Firecracker 4 keeps families on the run
Dads push stroller, ‘racing chariot’ in steamy event
SARATOGA SPRINGS What happens when Mom has to work and Dad is scheduled to run a race? Dad puts the kids in a double-stroller and runs anyway.
Jeff Greer of Ballston Lake pushed both of his children through the Firecracker 4 run in Saratoga on Thursday, starting his Fourth of July with an extra challenge.
“Mom was working and we had to do it,” he said simply as he stood, panting, behind the stroller. He calculated the stroller and his children amounted to about 80 pounds.
He finished the 4-mile race in 27:30, but his 4-year-old daughter wasn’t satisfied with his performance.
“She kept telling me to pass everybody,” he said.
Running with a double stroller isn’t just about the weight — the logistics aren’t easy either. He couldn’t just turn his body and squeeze by a slower runner. He needed whole groups to move out of his way.
“I started too far back. It’s difficult to pass people,” he said.
But even if his wife had been able to get the day off, he said the kids would still have ridden through the race.
“She’d have taken one and I’d take the other,” he said. “She would’ve run next to me.”
Everleigh, 11 months, was content to ride. But Adalyn, 4, started negotiating halfway through the race. She wanted to get down and run the last 100 feet on her own.
She cited precedent: In previous races, when she was cheering on the sidelines, he let her duck under the rope to run with him at the end. But this time he said no. There were so many runners around him he feared she would get trampled.
They’re hoping the organizers add a children’s race next year so that Adalyn can finally celebrate the Fourth of July just like her dad.
Hundreds ran the race, for which downtown streets around City Center were closed. Some, like Team Greer, were there for fun.
Other runners were in it to win. Patrick Geoghegan, 22, came from Syracuse to beat the local runners. He finished in 19:57, seconds ahead of the runner-up.
Megan Hogan, 25, of Ballston Spa, broke the race record for women by more than a minute with her winning time of 20:57. The announcer and race organizers were stunned, but Hogan just looked at the time and nodded.
“The hard work paid off,” she said.
The winner in the masters division, Derrick Staley, 54, was delighted that he finished ahead of much younger men.
He finished in 22:20, and he had energy to spare — he sprinted to the finish line, trying to edge ahead of one last runner before the end of the race.
He said he kept telling himself, “I gotta stay with the younger guys.”
Finishing just two minutes after him was a man who plans to spend a lifetime making races far more challenging.
Shaun Evans of Galway ran while pushing his 7-year-old son, Shamus, who has cerebral palsy.
The boy specifically asked his father to take him on a race. They got an $800 racing chariot by fundraising on Facebook — they raised more than they needed in just six hours — and began training together recently.
Shamus loved it.
“He said, ‘When I get older, we can run marathons,’ ” Evans said.
Shamus said he wanted to run because “Daddy does it.”
Getting to ride in a racing chariot was exciting, he added.
“We went fast,” he said.
Evans laughed. “The uphills are challenging, but on the downhills, I can’t keep up. You go faster than me, don’t you?”
At this point in their partnership, Evans is pushing about 100 pounds. It didn’t seem to matter — he did the first mile in less than 6 minutes.
“I was never expecting to run that fast pushing him,” Evans said. “He just inspires me. He was cheering me on.”