FITNESS: Syracuse Half Marathon
BY CATHERINE WILDE
If you’re looking for a half-marathon that’s not too hilly and traverses the east side of Syracuse, the inaugrual Syracuse Half Marathon is just for you.
Taking off on March 24, race director Ken Hammond says the time of year and terrain attract many novice runners. The event falls the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day and closes out the month of March in an exciting way. March also holds the Tipperary Hill Shamrock run and the St. Patrick’s Day parade so Ken praised the half marathon for bringing business into Syracuse for four straight weekends. Syracuse needed a good spring half-marathon, said Ken, and he thinks the end of March promises better weather than the beginning of the month.
When plotting the course, Ken decided to keep it relatively flat. The course starts and finishes at the Oncenter, running up State Street and through the Eastwood area, to the inner harbor area. Going up James Street, after State Street, will be the biggest hill and over with early, he said. “It’s kind of in and done with right off the bat, which is good because it’s a long, gradual uphill,” Ken says.
Marketing Manager at Fleet Feet in Syracuse, Liz Knickerbocker, said the Syracuse Half Marathon was the motivation she needed to get back into her running. Liz has four marathons under her belt, but says she does not do it competitively. Instead, she loves the health benefits it provides and expects the Syracuse Half Marathon to take her about an hour and 40 minutes to complete. “I clearly love just being out there, it’s honestly therapeutic,” Liz says. Her husband will attest to the benefits of running for her, saying she is a different person when she comes back from a run than she is before she starts one.
Liz also was excited about running through the east side of the city, saying most of the city’s other races instead tour the university area. Ken said the race takes highlights from other races, including attractive areas like Armory Square, the inner harbor and Eastwood. Post race, runners and spectators will enjoy highlights such as bands, awards and a pancake breakfast.
Both Liz and Ken tout the benefits of training for a half marathon over a full marathon because the training is more manageable. In her current training, Liz does speed work once a week and longer runs of up to 10 miles on weekends, keeping her weekday runs to about five miles. This is a much different commitment than training for a full marathon, she said. The longest she needs to be out on any single run training for a half marathon is an hour and a half, said Liz. Training for a marathon will call for three-and-a-half-hour runs and a more consistent weekly running regimen.
“For me that’s a lot easier to commit to training wise,” Liz said, calling half marathons the “perfect distance.”