Winning Ways: 2022 In Review

2022 was a big year for the Wild Rovers, with plenty of incredible race results and, more importantly, a lot of fun times and camaraderie while training and socializing.

January and February
• The annual winter offseason reset—with Saturday group runs, Wednesday morning workouts and HMRRC’s informal Winter Series races—ramping up to the racing season.

Irish Sweat-er Race: Gauna, Potestio, Deer and Austin finished in the Top 10, then drank all the beer and ate all the corned beef back at the Irish History Museum.
• Steve Imbriaco joins the Rovers! (and would go on to run 3 races)
• Runnin’ of the Green 4M: Gokey, McGarry, Deer, Newman and Kracker run, and win $86
• Tom Kracker joins the Rovers! (and would go on to run 5 races)
Schenectady Firefighters Run 4 Your Life 5K (GP): 12(!) Rovers race, incl. Gauna (4th, 17:30) and Potestio, who put in a breakthrough performance (8th, 18:14); Team Result: 1st Open/1st Masters

• Austin launches the 2nd Annual Helderberg Challenge, a 5K-plus time trial that climbs 1,148 feet to the top of the Helderbergs, throughout the month of April. Not only does the challenge inspire Ray “The Running Witch Doctor” Webster to return to competition, but also draws out 7 Rovers for a final in-person running on May 1. (Spoiler alert: Austin wins for the 2nd straight year.) 
Helderberg to Hudson Half-Marathon: John Deer (and nearly every Rover‘s spouse/partner) is cheered on by boatloads of teammates, and finishes 29th, in 1:23:40.
Boston Marathon: Gauna and Scoville returned to the legendary race, and finished in 2:47:41 (a Boston PR!) and 3:29:16, respectively.
• Austin runs the Sleepy Hollow Trail Race (part of the NE Mtn Series) in VT, and barely gets any mud on himself!
Delmar Dash (GP): 6 Rovers race. Potestio crushes it again (6th, 29:48) while leading the team, followed by Gokey, Deer, Koch, Imbriaco and McGarry. Lots of Rovers cheer! Team Result: 2nd Open/1st Masters
• Rickert finishes 4th at the Bill Robinson Masters 10K Championships!


CCRC 5K (GP): A 3pm sweat bath on the most ridiculous course imaginable, but 7 of us raced and we put 5 in the Top 10, including Austin (2nd) and Gokey (3rd) on the podium. Team Result: 1st Open/1st Masters
Bacon Hill Bonanza 10K (GP): More hot/humid racing conditions, but 6 Rovers raced, earning really tasty brownies for their efforts. Team Result: 1st Open/1st Masters
• The very next day, Austin takes 2nd Place in the Mining for Vert 4-Hour race, covering 16.73 miles and climbing 5,764′ in the same crushing heat.
• McCloskey wins the Voorheesville Memorial Day 15K (64:05), while Rickert takes 5th Place (64:38) and meets the mayor!
• Imbriaco finishes 5th in the Martha’s Vineyard Memorial Day 5K (1st in his AG), then cools down for 7 miles.
• Midweek Wild Rover Happy Hour Beer Runs kick off (and continue almost weekly through September)

LifeSong 5K (GP): 7 Rovers raced, and 3—Gauna, Gokey and Rickert—finished in the Top 10. Team Result: 1st Open/1st Masters
• Mueller (18:40) and Scoville (18:43) finished 8th and 9th in the OK5K.
• 9 Rovers surprised Deer by joining his 40th Birthday run from his home in Slingerlands up to the Thacher Park Overlook (plus McCloskey biked up, and Faller drove!). Welcome to the Masters, John!

