Steve Schallenkamp: Remembering Barry Hopkins and his legacy of races at Olana – The Daily Freeman

Steve Schallenkamp: Remembering Barry Hopkins and his legacy of races at Olana  The Daily Freeman

I have participated in nearly every Barry Hopkins Run at Olana State Historic Site in Greenport, N.Y., since the mid-1990s. Initially, the race was organized by Barry Hopkins and was called the Bilbo and Frodo Birthday Run. The race consisted of two loops of a 3.8-mile course that rambled all over the former estate of the Hudson River landscape artist Frederic Edwin Church.

Church was all the rage in the second half of the 19th century (1850-1900). He was the leading painter of a group sometimes referred to as the “Luminists.” The Luminists are often cited as being a catalyst for the emerging American conservation movement of the 19th century.

Between 1964 and 1966, art historian David C. Huntington spearheaded an effort to save Olana from destruction. Huntington considered Church’s estate to be Church’s most extraordinary “landscape painting.” The grounds have a pond, barn, carriage trails, meadows, and spectacular views of the
Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. Between 1870 and 1872, Church had a Persian-inspired mansion built high atop the property. He named his home Olana, which means “our place up high.” Olana is full of artifacts from around the globe. The collection is simply magnificent.

Olana, the home of the 19th century Hudson River School artist Frederic Edwin Church, is off U.S. Route 9 in Greenport, N.Y., overlooking the Hudson River.

In 1966, the state Legislature passed a bill creating the Olana Historic Site. The house is open for tours.In July 2007, Hopkins died after a long battle with brain cancer. He was a gifted artist, much inspired by the Hudson River School of landscape artists. His landscape painting appeared in many regional and national shows and galleries. In addition, he was a passionate art teacher at Catskill High School. Hopkins’ passion for nature, art, and his students coalesced into founding the Kindred Spirits Wilderness Experience program.

Hopkins was also a fervent runner. He competed on the high school and collegiate level, and, after college, helped found the Onteora Runners Club. So it was only natural that he would create a race at one of his favorite places.

The first time I ran the Bilbo Frodo Run, I wanted one of the awards. Typically, back then, race awards were trophies or medals. Most runners desire an award because it signified that you have run well, and you get to hear your name called and walk out in front of everyone. In some ways, it is a bit of an “ego trip.” At Barry’s race, you wanted an award because they were unique and actual pieces of art. The awards were scenes from the Lord of the Rings mounted onto driftwood or old barn wood.

Declan Dwyer-McNulty of Red Hook, the winner of the Barry Hopkins Run at Olana on Sept. 12, is seen en route to setting a new course record.

After Barry died, the Hopkins family and the Onteora Runners Club wanted to continue what he started. I think Barry would be pleased. Barry’s son, Drew, and his daughter, Ashley, continue to make the awards in the style he created.

Hopkins was a remarkable individual. Olana is a special place. The love and devotion of his family and friends make this race very meaningful. The “vibe” at this event is hard to describe, but it is positively felt.

This year’s race on September 12 had a big turnout. In the past, I was always perplexed that such a great race got only a modest turnout. This year, the race had 125 registrants. The in-person race on September 12 drew 95 runners, with 30 more people signing up to run the course between September 13-19.

Marisa Sutera-Strange of Wappinger Falls is seen en route to a new women’s course record at Olana.

It was a record-setting day as both the men’s and women’s winners eclipsed the old course records. Declan Dwyer-McNulty cruised around the hilly 3.8-mile course in 20:41. In the women’s division, 58-year-old Marisa Sutera-Strange demonstrated why she is one of the best masters-age
women globally by setting a new record of 24:51.

Coming in second and third place for the men were Brian Sadonis (23:24) and Giovanni DeMatteis (23:24). Taking second and third among the women were Catherine Herne (27:19) and Jacque Schiffer (28:34). Also having excellent races were teenagers Chace Snyder (24:40) and Mason Eyler (25:06). Finally, Kingston’s Owen Harvey captured fifth place with an excellent 24:45 effort.

The race was the 8th event in the ten race Onteora Runners Club Grand Prix . The next Grand Prix race is the Rosendale Plains Run on October 9.

On Saturday, September 11, the Onteora High School cross country team held its annual Jason Jones-Kent Reeves Memorial Run at Davis Park in West Shokan. This race is held in conjunction with the Olive Day Festival. This year the race was 2.6 miles long and had 26 finishers. The top three men were Traper VanDreason (15:52), Michael McCutcheon (17:27), and Ben Willington (17:42). The top three women
were Jacque Schiffer (18:50), Hailey Peck (21:13), and Rachel Williams (22:59).

It would be nice if these races were not on the same weekend. Unfortunately, that is one of the problems with the fall racing calendar; there are just too many races, and some very nice events get overlooked.

Upcoming races

There are several races in Dutchess County coming up. The Dutchess County Classic, which starts at 6 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, features a 5K, half marathon, and full marathon. In addition, there is the Catch-A-Rae 5K Sunday, Sept. 19 in Red Hook, and the Pawling 24 hour Trail Challenge with 3, 6, 12, and 24-hour races. Details for all these races are in the Freeman’s race calendar.

I want to give a big shout-out to an old race that is being reincarnated for the 50th anniversary of the Town of Esopus Apple Festival on Sept. 25 in Port Ewen. The Esopus 5K offers t-shirts, refreshments, and a free raffle for all participants. Unfortunately, the race got a late start on promotion, but if we
runners show up, I expect it to be a lot of fun. The entry fees are modest and family-friendly. So come run and then enjoy the hospitality of the Apple Fest!

On Sept. 26, the Rosemary Gruner 5K fun Run/Walk steps off from Dietz Memorial Stadium in Kingston. This run is part of the Benedictine Hospital Foundation’s Bike for Cancer Care event. I am amazed by how much money this event raises for the Foundation’s program, which helps area cancer patients with expenses not covered by medical insurance.

I plan to race at the Esopus 5K on Saturday and then run easily at the Gruner 5K. Consider joining me?

Circle these dates for October: Oct. 9, Rosendale Plains Run; Oct. 17, Capital 2 Capital Run; Oct. 23, the Morning Star 5K; and Oct. 30, UlsterCorps Zombie Run.

Keeping healthy is key

Sometimes runners get cavalier about their health, thinking running will take care of everything. As a result, we don’;t always pay attention to our diets, hydration, and overall activity level. Sometimes we overlook health warnings like aches and pains and lethargy and accept them as natural byproducts of running.

I found a recent article in the New York Times to be illuminating. The article explored the findings of a new study that examined how sedentary American life has become. It said most Americans sit for about six and a half hours a day, uninterrupted by other activities. Then, when we get
home from work, we often plop down for more hours, using laptops or watching television. The study found that getting up for three minutes of activity every half hour can do wonders for your metabolism.

So urge everyone you know to get up from their desks and couches and move. Just 15 steps every half-hour can have a positive effect. The study’ author wrote, “Every waking hour spent in sedentary postures (that is, sitting or lying) increases the risk for metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.” If this doesn’t pertain to you, please share the information about how even modest activity can be beneficial with family and friends.

Steve Schallenkamp has been active in area running circles since 1966 as a runner, race director, volunteer and coach. He is a member of the Onteora Runners Club and president of the Shawangunk Runners Club.