Syracuse NY puts together a great half. With cancelled live races the last two years due to COVID, the organizers and runners, about 2,000 of them, were back with energy to spare on Sunday, March 20.
This year for the first time in its history, the Syracuse Half became an event in the USATF Masters Championships lineup. In addition to over 180 USATF masters, more than 50 elite runners were at the start.
I was fortunate to have an early start along with other USATF Masters. While waiting to hear the start gun, I met another AG70-74 runner, Barbara Sauer with the Greater Buffalo Track Club. We paced the first mile or two together. Then, I fell back a bit, feeling that I had gone out a too fast.
The first section of this course has a sizable hill, flattens for a bit, then several small hills following. I caught up with Barbara around Mile 7. We ran together another mile or two, agreeing that it was great to have age-group competition on the course. That is sometimes lacking at smaller races each of us run.
Then came a beautiful long downhill that brought us back into downtown Syracuse. The buildings blocked some of the wind we experienced further out of the city center. Two or three miles of flat through town and we were at the finish. From start to finish the course never felt crowded.
At the finish I took a moment to celebrate with Barbara Sauer and Deborah Miller with the Greater Buffalo Track Club.
Post-race at the ON Center, a bountiful breakfast and live music fed and entertained close to 2,000 finishers. An expo on the same level offered some shopping opportunities and a number of promotional booths for upcoming races across the region.
I hung out in the USATF Room where breakfast was also available and USATF Masters Championship awards were announced. I placed second in my age group (2:06:59)and learned that my time was 81.5% age graded. First place in the AG70-74 went to Jeannie Rice, age-graded today at 99% and an age-group world record holder in several distances. This was a great opportunity to meet and chat with some of the top masters athletes from across the country.
Recommendation: Add Syracuse to your race plan for next year, especially if you join in the USATF Masters Championships. You will find a great course, great organization, a fun post-party and an opportunity to meet and chat with some wonderful and talented masters runners.
What’s up next: The Capital 10-Miler – a Run for the Arts, Saturday, April 2 in Harrisburg PA. Come on out for a 10-mile race or walk along the Susquehanna River’s beautiful riverfront and Greenbelt. See you there!