Firecracker 4: Led by Gauna, Gokey and Rickert, 6 Rovers spend their holiday morning racing in Saratoga. Despite days of debate and lots of back-and-forth (and an appeal) with RDs, we’ve built our team wrong and end up taking 3rd in the Open category rather than 1st in the Masters. That said, they’ve won $50 and earned their beers and BBQ.
• The Rovers‘ wayward founder Chris “Chromey” Chromczak finishes 13th at the Escarpment 30K Trail Race in his Rovers singlet <3

• Cooley finishes 4th at the Sarcoma Strong 5Kish

• Imbriaco takes 1st Place Stroller Division (yes, that’s made up) at the Dunkin’ Run.
ADK Half (GP): Of the 10(!) Rovers who raced, 4—Gauna, Gokey, Deer (running a PR, and beginning to show his fall form) and White—finish in the Top 10. Gauna wins (another) coveted Bear. Plus, White (our resident ER doc) saves a man’s life after he collapses near the finish line. Team Result: 1st Open/1st Masters

XC Championships (GP): Gokey, Austin and Potestio take 2nd, 3rd and 4th, leading a squad of 5 Rovers to another win. Team Result: 1st Open/1st Masters

• McCloskey wins the Delmar Duathlon!
• Austin completes his 41st Birthday Run solo, with 41 miles and 8.8K’ of climbing in VT’s Green Mountains.
Mohawk Hudson River Marathon: Gauna (13th, 2:46:58) and Deer (19th, 2:53:14, a HUGE 9-minute PR) lead 5 Rovers in perfect conditions at this most local of marathons, cheered on by hordes of teammates. Afterwards, Deer invites the team to his annual Oktoberfest party for beer, sausage and schnitzel, the perfect recovery trio!
• Two Rovers teams take on Peak2Brew Catskills. The Gauna-Deer-McGarry team kills it, and the Austin-Koch team has a lot of fun, but at a party pace.
• McCloskey competes in the Half-Ironman World Championships.

Stockadeathon 15K: 6 Rovers head to Schenectady to race, and the 5 Masters—Deer, Gokey, Imbriaco, Kracker and Lodovice—take 2nd Place in that competition, earning $100.

• Newman runs a perfect race (3:19:39), with negative splits, at the California International Marathon
• Gauna turns 40, and treats all in attendance at Warbler to an open bar, a shuffleboard tourney and a heartfelt, slightly rambling speech or two. Welcome to the Masters, AG!

Virtual Challenge Series: Week #1

Running has been a refuge for many during the Coronavirus pandemic, and members of the Wild Rovers have been able to stay fit and sane by getting out for daily runs. Still,John Deer - Helderberg to Hudson the running world has been hit hard as well, including the local running scene. The necessary social distancing restrictions have caused races to be postponed or canceled and the team has had to miss out on weekly group long runs. This past weekend (April 18th and 19th) was supposed to have been an important weekend of races, with the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon and the Delmar Dash both on the calendar. With those races postponed and cancelled respectively, the Wild Rovers raced “virtually,” challenging themselves to virtual versions of those half marathon and 5 mile races.
Two Rovers re-created the Helderberg to Hudson. John Deer followed the original course, running from Voorheesville to Albany mostly along the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail in well under 7 minute pace. Al Faller found a 13.1 mile loop through the hills south of Delmar.

Dempsey - Virtual Delmar DashIn town, six Rovers raced through the Delmar Dash course at different times on Saturday and Sunday. The guys ran solo but found inspiration competing against teammates and Delmar Dashes past. Eamon Dempsey paced the squad by running 28:17, a time that would have placed 5th in the 2019 Delmar Dash (and almost two minutes faster than Eamon himself ran last year). Paul Mueller, Alejandro Gauna, Greg Potestio, Peter Koch, and Chris Chromczak also time trialed the course, with Gauna and Chromczak both under 6 minute pace.

2020 Irish Shamrock Sweat-er Run

2020 Irish Sweat-er Team photoThe Wild Rovers opened the 2020 racing season with a dominating win in the Irish Shamrock Sweat-er 5K and 10K. Donning singlets with the appropriately festive Wild Rover shamrock, our runners took first place in the team competition for both races. Chris McCloskey won the 5K race with a time of 18:11. while Greg Potestio and Peter Koch followed in 3rd and 4th. In the 10K, Mike Cooley and Alejandro Guana finished close together for 2nd and 3rd in 35:43 and 35:50, with John Deer coming closely behind to finish 4th and round out the team scoring. This race marks the third straight win for the team in the Irish Sweat-er 5K, as well as a win in the event’s inaugural 10K.

