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Running notebook: At the halfway point

If our friends at buffalorunners.com are going to keep up the News' runner of the year standings, the least we can do if provide an update on the race through a link as we finish with the first half of the year.

Anyone who has seen Vasilis Kariolis run in the Corporate Challenge in the past two years knows how good he is. That's because he won twice. Kariolis is off to an eight-point lead over David Keenan, with some other runners within striking distance.

On the women's side, Aileen Hoak is in the driver's seat. She is 13 points up on Jennifer Koeppel-Acker, with Allison Carr another two points back. Hoak's second-place showing in the Buffalo Marathon showed that she's running very well.

You can check out the standings at buffalorunners.com. You might notice there are some new faces in the top 10, which is always fun to see.

Now for the list of upcoming races, also from buffalorunners.com.

* Road 2 Recovery Mental Health 5K, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 883-3331. Sounds like it might be a little soggy, but this is a well-run race under any conditions.

* 50 Yard Finish Half-Marathon & 5K, 1 Bills Drive in Orchard Park, 7 a.m. Saturday, 830-6703. There's a lot less drama leading up to this one, which is more than welcome.

* D&F 5K Challenge 1170 Central Ave. in Dunkirk, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 363-6383.

* Bemus Point 10K, Long Point State Park Bath House, 9 a.m. Sunday, 488-0788.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: The great eight

Brian Moorman is a big fan of the number eight, perhaps because he's usually worn it in his football career. So it was not a surprise that when the ex-Bills punter and his foundation put on its first race Wednesday night, it was an 8-kilometer run. Moorman even took bib number eight for the run. (I was given bib number seven - a matter of alphabetical order and not the fact that anyone confuses me with Doug Flutie.)

In any event, the race went off nicely. Someone put a lot of hills in the first two miles - we were in Orchard Park - but the course calmed down after that. Organizers are already talking about next year, a good sign.

More races are coming up this weekend, although the schedule has turned light. Here's the list, compiled by buffalorunners.com:

* St. Gregory The Great Great Race, 5K, 100 St. Gregory Court in Williamsville, 7 p.m. Friday, 479-2442. It's a News Runner of the Year race, and it might be the flattest course in Western New York. The event usual draws a big crowd.

* MSMH River Run, 5K, 145 North 4th St. in Lewiston, 9 a.m. Saturday, 298-2249.

* ChrisFit Fest 5K, 841 Center St. in Lewiston, 9 a.m. Sunday, 524-3001. When did Lewiston become the running capital of the region? Apparently - this weekend.

And in addition, there's time here for one more shameless plug. The Buffalo Broadcasters Celebrity 5K Run will be held at the Central Wharf on Wednesday. It starts at 7 p.m. The shameless part is that I'm a member of the organization, even if I don't qualify as a "celebrity." It's a nice course on the waterfront that's great for a summer night.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Crowded field, this time

Something interesting is going on when it comes to scheduling races locally.

There are seven races coming up on Saturday. All right, a Saturday in June usually offers a good chance of top-notch weather, so it's easy to see why the field is crowded. But next week, there's only one race on Saturday and Sunday, and it's in Lewiston. The following week, there's one Saturday/Sunday race, and it's the half-marathon in Orchard Park.

In other words, a great many races will be competing for a sliver of the market this week. If they had waited a week or two, they might have done a lot better in terms of attendance. There's probably a lesson there, particularly for new events.

Here's the weekend schedule, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* OLSH 5K, 3148 Abbott Road in Orchard Park, 6 p.m. Thursday, 445-5022. The description mentions "intermittent hills," a refreshing change from a world where every single course is fast and flat - even when it isn't.

* Ripley's Race to Wellness, 1 Park Ave. in Ripley, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, 736-2631 x240.

* Warm Up for Relay 5K, 491 High St. in Lockport, 9 a.m. Saturday, 478-4836.

* Red Devil Run for Recovery, 5K, 9365 Clarence Center Road, 9 a.m. Saturday, 634-9565.

* Run Along Jericho Road 5K, 184 Barton St. in Buffalo , 9 a.m. Saturday, 348-3000 x405. Broadcasters know this address as the former homes of Channel 2 and Channel 17. The course sounds like it should be fun and different, since not too many races are staged over there.

* Trooper Brinkerhoff 5K, Boston Town Park, 10 a.m. Saturday, 604-8949.

