Take that back . . . it was the kids, easy.
An hour and a half after Bush finished fourth in the Stockade-athon, she watched her 8-year-old son, Ryan, and 6-year-old daughter, Emily, finish the one-mile circuit around Iroquois Lake.
It was Bush’s first appearance at the Stockade-athon since she won it in 2000 under her maiden name, Ostrander. She’s also a former cross country runner on a state champion team with Shenendehowa, in 1995.
Remarkably, her 56:31 on Sunday was only 32 seconds slower than her winning time 12 years ago. But the really fun part was scooting back around the lake to cheer on her kids.
“It was really exciting,” she said. “Ryan’s doing the Junior Olympics. He won the first race, then we’re going to Long Island next weekend, so our attention has shifted to them, and whenever we get to run, we do.”
Dana Ostrander married her high school sweetheart, Rick Bush, who was on Shen’s state and national championship 3,200 relay in 1995.
They live in Saratoga Springs, where Dana Bush teaches reading at Geyser Road Elementary School.
“My goal was the top five,” she said. “I knew it would be tough. My focus isn’t really running anymore, it’s my kids. I don’t get to train like I used to, so I was happy with the place that I got.
“I tried to start off at a pace that was comfortable, but competitive with the other runners, and I felt I had a good race. I had done some fall races and knew I was in decent shape, so I said, ‘What the heck, I’ll try it.’ ”
BACK FOR MORE
An interesting trio of runners finished in widely separated spots in the Stockade-athon, but were joined by the common thread that they were — gratefully — back for another Stockade-athon.
Among them were 54-year-old Tom Dalton of Schenectady (56:07), 61-year-old Dan Larson of Queensbury (1:15:26) and 60-year-old Mark Mindel of Ballston Spa.
Dalton, a six-time Stockade-athon champion, has been nagged by injuries in recent years, but returned for the first time since he won it as master, in 2004.
Larson, best known for having completed the Boston Marathon 37 straight times and starting it 43 straight, had not run the Stockade-athon since the first one, in 1976.
Mindel, who helped design the original course, won the race three of the first four years and is the only person to have run in all 37 Stockade-athons.
“I figure Mark Mindel has done every one; I’m probably the only person who has only done the first one and this one,” Larson said.
“I can’t believe that it was 30 years ago that I first won this race,” Dalton said.
“Back in September, I was barely breaking 18 minutes [for 5k], so I just ran three times as far, and ran 56-flat. I actually had three months of consistent training. I decided that I would run it if I could have a good healthy fall, and I have. I’ve been running about 50 miles a week, getting a long run in and doing interval work.”
Mindel’s streak was in jeopardy because of a torn groin, but he credited cross training for keeping himself patched together and fit enough to run what was a faster time than he had run the previous two Stockade-athons.
Larson’s absence has been due to the fact that, as a physician, he usually works weekends, compounded by other schedule conflicts.
With 1,639 runners and a significantly altered course compared to the one he ran in 1976, Larson said that the Stockade-athon had changed “astronomically,” but not in a bad way.
“It’s bigger, it was more low-key back then,” he said. “It’s nice to see it grow and still be friendly. At this stage, you’re not getting rich, you’re not getting famous . . . have fun.”