Track­ing the rac­ing sea­son’s up and downs

The Buffalo News - - SPORTSTALK - By Amy Moritz

Time for one last rewind on 2017 as the num­bers are in for the race sea­son. Lo­cal run­ner Fritz Van Leaven mon­i­tored 445 races held in Western New York, South­ern On­tario, and North­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia – 17 more than were held in 2016. Par­tic­i­pa­tion to­taled 134,048, an in­crease of 0.7 per­cent. The av­er­age turnout for all races was 301.2 par­tic­i­pants.

The in­crease in the num­ber of races, how­ever, may have been an im­pact on in­di­vid­ual races. Of the 341 races that were staged in 2016 and 2017, 190 had the same num­ber of run­ners or lost run­ners while 152 ex­pe­ri­enced in­creases in par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Here are fun num­bers from last race sea­son as you start to plan your 2018 race cal­en­dar:

The Turkey Trot is No. 1. The long­est con­tin­u­ously held footrace drew the largest num­ber of fin­ish­ers in 2017 with 12,410 cross­ing the line. It held on to its top spot from 2016 and the top five re­mained un­changed. The J.P. Mor­gan Chase Cor­po­rate Chal­lenge was sec­ond with 9,587 fin­ish­ers, fol­lowed by Sham­rock Run (3,409), Buf­falo Half Marathon (2,975), and Girls on the Run 5K (2,613).

Round­ing out the top 10 were: Run The ‘Berg For Autism (1,258), Buf­falo Marathon (1,184), Mighty Ni­a­gara Half Marathon (1,097), Ron­ald McDon­ald House (1,008) and Subaru Buf­falo 4 Mile Chase (997).

Big jump for Run The ‘Berg For Autism. The 5K in Ham­burg had the largest in­crease in to­tal fin­ish­ers, go­ing from 817 in 2016 to 1,258 in 2017, mak­ing it the sixth-largest race in Western New York. That’s 441 new run­ners for the race, which has its eighth an­nual run sched­uled for June 2, 2018.

In all, seven races gained more than 100 fin­ish­ers. The oth­ers are the YMCA Turkey Trot (166), the Happy 5K in El­li­cottville (129), A Walk in Lau­ren’s Shoes (112), Friends of the Night Peo­ple Hunger on the Run 5K (107), Ron­ald McDon­ald House (101), and the Pump­kin Run in Williamsville (100).

Beast of Bur­den had the largest per­cent­age jump. So not a lot of peo­ple want to at­tempt the 100-mile and 24-hour Ul­tra Chal­lenge along the Erie Canal in Lock­port. But the to­tal of 53 fin­ish­ers was a 194.4 per­cent in­crease from 2016’s to­tal of 18.

There are lots of girls on the run. The Girls on the Run 5K ranked as the most pop­u­lar 5K in Western New York with its 2,631 fin­ish­ers.

Com­ing in at No. 2 on the most pop­u­lar 5K list is Run The ‘Berg for Autism fol­lowed by Ron­ald McDon­ald House, the 50 Yard Fin­ish in Or­chard Park (946), and East Aurora’s Bunny Hop (925).

Chau­tauqua In­sti­tu­tion had the most suc­cess­ful de­but. The 2.7-mile race that fol­lowed the perime­ter of the famed South­ern Tier lo­ca­tion drew 724 fin­ish­ers in its first year.

Run 716, a 15K in Buf­falo, drew 679 run­ners in its de­but.

The rest of the top 10 for new races were: Four for Forty Four & Cross Coun­try Beer Mile in Lake­wood (324), Run 716 Re­lay (279), Sponge Candy 5K in North Ton­awanda (251), I Love Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tion 5K (216), iRun WNY 5K New Year’s Clas­sic in Youngstown (141), A Light In the Dark­ness Me­mo­rial in Ni­a­gara Falls (126), The Wooden Shoe 5K Run/Walk in Cly­mer (111) and Queen City 5K (110).

Buf falo is the most pop­u­lar spot. The Queen City held on to the ti­tle as most pop­u­lar city to hold a race with 69 races in 2017. Or­chard Park con­tin­ued to rank No. 2 with 26 races.

Lock­port led Ni­a­gara County with 17 races while Ni­a­gara Falls had 15 and Lewis­ton nine.

Peo­ple love their 5Ks. The 3.1-mile course con­tin­ues to be the most pop­u­lar with 250 at that dis­tance in 2017. Dou­ble the dis­tance, the 10K was the sec­ond-most pop­u­lar with 29. There were more op­por­tu­ni­ties to run a 1-mile race (18) than a half marathon (16).

Ki­ef­fer-Oiselle tie

Al­lie Ki­ef­fer, cur­rently of Williamsville, joined Oiselle’s elite team this week. The fe­male ath­letic ap­parel com­pany also spon­sors run­ners Kara Goucher, Lau­ren Flesh­man, Devon Yanko and Sarah Bard.

In 2017, Ki­ef­fer dropped 26 min­utes off her per­sonal best, plac­ing fifth in the NYC Marathon with a time of 2:29:39.

“Our ap­proach to ath­lete spon­sor­ships has al­ways been fo­cused on ris­ing stars who have a story to tell,” Oiselle CEO Sally Berge­sen said in a re­lease. “From the day Al­lie shocked the world and fin­ished as the sec­ond Amer­i­can in last year’s NYC Marathon, we knew she had drive and tal­ent. Oiselle is in­cred­i­bly ex­cited to sup­port Al­lie as she not only aims to make the Worlds and Olympic Teams, but also talks openly about is­sues fac­ing many women ath­letes – from body im­age to re­cov­er­ing from in­jury.”

Race cal­en­dar

• Jackrab­bit Snow­shoe Se­ries No. 2, 2-mile and 1-mile, 6:30 p.m. Mon­day, Kiss­ing Bridge, 10296 State Road, Glen­wood.

• Chau­tauqua Strid­ers Win­ter 5K Se­ries No. 2, 10 a.m. Satur­day, Lake­wood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Ter­race Ave., Lake­wood.

• Jackrab­bit Snow­shoe Se­ries No. 3, 2-mile and 1-mile, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22, Kiss­ing Bridge, 10296 State Road, Glen­wood.

• Chau­tauqua Strid­ers Win­ter 5K Se­ries No. 3, 10 a.m. Jan. 27, Lake­wood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Ter­race Ave., Lake­wood.

• Frozen Chozen 5K, 10 a.m. Jan. 27, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4536 South Buf­falo St., Or­chard Park.

• Pen­guin Run 5K, 11 a.m. Jan. 28, Classics V Ban­quet Fa­cil­ity, 2425 Ni­a­gara Falls Blvd., Amherst.

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