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Green Lakes Endurance Runs 2006
Sunday August 27th, 2006
Sunday, August 27 turned out to be a beautiful day as nature and runner forged a new event, the Inaugural Green Lakes Endurance Runs. These 50 km and 100 km races were presented by the Syracuse Track Club and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation-Central Region.
The races are part of the Western New York Ultra Series coordinated by minister of ultras, Tom Perry, who has successfully spread the ultra gospel over central and western New York. The sport’s growing number of parishioners are evident by this inaugural race having to unexpectedly close at 50 entrants for concern that too big a field could possibly congest the lake trails, upsetting park patrons or the natural environment of these glacial lakes amidst 800 acres of old growth.
The growing core of runners in the series came together for the new challenge. Several came from out of state, including Les Omura of Honolulu and Jim Newin ventured down to the series once again from Mont St-Hilaire, Quebec. With the series now in its 3rd year, its runners have developed high regard for one another, making the events momentous occasions.
It was the first blustery day of late summer in central New York. The barometer dropped, winds gusted off Green Lake, and an occasional light rain cooled the 50 km and 100 km runners as they completed their certified 5 km loops around Green and Round Lakes.
50 km entrant Don McNelly, the robust 85 year old marathoner from Rochester, NY, completed 8 loops around the scenic trail and then added an abbreviated lap around Green Lake for 43 km, his 707th marathon. Witnessing McNelly’s feat was inspirational and difficult to put into words, as was the entire day. Lisa Hill, 4th place woman in the 50 km, offered an explanation of what was happening, “God is here.”
Perhaps Norm Frank’s run, his 924th marathon, could be compared to McNelly’s run, and it could be argued the 75 year young Frank one upped his Rochester buddy by completing the 50 km. These two prolific marathoners had just finished the Self Transcendence marathon miraculously two days before in Nyack, NY.
While Frank and McNelly were performing miracles, the front of the 50 km race was dominated by the Sweeney surname. Bob Sweeney, member of the USA 100 km team, flattered the race organizers with his entry. Jim Sweeney, a 25 year old from Albany, and former cross country ace at Fredonia State flew out to a 5 minute lead through 40 km.
On the final 5 km loop, Bob caught Jim (not related), and the crowd appreciated their sportsmanship as they crossed the finish together in 3:40:12, 7:05 pace/mile. That caliber of run on this dirt course along with August temperatures could protect the Sweeney record for several years.
Jim Sweeney’s father, Steve, nearly completed a Sweeney sweep, and would have had it not been for long time local favorite, Javier Hernandez, who was the last entrant to get into the field this year. Hernandez, known for having his day of middle distance successes, was a nice example of many central New Yorkers who took advantage of the ultramarathon distances in their backyard.
Steve Sweeney, 51, was dominating in a large field of veteran men, finishing 1 hour and 25 minutes ahead of the 2nd veteran Mark Sheremeta, representing neighboring Manlius, New York. Sheremeta maintained 30 minute 5 km laps through 30 km and faltered little through 40 km. Then 3rd place veteran Dave Weiss of Corning started picking away at Sheremeta’s 17 minute advantage. However, by then the lead was too much, and Weiss could come no closer than 9 minutes. The veteran men in the 50 km made up the largest contingent of runners. The competition for the WNY Ultra Series veteran champion will be hotly contested.
Every runner truly was a champion in this first running of the Green Lakes Endurance Runs. Considering Don McNelly’s 43 km marathon was a finish of honor, there were no DNFs in the 50 km. All the 100 km runners either finished 100 km or were recognized for running 50 km by being awarded the beautiful finisher’s patch, a colorful representation of the race venue.
Some women from the Finger Lakes area took time away from that regions busy trail race schedule to honor this inaugural event with their presence. You could say they invaded GLER, taking first in every event category: Locke’s Lorrie Tily won the Women’s Open 50 km by 18 minutes, Seneca Falls’s classy Cathy Troisi took the 50 km Veteran title, and Becky Harman entered the ranks of elite women who have won an ultra outright as she became the 100 km Champion.
Green Lakes State Park is a treasure just east of Syracuse, New York. Though the Finger Lakes women topped the field, the Syracuse area was well represented by its ultra women in the Open 50 km: 2nd place Shannon Nowlin of Solvey, 3rd place Edie Zajac of Cicero, 4th place Lisa Hill of East Syracuse, 7th place Maria Mancarella, age 18 of Syracuse, and Marla Bennett from Pompey.
The women stole the show in the 100 km. Yayoi Shimada, from the Bronx, took it out in commanding fashion. Becky Harman, the local Finger Lakes multisport endurance athlete, decided to run her first 100 km. Harman never faltered, running her own race; she appeared very relaxed each time through the aid station. The drama of whether or not Harman would creep up to Shimada never unfolded. Unfortunately, a nagging injury influenced Shimada’s decision to stop at 50 km. Many were as disappointed as she was for her gait was a beautiful thing to watch.