* Moving Towards a Cure for Brain Tumors 5K Run, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, 727-781-4673.

* Love Everybody 5K, 250 Northwood Ave. in West Seneca, 6 p.m. Saturday, 771-3076. It's a new race in a rare Saturday night slot, and organizers have been working hard for months on it. Applications were approaching 400 at last look, so someone is doing something right.

--- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Challenging day

Usually heat has been the biggest weather issue for the Corporate Challenge, not rain - although we have had a couple of soggy races over the years. But this one definitely is going to be remembered for an all-day soaker leading up to the race. Hope the park doesn't get chewed up too badly.

As you can imagine in this post-Boston era, security is an issue. It's particularly true on a day when obviously people may be bringing clothes in an effort to stay dry. The race organizers have a few tips:

* Refrain from bringing any back packs or large bags to the race site. Small bags or clear bags for personal items are acceptable.

* No bags or containers of any size will be allowed on the race course, as ample water will be provided at the start and at various water stations. 

* No persons without running numbers will be allowed in the start form-up area.

* If you see something suspicious, please report it immediately to any credentialed J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge official.

Starting time is 6:45 p.m.

In some old running business, I heard about a recent race that violated one of Budd's cardinal rules. Someone who had preregistered for the race discovered upon arriving at the event that organizers were out of his shirt size. So, he took a smaller shirt that will go straight to the Salvation Army. There's no excuse for not setting enough shirts to the side to fit those who preregister early, particularly if you set up a "shirt guarantee date." Races want to encourage preregistration and participation, and not discourage it.

We'll see how many of these races get it right this weekend, and I see that a couple of others were cancelled. The list is courtesy of buffalorunners.com, which also has the Runner of the Year results on it:

* MMA 5K, Mount Mercy Academy on Red Jacket Parkway in Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 713-5654. The race is saluting Thomas Caulfield and Beth McMahon, which is nice. Wonder if Beth will have to start the race and then go time it?

* Susan G. Komen WNY Race for the Cure, 5K, Rose Garden in Delaware Park in Buffalo, 10 a.m. Saturday, 332-2481. The national organization just cancelled some of its races in other cities, but this one goes on as scheduled. It's always quite a celebration.

* Maple Grove's Class of 2018 "Raising The Dough" 5K, 41 Liberty St. in Bemus Point, 9 a.m. Sunday. They didn't have such races when I was an eighth-grader in middle school. Come to think of it, we didn't have running shoes back then.

* Buffalo Orienteering Trail, 5K and 10K, Hunter's Creek Park in Wales, 652-8727. No awards, but it is a race with a party and refreshments.

* Dirty Bit 4-Mile Trail Run, Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, 10 a.m. Sunday, 574-0888.

On Sunday, I'll have a column on a couple of the participants in last week's Girls on the Run race at UB. I couldn't believe how that program has grown in such a short time.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Hall of Fame perspective

When someone with about 50 years of experience in running starts talking, it's a good idea to listen. That's what I did when I interviewed John Chew for a story on the latest class of the Western New York Running Hall of Fame.

I hadn't spoken with John before the interview, and found him funny and interesting. It's always fun to talk with people who have strong opinions, and I certainly got an earful when I brought up the state of running locally.

"I think what's happening in Western New York is wonderful. There are more people running that ever before, and it's marvelous," Chew said. "But the quality of running is so bad it's embarrassing. If we are going to be a viable national sport, we have to clean up some things."

Chew pointed out that while there are plenty of races in Western New York, most of them raise money for charity.

"The focus today is on raising money for somebody else, whether its leukemia, cancer, the Y. There's no money going into the sport," Chew said. "When I ran my first Turkey Day race, we lined up at the Delaware Y, gave five cents to Carl Roesch, and ran the race. All the money went to the local sports. At the end some money went to charities, but there was money to support the sport and bid the race.

"When I look at entry feeds are today, if I were a single runner, I'd barely have enough money to eat, let alone support running. ... We're the only sport I can think of where the money gets siphoned to other areas."

It's going to be a very busy weekend for races around Western New York this weekend. Funny how some June weekend dates are jammed, while others are rather empty. The activity actually started on Thursday night with the Gay 5K, which sounded like it had a chance to be a fun event. Now the rest of the calendar, courtesy of Buffalorunners.com:

* Alden's 5K Race for Scholarships, 13190 Park St. in Alden, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 937-9116. Me, I only run in Alden when it is 14 degrees out. That February day during a Winterfest remains about the coldest race of my life.