Full results can be found here:
5k –
10k –

The race served as the perfect rust buster as the team prepares for the USATF Adirondack Grand Prix, which kicks off later this month

Fall/Winter 2018-2019 Update – Laying a Foundation

Happy New Year! With winter upon us, the Wild Rovers have holed up in their top-secret bunker (rumored to be deep underground, somewhere in the vicinity of Delmar’s Four Corners) to plan the 2019 racing season. Top of mind for all is USATF’s first annual Grand Prix Series Team Competition, followed by cash-purse team events and, of course, countless individual goals, ranging from 5K PRs to ultramarathon titles.

But first, a look back on the latter half of the busy 2018 racing season, during which the Rovers proved themselves a force to be reckoned with on the Capital District running scene. In early June, the team placed second overall at the blazing-fast Route 50 Mile (results here) in Burnt Hills, bolstered by impressive, sub-5:00 performances from Chris McCloskey (16th, 4:43), Noah White (18th, 4:50) and Paul Mueller (25th, 4:52). Chris Mulford and Tim Pendergast scored next—both under 5:04—and Andrew McCarthy rounded out the squad a few seconds later.

Just over a week later, Mueller and Pendergast (respectively) struck again, this time showing their off-road prowess as they nabbed the top two spots at theRensselaerville Ramble 8-Mile Rabbit Trail Run (results here), one of three low-key races traversing the rugged singletrack trails of beautiful Huyck Preserve.

Six Rovers celebrated America’s independence with a third-place team finish at Saratoga’s Firecracker 4 (results here). In his Rovers debut, Tucker Chrapowitzky (38th, 23:12:55) led the charge, followed very closely by Matt Gokey (40th, 23:17:56) and Chris Chromczak (50th, 23:50:97). Pendergast and John Deer both chased their way into the top 100 of more than 2,500 finishers, while Brenan Tarrier brought the team home.

Late summer and early fall were marked by impressive individual performances, starting in mid-August with Mueller’s decisive trail marathon win—by an incredible, 20-minute(!) margin—at the Thacher Park Trail Running Festival (results here). A month later, Chrapowitzky (1:22:51) turned in a solid solo performance at the rolling
ADK Distance Festival Half-Marathon (results here) around Schroon Lake, good
for 8th place overall. On October 7, White lit up the Mohawk-Hudson River
(results here) with a red-hot 2:49:13 in his debut at the distance—made even more impressive by warm temps and suffocating humidity—which landed him in 13th place overall. Two weeks later, Deer finished 4th at the Town of New Scotland 7.1M, setting a new PR along the way by averaging 6:21 miles over a course packed with challenging steeps.

The Rovers laced up their spikes and “got the band back together” long enough to win the throwback Saratoga XC Classic 5K (results here) team competition on the last weekend of October behind solid runs from Chrapowitzky (6th, 17:09), Chromczak (10th, 17:42) and Mulford (11th, 17:45). Deer (26th, 18:49) and Andrew McCarthy (32nd, 19:14) kept their heads down over the mixed-surface course in Saratoga Spa State Park, and brought home the W.

In early November, Peter Koch passed on running the Philadelphia Marathon, and instead applied his months of marathon training to an unofficial personal race, dubbed the Olde Delmarathon, around the streets of Olde Delmar on the same
weekend. For eight 3.3-mile laps, he was paced by a rotating cast of Rover teammates, including Greg Potestio, Gabe McGarry, Al Faller, Mulford, Gokey, Eamon Dempsey and Mike Austin (thanks, guys!) on his way to a 7-plus-minute PR, stopping the clock at 2:54:09 (unofficial result here).

The next day, the team capped off the season with a third-place finish at the MVP Health Care Stockadeathon 15K. Chrapowitzky (20th, 55:37) again led the Rover contingent—he would be voted the season’s MVR by his peers for hi race leadership—in a field of 1,300-plus runners, followed by Deer (34th, 57:58), Mulford (47th, 58:50), McGarry (80th, 1:01:38) and Chris Scoville (1:09:47), who critically filled out the squad in his team debut, despite being unwell (thanks for the sacrifice, Chris!).

Since then, we’ve officially welcomed four new members into the Rove for the 2019 season—Mike Austin, Gabe McGarry, Greg Potestio and Chris Scoville—bringing our roster to 22, adding even more versatility to the team, and setting us up for bigger hardware hauls in the coming year.