Harman sustained Zen like steps, each appearing as measured as the previous, crossing the finish line traffic cones in 9:28:17. Her nearest challenger, 11 minutes back, was Euihwa Lee, from the Bucks County Roadrunners outside Philadelphia. Lee was 20th place out of the 260 entrants at the Vermont 100 miler this year. It was most impressive watching Ms. Harman run away from Mr. Lee after 65 km.
Lee, on being encouraged to tackle the 5 minutes separating him from Harman at 80 km, simply looked up and with a knowing eye, seemed to be announcing something he had just learned about the natural world out on the trail, “…she is very tough,” and he wasn’t talking about our National Natural Landmark, Round Lake.
Nicole White of East Aurora, NY, rounded out the top 3 finishers in the 100 km, 2nd place Open Women. White was carving out 30 minute 5 km loops, all within a few seconds of each other through 40 km. At about 40 km is when these undulating shoreline trails start reminding you that your seemingly flat run in the park is not a run on pavement. However smooth, each step has its own nuance landing on a natural surface, leaking energy as you go.
The Canadian Jim Newin, posing a serious challenge to the WNY Ultra Series veteran standings, was awarded 1st veteran in the 100 km. Euihwa Lee’s fellow Pennsylvanian, Gary Ferguson, of Wyalusing, placed 2nd among the veteran men. At 50 km, Newin had a 30 minute cushion on Ferguson, but with consistent running, Ferguson inched back within 11 minutes. He could get no closer to Newin who has been dominating in the Ontario Ultra Series since 2003.
There were many more stories to be told. GLER instantly became a special event. Not surprising taking into consideration that this park so rich in natural history and beauty was combined with the sportsmanship of a special group of ultrarunners. Many of the runners expressed wanting first dibs on one of the 50 entrant spots for next year. The GLER volunteers did such a splendid job this year; the hope is to run just as nice an event next year with 100 entrants.
Inaugural Green Lakes Endurance Runs 50 km and 100 km
Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville, New York
August 27, 2006
1 Becky Harman, 36 Willseyville 9:28:17
2 Euihwa Lee, 46 Newton, PA 9:39:18
3 Nicole White, 35 E. Aurora 10:31:30
4 Shiran Kochavi, 37 Princeton, NJ 11:04:41
5 Jim Newin, 53 Mont St-Hilaire, QC 11:17:38
6 Gary Ferguson, 51 Wyalusing, PA 11:27:59
7 Ryan Hrebin, 24 Binghamton 12:13:04
8 Diane Jozefski, 42 Rochester 12:19:26
9 Jim Lampman, 23 Cato 12:57:01
10 Keith Gregoire, 40 Williamsville 13:17:50
11 Daniel Hazen, 36 Ogdensburg 13:36:15
DNF, distance completed 50k time
70k Theresa Palmieri, 43 Buffalo 5:28:27
70k Brian Hooker, 27 Rochester 5:55:25
65k Katherine Stettler, 41 Ithaca 4:54:57
50k Yayoi Shimada, 33 Bronx 4:24:37
50k Gary Sexton, 50 Youngstown, OH 4:35:05
50k Suzanne Maio-Wade, 48 Rochester 5:46:54
50k Linda Brooks, 46 Orchard Park 6:06:09
50k Dave Vokes, 43 Buffalo 6:15:03
50k Richard Cronise, 52 Victor 6:21:15
1 Jim Sweeney, 25 Albany 3:40:12
1 Bob Sweeney, 39 Rye Brook 3:40:12
3 Javier Martinez, 35 Baldwinsille 3:54:37
4 Steven Sweeney, 51 Albany 4:05:43
5 Brian Murray, 43 Newfane 4:07:39
6 Ryan O'Dell, 21 Rochester 4:14:06
7 Alan Bowman, 48 Niskayuna 4:17:48
8 Lorrie Tily, 45 Locke 4:45:08
9 Les Omura, 49 Honolulu, HI 5:00:36
10 Shannon Nowlin, 36 Solvey 5:03:35
11 Edie Zajac, 38 Cicero 5:15:20
12 Firdaus Dotiwala, 37 Bronx 5:16:29
13 David Groff, 44 Erieville 5:16:59
14 Lisa Hill, 47 East Syracuse 5:20:56
15 Mark Sheremeta, 50 Manlius 5:30:07
16 Dave Weiss, 57 Corning 5:38:58
17 Chester Jozefski, 53 Rochester 5:50:55
18 Michael Lewis, 28 Endicott 5:56:36
19 Marc Quilty, 57 Syracuse 6:13:22
20 Tom Perry, 61 Fairport 6:15:54
21 Barbara Sorrell, 49 Delmar 6:25:59
22 Alexander Stoichkov, 53 Hawthorne, NJ 6:26:57
23 Michelle Wolniewicz, 48 Alden 6:27:31
24 Cathy Troisi, 60 Seneca Falls 7:25:40
25 Greg Taylor, 59 Delmar 7:39:49
26 Maria Mancarella, 18 Syracuse 7:43:55
26 Gary Gudlin, 51 Jamesville 7:43:55
28 Marla Bennett, 47 Pompey 7:57:09
29 Norm Frank, 75 Rochester 8:53:24
43km Don McNelly, 85 Rochester 9:30:10
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