We’ve always relied on local business partners for help equipping the team, and we’d like to give a special shout out to those who’ve stepped up to support us this year. Four Corners Pharmacy and Sawyer’s Screen Printing are two that have been with us from the beginning, . This year, we were happy to welcome Buenau’s Opticians and Normanside Country Club to our list of supporters, and welcome back Twisted Vine Wine & Tap for another season. These are local businesses, owned by our friends and neighbors, that care about individuals and give back to our community. That makes us feel good about patronizing them, and proud to wear their logos on our gear. We’ve already taken advantage of Twisted Vine’s atmospheric upstairs banquet room for top-secret, Sons of Liberty-style meetings to plot the Capital District running revolution. And, after a winter of digging into Normanside’s Friday night $8 burger-and-beer special, we’ll soon be digging our way out of its sand traps (hey, we’re a running team!) and onto its rolling greens for our annual summer golf tournament.
When we toed the line of Albany’s Irish Sweat-er 5K on St. Patrick’s Day—essentially showing up for the biggest drinking day of the year with our running shoes on—the Rovers not only kicked off the 2018 racing season, but simultaneously proved wrong those observers who would mistake us for a drinking club with a running problem. The Rovers swept the top three spots and placed six in the top 11 to run away with the team title. Mike Cooley and Chris Chromczak dueled it out for the top spot, with Cooley eventually sprinting away from Chromczak over the final downhill. Tim Pendergast was 3rd, Peter Koch 5th, and new member John Deer took 7th to round out the top five.
If the Rovers could claim a “home course,” it would certainly be the Delmar Dash 5-Mile, which served as the USATF Adirondack Team Championship series opener on April 15th. In all, 11 Rovers toed the line for our largest showing to-date. New member Matt Gokey led the team for most of the race until, once again, Mike Cooley made another late surge to be the first Rover in 11th place. Gokey heroically held onto 12th place, despite battling achilles discomfort. Jon Catlett was next, in 14th place, followed by new member Noah White in 16th. Tim Pendergast rounded out the top five in 17th place, giving the Rovers a third place team finish.
Up next was the Schmaltz Brewery Chosen Run 5k on Cinco de Mayo. Always happy to oblige when cervezas are included with an entry fee, six Rovers made their way up the Northway to face the competition. Chris Chromczak was first across the line in 11th place, followed closely by Chris McCloskey in 14th. New member Chris Mulford was 31st overall in a valiant effort, followed by Andrew McCarthy and Peter Koch (34th and 37th, respectively) to aid in the shamrock shuffle. Once again, the Rovers would end up with bronze medals for their efforts, behind the perennially talented—and, yes, younger—Albany Running Exchange and Willow Street Athletic Clubs.
Meanwhile, impressive individual efforts in Rover blue carried the team’s momentum—and raised its profile—throughout the spring racing season. Paul Mueller took 1st at the BCMS Gift of Life 5K on home turf April 22nd. Exactly a week later, Mike Cooley successfully defended his Delmar Duathlon crown. Noah White, for his part, was busy lowering his half-marathon personal best, first when he won the Home Away From Home Half in Brunswick on April 18th, and most recently in another win at the Jog for Jugs Half in Colonie, which he won by more than five minutes.
If the spring is any indication, more hardware is on the horizon for the Wild Rovers this summer. Stay tuned for more results as the season unfolds.