Finally, we’d like to thank our sponsors, Buenau’s Opticians, Four Corners
, Twisted Vine Wine & Tap, Sawyer’s Screen Printing & Embroidery and Normanside Country Club. Without your generous support, we’d just be “a drinking
team with a running problem.” Thanks to you, we’re a first-class running team with a drinking problem—not to mention sexy uniforms, eagle-eye vision, first-rate PEDs and, of course, top-notch places to meet and drink. Cheers to all of you, and to continued growth and success in the new year!

Spring 2018 Update – New Horizons

Over the course of the long winter, the Wild Rovers were busy inducting new team members, securing new business partners, and plotting out the 2018 racing season. In all, five new members were welcomed into the Rove: Tucker Chrapowitzky, John Deer, Matt Gokey, Chris Mulford, and Noah White. This new class brings our total number to 18.

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.

Autumn is for Firsts

Fall 2017 Update

This fall racing season, the Wild Rovers were all about accomplishing “firsts.” Jonathan Catlett was the first to throw down a major performance on September 10 in the Bucks County/Chasing the Unicorn Marathon in PA, where he finished 10th overall and 2nd in his age group, in a respectable 3:13.12. On that same day, triathlete Mike Cooley was in Lake Placid for the Half-Ironman, his first attempt at the grueling 70.3 mile distance. Cooley (pictured above) would rather not remember his finish, but we know we are very proud he placed 40th overall out of 2,062 finishers in 5:08:13.

Albany’s Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon on Columbus Day weekend is perennially listed as an ideal Boston qualifier. That was good enough for three Rovers to register including Peter Koch, Tim Pendergast, and Andrew Rickert, who would be making his first attempt at the distance. Not only did Rickert finish, he lead the group by placing 38th overall in 3:10:50, which could be good enough for a BQ in the spring of 2019. Koch was hot on his heels in 43rd (3:11:38), despite being hampered by injury during the most crucial weeks of his training cycle. Pendergast struggled through painful blisters late in the race, and finished an impressive 84th, despite running the last few miles barefoot.

November is when many distance runners hope to reach their peak. It was then that a strong contingent of Rovers descended on Minnewaska State Park near New Paltz for the “After the Leaves Have Fallen” Trail Half-Marathon. “Mountain-Goat” Chris Chromczak went for the win, but fell just short of his goal by placing 2nd overall. Chris McCloskey was next for the Rovers in an impressive 4th place. Andrew Rickert was 7th overall, and David Newman placed 24th to round out the crew. Finally, several Rovers took to Turkey Trots to finish off the fall season. Chris Chromczak once again placed 2nd overall (19:16), this time in the Cohoes Turkey Trot 3.5 miler. Andrew Rickert was 17th in the same event. Mike Cooley capped his fall season with a respectable 11th place finish at the Cardiac Classic 5k in Schenectady (17:30). The Rovers will now turn their focus to goal-setting for the 2018 season. Thanks for all your support this year.

Summer 2017 – Amazing Feats of Endurance 

This summer was full of amazing individual accomplishments. Not only did two Rovers welcome newborn children into their families (Catlett & McCloskey), but several among them achieved milestone racing achievements. Chris McCloskey completed yet another Lake Placid Ironman in late July (10:05:18). He finished 54th overall and 9th in his division. Although it wasn’t his best performance, it did come just two weeks after welcoming his second son into the world. Also in July, Chris Chromczak completed his 15th consecutive Escarpment Trail 30k and although he wasn’t necessarily shooting for a fast time, it’s certainly a testament to his fortitude and dedication to the trails. Most recently new member, Tim Pendergast, completed his first 100 miler at the Beast of Burden Ultra in Lockport, NY. Pendergast ran an impressive sub 20 hour performance. Meanwhile, several other Rovers have been accumulating mileage for fall marathon attempts.

Spring 2017 – Cooley & McCloskey Win Triathlons

Two Wild Rovers made headlines this spring on the triathlon circuit. Mike Cooley won the Delmar Dualathon on April 30th thanks in large part to his dominating performances on both two mile run legs. More recently, Chris McCloskey won the Harryman “Half” Iron-Triathlon on May 20th. McCloskey had a tight race until the final leg when a half-marathon leg of 1:25:43 helped him pull away from his nearest competitor. Congrats, boys! They have their eyes set on the Lake Placid Ironman in July.