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
Marathon
(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
Pharmacy
, 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.