By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer
Spring is here. Days are longer. Fair-weather runners are in their glory. The running calendar is full of races. Yet, in the hustle and bustle of running and racing, a vital part of the annual rebirth of running often goes unnoticed. All over the region, organized training runs - fondly known as fun runs - become the social focus of the running week, and offer joggers and racers alike many opportunities to sweat and socialize.
Tecumseh: The Tecumseh runs take place every Tuesday in April and May. This eight-week series features hilly runs of 2.83 and 5.67 miles. The runs start at 6 p.m. at the Tecumseh Elementary School on Waring Road in Syracuse. Runners loop once or twice through Peck Hill Road for a challenging workout. Call Evelyn White at 637-6211 for information.
Oneida Lake: The Oneida Lake Shores fun runs start on June 17. This 10-week series of Wednesday evening runs follow the flat and certified 5K and 10K courses of the Swamp Rat races. The runs start and finish in the Oneida Shores County Park, at Exit 31 off Route 81. Call Pat Leone at 699-3311 for information.
Highland Forest: The Highland Forest trail runs are new this year. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, a group of carefree harriers gathers every Wednesday morning at 8 at the Highland Forest County Park for an 8-mile cross-country run. The park is located 4 miles East of the Town of Fabius on Route 80. Call Mark Driscoll at 449-9615 for information.
Onondaga Lake: The Onondaga Lake Park Thursday evening training runs of 2 miles or 8K are also held from Memorial Day through Labor Day, starting at 6:20 p.m. near the Onondaga Lake Yacht Club. The courses are certified, flat and fast. A children's quarter-mile run is also held. Call Dave Oja at 446-6285 for information.
Leukemia Society: The Leukemia Society's Team in Training long runs are held every Sunday morning, at a different site each week, through the middle of June, culminating in the Rock "N' Roll Marathon in San Diego. Distances vary from 8 to 22 miles. Call Stephanie Perotti at 471-1050 for information.
Survivors: A breast cancer survivors run is held the first Saturday of every month, starting at 9 a.m. in front of the Salt Museum at Onondaga Lake Park. Walkers and runners of all ages and skill gather for support and for a workout. Call Lori Clapper at 451-7710 for information.
Constantino: The George Constantino training runs are held every Tuesday evening at 6:30, from June 23 through mid-August. These 5K and 10K road runs start and finish at the Nottingham High School track in Syracuse and run through the Meadowbrook neighborhood streets. Call Dave Beach at 488-6811 for information.
Incidentally, the Syracuse Track Club plans to award two $500 scholarships to deserving high school seniors, in memory of longtime Nottingham track and cross-country coach George Constantino. Call Bruce Laidlaw at 472-2709 for information.
Green Lakes: The Green Lakes trail runs are held every Thursday evening at 5:45 from April through October. The runs start near the Golf Club at Green Lakes State Park. Call Jerry Smith at 682-7633 for information.
Orienteering: The Central New York Orienteering training runs take place every Wednesday at 6 p.m. from mid-April through July, alternating sites between the Syracuse and Ithaca regions. For info, call Barb Sleight at 458-6406.
Advantages to fun runs
Besides their seasonal nature, training runs share many common features. They charge small or no fees. They have few or no officials, results or awards. They rarely require early registration. They cater to a wide range of abilities. The fields are small: a few dozen runners, deer and turkeys. Best of all, training runs provide low-pressure outlets to test one's fitness, in the company of like-minded enthusiasts.
If your spring and summer promises to be another dull running season, consider spicing it with some training runs. Call one of the run organizers and have some fun, for fitness sake.
Kamal Jabbour thrives on winning the occasional training run, when adverse weather dissipates the competition.
His RUNNING Column appears in
The Post-Standard on Mondays.
He maintains The Syracuse Running Page and
receives email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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