Big changes afoot for 2017 Kingston Clas­sic

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - Eric Hough­tal­ing Run­ning

With slightly less than six months to the 2017 Kingston Clas­sic, or­ga­niz­ers an­nounced ma­jor changes this week for the 35th edi­tion of the pop­u­lar lo­cal race.

With slightly less than six months to the 2017 Kingston Clas­sic, or­ga­niz­ers an­nounced ma­jor changes this week for the 35th edi­tion of the pop­u­lar lo­cal race.

First off, Ki­wa­nis Club of Kingston, which re­vived the Clas­sic in 2013, parted ways with HITS Run­ning and will be the sole or­ga­niz­ing body of the race.

Sec­ondly, Ki­wa­nis also re­cently an­nounced that the marathon and half­marathon races will be dis­con­tin­ued, with only the Clas­sic’s orig­i­nal dis­tance of 10 kilo­me­ters and an ac­com­pa­ny­ing 2-mile run of­fered this year.

And lastly, or­ga­niz­ers are in the fi­nal stages of chart­ing a new course which will carry run­ners through the Ron­d­out dis­trict of Kingston and into the town of Eso­pus.

The 2017 Clas­sic is sched­uled for April 23.

Clas­sic co-race direc­tor Car­los Perez said the de­ci­sion to break with HITS was a mu­tual one.

“We are back to the Clas­sic be­ing a Ki­wanisonly event,” Perez said. “Both Ki­wa­nis and HITS felt it was time to sep­a­rate. We are con­fi­dent that the Clas­sic will re­main a top­notch event.”

Perez and co-direc­tor Ron Swart are busily work­ing with a num­ber of lo­cal run­ning ex­perts in lay­ing out the new course.

“HITS staff has been help­ful to us be­cause they did a triathlon in that neigh­bor­hood years ago and are fa­mil­iar with it,” he said. “Steve Schal­lenkamp has been help­ing out and other peo­ple from the lo­cal run­ning clubs have of­fered their as­sis­tance, too.”

While Perez would not give specifics, it sounded as if the start and fin­ish would be some­where on the Ron­d­out wa­ter­front near T.R. Gallo Me­mo­rial Park, with Ro­tary Park, the Trol­ley rail trail, the Wurts Street bridge over the Ron­d­out Creek and streets in the town of Eso­pus all in the realm of pos­si­bil­i­ties.

“It’s a work in progress and once we have all of the ap­provals in place, we will be able to an­nounce the course,” he said. “It looks like we will have the run­ners in both the 10k and 2-mile on the same course, but we haven’t yet de­cided if they will all start to­gether or if we will stag­ger the start.”

Perez said the 10k course will be USATF cer­ti­fied and he ex­pected more in­put from lo­cals be­fore all was fi­nal­ized.

He hinted that the en­try fee for the 10k would be in line with com­pa­ra­ble fees at other 10k races.

“I ex­pect to have a lot of th­ese de­tails in place in the next few weeks and then we will be work­ing hard on ramp­ing up reg­is­tra­tions,” Perez said.

Lo­cal run­ners weighed in with their opin­ions on the many changes planned for the Clas­sic.

“As a run­ner, the Kingston Clas­sic has been a long­stand­ing tra­di­tion and many think of it as the kick off to the run­ner sea­son,” said On­te­ora Run­ners Club pres­i­dent Deb Do­mack.

“There will be some dis­ap­point­ment in not having a lo­cal half-marathon or marathon in April, but the thing that has been most im­pres­sive is the in­volve­ment of the Ki­wa­nis over the years. I love that this helps those (chil­dren) di­rectly in my com­mu­nity and my hope is that the lo­cal com­mu­nity will step up to make this a huge suc­cess.”

Doug Need­ham said he was es­pe­cially im­pressed with the 2014 race and the ap­pear­ance of U.S. Olympian Meb Ke­flezighi.

“It was only my sec­ond half-marathon and having Meb at the expo blew me away,” Need­ham said. “I got in­jured in the fall that year and it was the Clas­sic that got me mo­ti­vated for 2015, so I’m dis­ap­pointed to hear the half and full were be­ing taken out. I’ll cer­tainly be in­ter­ested to see what it be­comes now, and I’ll run the 10k next spring, but I’ll be wish­ing for the longer cour­ses.”

Max Gruner said he is hop­ing the cheer­ing crowds from the up­town course will head down­town to do the same in 2017.

“The whole area was pretty much shut down and peo­ple lined the streets, cheer­ing,” he said. “It quickly be­came my fa­vorite race. I think it had lost some lo­cal fla­vor, but I am look­ing for­ward to the change be­cause down­town is fun, too.”

Ja­son Tay­lor said he was look­ing for­ward to the 10k be­ing the fo­cal event of the day.

“I much pre­fer a sin­gle dis­tance event, the feel­ing of shared ex­pe­ri­ence that comes when ev­ery­one has to run the same dis­tance,” he said. “It draws run­ners to­gether and con­nects them with the course and com­mu­nity.

I was never a fan of the ‘dis­tance for ev­ery­one’ and I think peo­ple who want to be part of a high pro­file event have an in­cen­tive to train harder to be able to com­plete the whole thing.”

Diane Depp­ner Kar­ron summed it up sim­ply.

“The 10k is per­fect,” she said.

ATL TRAIL RUN NEEDS VOL­UN­TEERS

While it’s too late to sign up for the After the Leaves Have Fallen trail run on Nov. 13 at Min­newaska State Park, race direc­tor Steve Schal­lenkamp said they are still look­ing for vol­un­teers to help on race day.

Schal­lenkamp said any­one who vol­un­teers for the race will re­ceive free en­try into one of the many races of­fered in 2017 by the Shawan­gunk Run­ners Club.

He asked that any in­ter­ested in help­ing out call him di­rectly at (845) 2146479 or send an email to ss­run54@aol.com.

The race is a fund raiser for the Josh Feldt Me­mo­rial Schol­ar­ship Fund at Wal­lkill High. John Capen and Max Gruner both pro­vided re­ports on their re­cent out of town marathon fin­ishes.

Capen, tak­ing part in the Mon­ster Mash Marathon in Dover, Del., had a fin­ish­ing time of 7:51:11, good enough for fifth place in the over-70 age group.

Next up for Capen is the New York City Marathon next Sun­day.

Gruner, mean­while, took to the streets of At­lantic City, N.J., for his first-ever try at the dis­tance in the Amer­iHealth NJ At­lantic City Marathon and logged a sparkling time of 3:51:38.

Please send all race re­sults and in­for­ma­tion to 79 Hur­ley Ave., Kingston, N.Y., 12401; fax to (845) 331-3557; or email to runer­ichrun@gmail.com. Fol­low Eric Hough­tal­ing on Twit­ter at http://twit­ter. com./runer­ichrun

TANIA BARRICKLO — DAILY FREE­MAN FILE

Start of Kingston Clas­sic 10K race in 2014. Big changes are planned for the 2017 Clas­sic, with a new course and HITS no longer part of the event.

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