* Brian Dugan Memorial Scholarship 5K Road Race, Lincoln Arena in Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m. Friday. Make sure to drink up during the water stops.

* Woods Walk & Trail Run, various distances, 1420 Yubadam Road in Portville, 8 a.m. Saturday, 933-0187.

* Finn McCool 4 Mile Odyssey, Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto, 9 a.m. Saturday, 830-6703.

* Run the 'Berg for Autism, 5K, 4236 Clark St. in Hamburg, 11 a.m. Saturday, 572-3613. There's a new course this year; I still remember all the turns on the old one.

* Salmon Run, 5K, Clark's Park in Wilson, 5 p.m. on Saturday, 751-6120.

* Derby Snap Fitness 5K Run, 6950 Erie Road in Derby, 9 a.m. Sunday, 947-9010.

* Juneteenth Run for Health, 5K only, 585 William St. in Buffalo, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 830-6560. The 10K, run at the same time, has been cancelled. This is always a friendly race; I've done it several times.

* Girls on the Run 5K, UB/Amherst campus, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 645-6815. I've followed Girls on the Run since it started locally, and can't wait to see how it's grown at one of its two races for the year.

* Tim Oehmler 5K for Kidneys, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 10 a.m. Sunday, 510-6702. Runners get a free pass to see the Zoo after the race.

And don't forget the Grace Race in Williamsville on Tuesday night.

-- Budd Bailey

Buffalo Marathon: A day at the races

On a day when everything at the Buffalo Marathon ran smoothly, Etalema Ambaye and Muliye Gurmu took home the winner's trophies on Sunday morning.

Ambaye, currently from New York City, finished in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 5 seconds. That was more than eight minutes ahead of Jason Lokwatom, now of Rocky River, Ohio.

The women's race was much more dramatic. Gurmu finished in 2:51:15. That was only seven seconds ahead of Aileen Hoak of Buffalo.

The men's half-marathon title went to Kiplangat Tisia of Kenya, who finished the 13.1 mile event in 1:07:13. Natasha Yaremczvk of Paris, Ont., was the women's winner in 1:19:46.

Assistant race director Tom Donnelly reported no problems during the course of the race.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Ready to go

There's only one event scheduled this weekend, and it's arguably the highlight of the year's calendar. The Buffalo Marathon goes off at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, and the event continues to grow slowly but surely.

The activity starts Saturday with an Expo at the Convention Center, complete with more vendors than ever before and a speaker's bureau. (By the way, there will be discounted race entries for July's Subaru 4-Mile Chase available at the Expo.) There's a pre-race dinner Saturday night, and then the marathon and half-marathon go off. It looks like the weather will be just about perfect for a marathon, as the heat has gotten out of the way at a most convenient time.

Meanwhile, it's hoped that runners will take time out of their Sunday somewhere along the way to read about the newest inductees of the Western New York Running Hall of Fame. It's another top-notch class, and I'll have an interview with one of them in Sunday's sports section.

One other leftover note - last week I mentioned how I had left before seeing the results of a race and discovered later I had actually won my age-group. Well, the good folks at LOL heard about that, and sent me my medal in short order. Nicely done; thank you, thank you, thank you.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Ten are in the lead pack

Can you wait several more days before you find out who will be this year's class in the Western New York Running Hall of Fame? You'll have to wait. The voting on which five of the 10 finalists will make the Hall took place on Wednesday, and the winners will be announced in The News a week from Sunday. Take it from a voter - any of the 10 certainly could end up honored.

It's a busy week for area running, now that the weather has warmed up again. (Note: the waterfront was rather chilly Saturday morning during the Heritage run). Here's the schedule from buffalorunners.com:

* Town of Tonawanda 5K, 1 Pool Plaza in Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, 876-7424. I've done this race a couple of times, and it's a nice flat course for those so, ahem, inclined.

* Buffalo Greek Fest, 5K, 146 W. Utica St. in Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 796-3381. Greek food at a postrace party might be a nice switch from pizza and hot dogs.

* Run with the Rapids 5K, Old Falls St. in Niagara Falls, 9 a.m. on Saturday, 278-2111.

* Bully Free 5K, 71 Lorraine Ave. in Buffalo, 9 a.m. on Saturday, 816-4809. Let's welcome this new race to the list.

