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Running notebook: Coming close

Vacation time is about over in running circles. It's time to get back to work.

I ran in my first "guess your time" race last week in Delaware Park. I had no idea what conditions would be like when I sent in my registration form a couple of weeks in advance,
which made it difficult.

Saturday came up pleasant if cold, and the Ring Road was nicely plowed for the most part. I finished 6.6 seconds faster from my prediction, and I was happy about that. Still, I only finished eighth overall. Some people really do have clocks in their head.

Last week the running column had some statistics, courtesy of Fritz Van Leaven. Here are 2011's biggest races in terms of registered finishers:

Race - Finishers 

Turkey Trot - 11,880

Around the Bay (Hamilton) - 5,878

Shamrock Run - 3,572

Buffalo Half Marathon - 2,553

Niagara Falls International Half Marathon - 2,208

Flower City Half Marathon (Rochester) - 1,862

It's a Wonderful Run (Seneca Falls) - 1,820

Rochester Half Marathon - 1,657

Johnny's Runnin' of the Green (Rochester?) - 1,655

JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge - 1,508

The race calendar comes from buffalorunners.com, as usual. It looks like February and March have gotten less crowded than in previous years. Something to keep an eye on.

On Sunday, the annual Penguin Run will be held 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Amherst at 11 a.m. Call 549-6307 x201. It's one of the best buffets of the year from a race.

--- Budd Bailey

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