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The streak is over: Mindel bikes Stockade-athon instead of running

The streak is over: Mindel bikes Stockade-athon instead of running

Citing plantar fasciitis, three-time champion in the 1970s had run each of the first 43 Stockade-athons
The streak is over: Mindel bikes Stockade-athon instead of running
Mark Mindel of Ballston Lake didn't run the Stockade-athon for the first time since the inaugural one in 1976.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SCHENECTADY -- In 1970, George Harrison released his first solo album since the break-up of the Beatles, "All Things Must Pass."

Six years later, Mark Mindel helped lay out a course for a new race called the Stockade-athon as a way for the city of Schenectady to celebrate the United States' Bicentennial.

On Sunday, Mindel circled the Stockade-athon course, which has undergone significant changes over the years, then circled back to that record.

Because for the first time in 44 years, he completed the course on two wheels instead of his own two feet. For years the last remaining person to have run every edition of the Stockade-athon, Mindel finally called it quits this year, because of plantar fasciitis in his foot.

Instead, he rode his bike, and expressed regret over a streak well upheld, but bound to end one day.

"I felt awful. Sad. Very sad," he said, with a grin. "But, you know, all things must pass ... George Harrison. But it was kind of fun. I got to see the race [finish] for the first time. I ended up watching Cara Sherman at a lot of spots, because she looked strong. She kept picking it up, too."

Sherman, a Mohonasen High School grad and UAlbany grad student coached by one of Mindel's best friends, Matt Jones, won the women's race in 54:24.

Mindel was a co-winner twice and a solo winner once in the first four runnings of the Stockade-athon. Eventually, the former champion's name became best associated with the race because of the fortitude of that over-four-decade-long streak.

On Sunday, his name and finish time were missing from the results for the first time.

"Last night. I was actually thinking, 'I can still do this one last time,' " Mindel said. "I coach at FleetFeet, and one of the runners there was going to run-walk with me. Then she texted me, 'Oh, wait, I've got to work.' So I took that as a sign. My wife said, 'Don't run!'

"I'm fine. I'm actually in pretty good shape. I've been biking and spinning and elliptical. Aerobically, I could've done it, but my foot would've been a disaster for another year. So it was probably the right decision."

The biggest change among the various alterations to the original 1976 course occurred five years ago, when it was essentially reversed from starting and finishing in Central Park to using downtown as the focal point.

Riding the course this year didn't bring back any flashbacks to his glory days, "because I was going the other way," he said, laughing.

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

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