There’s an old saying in running that “the stopwatch never lies.”
For Mike Cassidy, that includes the calendar as well.
Cassidy, the McKee/Staten Island Tech alum who has become the Island’s best distance runner, had qualified in 2012 for the USA Olympic Marathon Trials, clocking a Staten Island record time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 52 seconds for the 26.2 mile distance and meeting the Trials qualifying standard of 2:19:00.
In 2016, Cassidy ran 2:21:20 (Staten Island’s 2nd fastest time), but failed to qualify.
Last month in Philadelphia, Cassidy gave it a go once again, but fell short.
“I ran 2:26:32 at Philly, which was very disappointing,” said Cassidy. “My training was excellent — likely the best I’ve ever done.” Cassidy had lots of support too. “Several NYAC teammates formed a fantastic training group and we met twice weekly for hard workouts…I knew I had a realistic chance of hitting the Trials qualifying standard of 2:19.”
The beginning of the race went well for Cassidy.
“I felt great for the first eight miles, which were at about 5:17 per mile pace, but then somehow hit the wall by nine miles….The last 17 miles were not fun.
“I went through halfway in 70:30, as my pace then dropped to 5:30s, then 5:40s, and eventually crept up over six minutes per mile,” added Cassidy. “It basically turned into a glorified training run, albeit a painful one…I wanted to finish given everything I’d put into the training, and I did, but barely.”
In the unpredictable marathon, Cassidy tried to pinpoint the problem. “I’ve trying to figure out what went wrong, and I’m still not sure,” said Cassidy, who will now see how his body bounces back in a possible attempt again before the Jan. 19, 2020 deadline. “Likely the weather played a role, as it was cold, wet, and windy – historically I’ve struggled in cold, rainy conditions..It was just one of those bad days and the marathon is so fascinating because you need everything to go right on one day.”
Cassidy can still qualify by running a sub-1 hour, 4 minute time over the half-marathon distance as well. No matter what happens though, Cassidy has no regrets.
“While I’m disappointed about Philly, I’m proud of the training, said Cassidy, who credited a huge group of supporters, including family, friends, the Staten Island running community along with his wife, Molly and 10-month old son, Max. “It’s been three years since I’ve run a marathon (2016 NYC), due to injuries and I’m thankful to be healthy and fortunate to have been able to enjoy such high-quality training with good friends.
“Ultimately, it is the process, not the outcome, that matters most, and there’s always the 2024 Trials!”
News from around the Staten Island running community:
– Fred Rigolini organizes an informal free run in Clove Lakes Park at 8 a.m. in front of the Stonehenge every Friday. The course is run along the Clove Lakes Park 5K trails. All are Invited!
News from the NYRR
NYRR Open Runs are still being held at Silver Lake (7 p.m. on Fridays) and Conference House (9 a.m. on Sundays). All are welcome! Check out NYRR.org.
“The Rockets would like to thank all the runners who showed up for our Richmond Rocket Fall Foliage race on Nov. 17th in Silver Lake Park. The club president Toby Biegel-Massa also wants to acknowledge her team and thank them all as she steps down as president at the end of the year.”
Complete Race Solutions
“The Resolution Run takes place on Jan. 11 at Bloomingdale Park at 10 a.m. It’s the first leg of the Trail Triple Crown.”
Check out – www.completerace.com/site/events
News from Ocean Breeze
– The Miles Mania series returns Jan. 2! Events include the 1-mile, 800 meters and 2-mile races. For a schedule of races and more info please go to:
News from the Staten Island AC
“The 29th Annual Staten Island Special Olympics Patrick’s 2-Mile Jingle Bell Run will be held at the Elizabeth Connelly Center on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. No entry fee, but checks and cash donations are welcomed which benefit Lifestyles for the Disabled. Breakfast and prizes are provided. Please call 718- 494-7021.”
“The annual SIAC Sober-Up Run will be held on New Year’s Day at 10 am in Clove Lakes Park. The course is the traditional 3 mile Fun Run course. Champagne bottles will be awarded to the men’s and women’s winners. There is no entry fee.”
From the Staten Island Running Association
“Congratulations to SIRA Board chair, Jeff Benjamin (yes the author of this column), on his Community Service Award presented by the Staten Island Not For Profit Association!”
SIRA has some exciting events planned for 2020: a Runner Safety Awareness Month event in January; a FREE community food drive 5K run/walk in March; and the 2nd Annual Memorial Day Flag Fun Run in Clove Lakes Park on May 25, 2020.
SIRA has relaunched its website at www.statenislandrunning.org. Learn more about upcoming events and the organization’s work to support youth and community running in Staten Island.
Monthly Prize Trivia
Please submit your answer to my email below. All correct answers will then be put into a lot where two winners will be drawn randomly. One winner receives a pair of ASICS running shoes, while the other winner qualifies for a session at CRYO Staten Island (CRYOSI.com).
Congrats to Michael Dalton and Geoff Comerford who answered Robby Andrews correctly from last month’s contest. Dalton receives a pair of Asics shoes while Comerford will get the Cryo session.
This month’s question
During the “Running Boom” years of the 1980s a no-frills Holiday Relay Road Race took place annually where runners in teams of two would start at the Conference House Park and run in ANY direction to the finish, a local tavern which is still located on Forest Avenue.
Can you name it?
See you all next month!
Questions, comments, upcoming news? Please feel free to email Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org