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ON THE RUN Cue the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire: Teenagers are loping gracefully through the streets of Saratoga Springs, doing their daily 6- or 7-mile workouts. And these Blue Streaks, Sara toga High School’s storied cross-country runners, aren’t the only two- legged hoofers out there. The horses may run in August, but the people—lots of them—run all year.

“Saratoga Springs is a beautiful city for running,” says Ken Hammond, a former Blue Streaks runner and current Harvard student who recently completed his first Boston Marathon. He cites the “pleasing routes” through historic neighborhoods, lack of big-city traffic, and even the famous springs that make for “elegant water stops.” The Streaks have been top contenders at the state and national level for decades, hosting home meets on their championship cross-country course that ranges over wooded trails and hills in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The park is also a favorite of the Saratoga Stryders, whose members meet at the Warming Hut off the Avenue of the Pines for a “rec run” every Saturday morning. The club welcomes run- ning enthusiasts of all levels, organizes Wednesday evening speed workouts for those looking to improve their PRs (personal records), and hosts a summer five-race Camp Saratoga Fun Run series at the nearby Wilton Wildlife Preserve. Stryders also volunteer at charity races in the city—a good thing, because barely a weekend goes by without one or two. July’s Silks and Satins run, benefiting Special Olympics, traces a 5-kilometer route through East Side neighborhoods near the racetrack. October’s Great Pumpkin Challenge, which features both a 5k and a 10k and benefits the Saratoga Bridges programs for people with developmental disabilities, traverses the state park. The Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, supporting youth sports programs through the Christopher Dailey Foundation, starts and finishes downtown on Broadway. There are dozens more, many including family-friendly walks and “fun runs.” Skidmore has its own corps of exercise runners, none more

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dedicated than math professor Gove Effinger. He has a 3-mile North Broadway loop (yes, he names them), a 5-mile route that takes him to Loughberry Lake, and a 6-mile Locust Grove loop that passes Skidmore’s Castle Baseball Diamond. “Running from Skidmore always involves hills,” he sighs, “and it pretty much has to be uphill on the way home.” He got hooked on running 35 years ago, completed 20 marathons back in the day, and is proud to say he is “still out there at age 64.” He also founded Skidmore’s Oktoberfest Fun Run in 1994 and continues to direct the Celebration Weekend 5k.

Skidmore has a bona fide running star in psychology profes-

sor Tonya Dodge, a SUNY-Albany Hall of Famer who graduated in 1997 with nine school records in track and field. Recently she has headlined the Skidmore contingent in the 3.5-mile GHI Work force Challenge in Albany, capturing first place among women in 2009 by finishing in 21:15 and second place in 2010 at 21:03—that’s a flat six minutes per mile. Skidmore fielded 27 faculty and staff runners for this year’s challenge, where the co- ed team of Dodge, Sarah Raymond (psychology), David Peterson (art), and Joe Murphy (residence life) placed fifth out of hun- dreds. When not teaching or researching performance-enhanc- ing doping by young male athletes, Dodge manages a daily run of at least five miles, and says “one day a week I try to get in a long run, between 10 and 12 miles.” Her favorite routes go from her home on Saratoga’s West Side through the Spa State Park. For hundreds of Streaks, Stryders, and Skidmore runners, there is only one way to ring in the New Year: with the First Night 5k on December 31. Less seasoned New-Year’s-resolution runners are welcome too, but caveat jogger: The race starts and finishes at Skidmore’s Sports and Recreation Center, looping around the campus, then out to Clinton Street, Greenfield Av- enue, and back up Broadway, at which point—Effinger will tell you—it is all uphill. —KG


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