Winter wimps out for annual road race
Unseasonable warmth attracts 100 more runners
HAGAMAN Even a wimp could have withstood a run outdoors on Saturday.
The Winter Wimp foot race in Hagaman has offered snow, sleet and freezing cold temperatures in the past, said race director Rick Vertucci of Amsterdam.
“It’s unusually mild,” he said of the weather for the 27th running on Saturday.
Because of the warm temperatures, an additional 100 people showed up to expand the field to more than 250 at the 1 p.m. start. Per tradition, the race was split into two options, which were created initially because of people who couldn’t take the cold.
“If you run one loop and you wimp out, it’s only 2.2 [miles],” Vertucci said. “We try to encourage everybody to do the 4.4.”
This was the first time Brent Pollak had run the race, which was easier than he expected because of the temperatures.
“I had a hat and gloves the first time around, but I ditched them halfway through,” he said. “I guess I assumed it would be cold because it was January.”
He wasn’t the only one shedding layers. A female runner stopped after running 2.2 miles and after winning a battle with her earphones, left her sweatshirt and long-sleeve shirt under the water table before running the second half.
Pollak, who recently moved to Hagaman, runs in races year-round and said he prefers warmer weather because it is easier to breath. He acknowledged, though, that he wasn’t in peak physical condition Saturday due to the recent holidays.
“Pretty much from Thanksgiving until New Years, it’s peanut butter M&Ms,” Pollak joked, adding that this was the start of his getting in shape effort for the year.
The race was a breeze for 18-year-old Austin Becker of Broadalbin, who won with a time of about 25 minutes. A runner at Buffalo State University, he said the race served to replace one of his workouts.
Becker, who runs the 800-meter dash in college, said he is normally forced to train inside or in cold weather during his winter break.
“This is the warmest I’ve trained in since I’ve been home for break,” he said. “It’s nice.”
More information about the Fulmont Roadrunners’ Club, which organized the race, can be found at www.fmrrc.org.