* Chris Griswold 5K, Como Park in Lancaster, 10 a.m. on Saturday, 685-2640. The organizers don't let anyone go away hungry, and many runners take home a door prize. Too bad my streak of winning lawn hoses at this race came to an end a while back.
 
* SSPP's Charge of the Knights 5K, 5480 Main St. in Williamsville, 6 p.m on Saturday, 440-8003. It's rare to have a Saturday night event, and this race almost sounds like it's a chess competition. Plenty of activity after the race by the sounds of it.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Lesson learned

Here's a lesson for runners who aren't used to picking up awards at races -- always be prepared for a surprise.

Last week I took part in the Running Water race in Amherst. There was quite a big crowd there. I ran the race, had a quick lunch, and headed home for some chores. But I didn't wait for the results to be finished. Oops. Turns out the people in my age-group were elsewhere, because I finished first - out of two - in the bracket. The chores could have waited, darn it. Remember, you can only run against the people that show up.

Meanwhile, the good runners obviously were at the Grand Island Half-Marathon. It was a News' runner of the year race; here's the way the standings look so far.

There are plenty of chances this weekend to win a medal, according to the calendar from buffalorunners.com. Be sure to hang around for the awards ceremony:

* Sedita Dragon 5K, 21 Lowell Place in Buffalo, 6 p.m. Friday, 316-5782.

* Cummins Run for Literacy, 509 Cherry St. in Jamestown, 9 a.m. Saturday, 484-7135 x236.

* Holland Tulip Festival, Holland Speedway, 9 a.m. Saturday, 537-2264. This is a little too early for me, but I always liked the idea of starting and finishinig on the speedway.

* Nancy Price Memorial 5K, Veterans Park in Youngstown, 10 a.m. Saturday, 531-1216. This race continues to be a fixture. Wonder how many times Matt Glynn has won it?

* Heritage Centers Foundation 5K, 101 Oak St. in Buffalo, 10 a.m. Saturday, 856-4202 x1228. Speaking of fixtures, this always qualifies.

* DeSales Race for Fitness, 5K, 6914 Chestnut Ridge Road in Lockport, 10 a.m. Saturday, 438-2014. I know there are people who try to do two 5Ks in a Saturday morning. It will be difficult this week.

* Save the Drama for Your Mama 5K, Weeden Road Park in Randolph, 10 a.m. Saturday. Best title for a new race in years.

* Crouse 5K Challenge, 5K, 100 Legion Dr. in Gowanda, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 860-8782.

* The Elephant Run, 4 miles, Delaware Park's Marcy Casino in Buffalo, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 836-7045. The postrace party concentrates on breakfast, which is nice. And the event is early enough for people to take Mom out later.

--- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Warming trend

Now ... where are those short-sleeved t-shirts?

It's been time to get that particular item out of the closet lately, as we've had absolutely perfect running weather of late. Organizers of this weekend's races must have smiles as large as their faces.

Here's the schedule for the weekend, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* NCCC Alumni Association 5K Run, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road in Sanborn, 6 p.m. Friday, 614-5910. It's time to ramp up the schedule for night races, always a good sign. This one has been around for some time.

* Catalyst Race for a Cause, 2745 Seneca St. in West Seneca, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 824-4655.

* Allegany Adventure Runs, various trail runs, Allegany State Park in Salamanca, 9:30 a.m. Saturday 574-0888. With three different distances, there's something for everyone here.

* GBTC Grand Island Half Marathon (News Runner of the Year race), Beaver Island State Park in Grand Island, 10 a.m. Saturday. This is a staple of the running calendar, and a good warmup for the Memorial Day weekend marathon for those who choose to use it that way.

* Running Water 5K, Northtown Center in Amherst, 10 a.m. Saturday, 536-3004. This is an interesting course that feels like it's a long way from big-city life, which makes it an interesting change of pace.

* ARC of Orleans County/Terri Krieger Memorial 5K Run, 189 North Gravel Road in Medina, 2 p.m. Saturday, (585) 589-5516 (x227). Saturday afternoon races are very rare, but this event seems to like it.

One other note - the finalists have been selected in the voting for this year's class in the Western New York Running Hall of Fame. The selections will be announced the day before Memorial Day, better known as Buffalo Marathon day around these parts.

-- Budd Bailey

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