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43rd annual MVP Health Care Stockade-athon Sunday

43rd annual MVP Health Care Stockade-athon Sunday

Race offers history, prize money and challenging 9.3-mile course
43rd annual MVP Health Care Stockade-athon Sunday
Runners head down State Street at the start of the 2015 MVP Stockade-athon 15k.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

SCHENECTADY -- One of the beauties of the 43rd annual MVP Health Care Stockade-athon 15k is that you never know who's going to show up.

The defending champs may not be there in any given year, but usually there's a deep list of top contenders, and the 2018 race, to be held at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, should be no different.

Besides the history of the race, there is substantial prize money, which this year will be available in separate amounts to both local and non-local runners.

What you can count on is a hodgepodge of runners who are strong at a variety of distances, which comes in handy for a race at the quirky distance of 15k (9.3 miles).

As of Wednesday, the list of contenders in the men's field, according to race organizer Brian Northan, included former Shenendehowa and University of Cincinnati star Scott Mindel, Shaun Donegan and an interesting entry from north of the border, Francois Jarry of Quebec.

The 32-year-old Mindel is coming off a victory in the Baystate Marathon on Oct. 21, running a 2:23:51.

Jarry also prefers the longer distances, and has a 1:07:08 half marathon and a 2:22:03 on his resume.

The women's field includes an elite marathoner of its own, Karen Bertasso of Albany, who finished in 2:43:46 at the Hartford Marathon last month to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in Atlanta.

The field also includes former Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Providence College runner Samantha Roecker.

If she can come close to duplicating the 53:39 she ran at the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia last year, she should be in good position for the victory.

Also signed up in the women's field are Courtney Breiner and Katie Messina, who ran a 57:09 to finish fifth among the women in the 2016 Stockade-athon.

Some of the top runners in the age-graded category are Beth Stalker and Ken Lemme.

The top three open men and women will receive $500, $350 and $200, respectively, and the masters prizes are $300, $200 and $100.

There is also prize money for top "local" finishers, which is defined as Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club members who reside in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Fulton, Greene, Columbia, Schoharie, Montgomery, Saratoga, Warren, Washington counties in New York, or Bennington in Vermont or Berkshire in Massachusetts.

The race will start at Veterans Park adjacent to the MVP headquarters on State Street, wind through the Stockade, head via Nott Street toward Central Park, turn around in the park and finish down the Franklin Street hill to City Hall.

Registration for the Stockade-athon is closed.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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