Leuchanka's kick surprises Terry in CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge
ALBANY The woman at medical services looked at the bottom of Chuck Terry’s foot and said, “That’s going to need more than a band-aid.”
“Yeah,” he grimly concurred.
Terry needed a little more kick, too.
He appeared to have control of the 34th annual CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge coming down Madison Avenue on Thursday, only to be caught with 100 meters left by former Shenendehowa and UAlbany star Alex Leuchanka.
Leuchanka, who works for FleetFeet Sports Albany, ran 17:31 to beat Terry by four seconds. Kristina Gracey, who will begin her residency at Albany Medical Center this summer, won the women’s race in 20:46, 25 seconds ahead of Renee Tolan of FleetFeet.
The men’s race was a mishmash of fast runners right from the start, with 2012 Team Challenge champion Kevin Treadway and Leuchanka’s FleetFeet teammate, Alex Paley, in the lead pack.
Treadway and Paley, who staged a memorable shoulder-to-shoulder duel in the Troy Turkey Trot in November (won by Treadway in the final strides), controlled the early pace on Thursday, but finished third and fourth, respectively.
Terry made his big move at the three-mile mark of the 3.5-mile race, but didn’t quite have enough to hold off the late charge by Leuchanka.
“It’s really fun. It’s just nice for the store, but other than that, I knew it was going to be a bunch of guys just mixing it up,” Leuchanka said. “As long as Alex or myself or somebody from the store won it, it’s all good. I thought I had as good a chance as anybody else.”
With the second place, Terry has four victories, from 2007-11, two runner-up finishes and a third.
“I didn’t think he would be the guy,” Terry said. “He’s such a phenomenal up-and-coming runner. I’m 30, he’s 22. The competition’s getting younger. But I’m still right in the mix.”
Leuchanka, a biology major, holds the UAlbany record in the indoor 5,000, a 14:24.30 that he ran in 2012.
The native of Belarus helped Shenendehowa win multiple cross country state championships. After graduation next week, he’ll pursue his master’s in kinesiology at the University of New Hampshire.
With his college season over, he’s been taking it easy for a few days, but still had plenty of residual fitness and speed to win on a warm, windy Thursday.
“The first two miles, Alex Paley and I kind of led the race,” he said. “It was really slow. Up the hill, the wind was in our face, and it was really hot. We went through two miles in about 10:30, then Treadway started to take the lead.
“Right when we hit the crest of that hill, Chuck just took off, pretty much sprinting all the way. He gapped me by about 20 meters right there. I took off sprinting, just like he did, but I was only able to match his speed, really. He just kept going, and then slowed down in the last 100 meters. I didn’t really pick it up or anything, he just kind of came back to me.”
“I was hoping to have a good race,” Terry said. “I ran kind of sub-par at the Boston Marathon. Just didn’t run the proper pacing there. I thought I was a lot fitter than what I ran there. So I wanted to get back, and get another win here.”
Gracey also ran at Boston, posting a 2:58, and was a few blocks away from the finish line when the bombs went off last month.
In light of that, there was a significantly beefed up security presence at the Workforce Team Challenge, which counted over 9,000 registrants and 7,689 finishers, not to mention thousands of spectators at the Empire State Plaza. A moment of silence was held before the start in honor of the bombing victims.
“I was very lucky [at Boston],” Gracey said. “Obviously, I felt the weight of the aftermath in the same way that many other runners did.
“This means a lot. I’m very happy to be able to run at all today. It’s a privilege to get out every day. My neighbor across the street has multiple sclerosis. Every day, I see him, and I’m very lucky to have my ability to get out and run. I’m grateful to be here.”
Gracey and her friend, Tolan, took it out quickly from the start, then Gracey pulled away just a half-mile into the race.
Once she got some separation from her primary challenger, it became a question of whether she had recovered sufficiently from Boston.
It proved not to be an issue, as she was comfortable throughout the race.
“I gave myself quite a break,” Gracey said. “I wasn’t sure how today would go, but I was pleased that it went as well as it did.”
Team results for the Workforce Team Challenge are pending tabulation and verification.
Alex Leuchanka, 17:31; Chuck Terry, 17:35; Kevin Treadway, 17:44; Alexander Paley, 18:02; Ricardo Estremera, 18:09; Jaime Julia, 18:10; Nick Webster, 18:19; Eamon Dempsey, 18:21; Louie Dinuzzo, 18:26; Patrick Carroll, 18:35.
Ian Mullikin, 18:40; James O’Connor, 18:44; Samson Dikeman, 18:49; Thomas O’Grady, 18:53; Ken Little, 18:54; Aaron Knobloch, 19:05; Mike Chow, 19:08; Dave Vona, 19:14; Shaun Donegan, 19:20; Jake Stookey, 19:25.
Kristina Gracey, 20:46; Renee Tolan, 21:11; Kimberly Milton, 21:19; Sonya Pasquini, 21:51; Gretchen Oliver, 22:00; Erin Corcoran, 22:08; Anne Benson, 22:10; Jessica Chichester, 22:15; June Clements, 22:40; Diana Tobon-Knobloch, 22:53.
Nikki O’Meara, 22:54; Lisa D’Aniello, 23:00; Jessica Bashaw, 23:04; Shylah Weber, 23:07; Karen Dolge, 23:11; Jessey Montrose, 23:15; Marisa Poleto, 23:23; Roshni Bhagalia, 23:29; Tina Greene, 23:33; Anne Kubasiak, 23:38.