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Several times each week, all year-round, Hyde Park neighbor David Osterhoudt is one of my early-morning weekday running partners. For much of the year, including now, this means being plunged into the pre-dawn darkness, doing road running loops illuminated by headlamps.
During the brighter, warmer months, our Hyde Park Early Birds group will occasionally dabble in some “trails” (typing those quotation marks, I can almost hear the derision in Dave Wise’s voice at my definition of “trails” versus, well, everyone else’s). The slightest hint of off-road running leaves me whining like a middle-schooler being badgered into doing homework. I’m just not a trails guy. At all.
This, of course, is ironic as heck. During the week, Dave O must feel like a caged zoo animal, doing the same old boring road loops with a slowpoke like me. That’s OK. He more than makes up for it on the weekends.
After years of dabbling in trail running and trail racing, Osterhoudt went all-in for 2019. The results were nothing short of astonishing. In the recently completed Salomon New York Half Marathon Trail Series, Osterhoudt ended up in first place overall, cementing him as one of the best trail runners in the Northeast region.
Osterhoudt got his first taste of “real” trail racing at the granddaddy of them all, the venerable Escarpment Trail Run in the Catskills, a few years ago. The “trail bug” soon followed.
As soon as the weather and the conditions cooperated in early spring, Osterhoudt headed to the trails for all his long runs, aiming for as much ascent as possible. Usually, this meant grueling runs around Mount Beacon and Breakneck Ridge. Like anything else, there was a period of adjustment.
“At first,’’ he said, “my legs were dead! After a few weeks, I started to acclimate.”
An old childhood friend, and last year’s series winner, Jordan Planck of Beacon, trained with him and gave him some good pointers on training and racing in the mountainous woods. As the weather heated up, so did the racing season.
The Breakneck Ridge Half was the first of five races in the series. Keep in mind these races are far more challenging and technical than any road race out there. He finished this race in about three hours.
“This was a well-executed race and gave me a good deal of confidence going forward,’’ Osterhoudt said.
His next race, Iron Mines in Ringwood, New Jersey, was challenging. With 3,500 feet of climbing and crazy, technical single-track trails, Osterhoudt said he was “humbled, to say the least.’’
The Escarpment Trail race, Osterhoudt’s ultimate goal each year, was next on the calendar. With a goal of sub-4 hours, a beautiful day in the Catskills enabled him to achieve that, after two previous year times of 4:25 and 4:19.
Osterhoudt finished out the series with strong showings at the Water Gap 25 km and the Castle to River Half Marathon, clinching the top spot and solidifying a true love for off-road racing.
“Trail racing has a completely different feel than the road,’’ he said. “Not just the surface but at times the climbs are so intense they cannot be run. It’s OK to walk if you need to, just keep moving. Completing the season with enough points in the standings to take first place and win some really nice prizes was so awesome. I plan to continue my new obsession and hope to improve in 2020!”
Dollard on winning team
Congratulations to Kevin Dollard of Hopewell Junction, who was part of a national championship masters running team at the USATF 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in late October. Dollard runs for the New Jersey-based Shore Athletic Club. This was the last points event for 2019, and the Shore AC wound up in second place overall for 2019.
NYC Marathon results
At the time of this writing, the unofficial results from Sunday’s New York City Marathon were still being tabulated, so the names and times listed here are only of runners that I was aware of being entered. Please send in results from runners with local ties for future columns.
It was a beautiful fall day in the five boroughs. Waiting at Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island was chilly, but once runners got rolling they were treated to brilliant sunshine along the course.
There were numerous Marist College alumni who completed the race. On the men’s side, Kyle Hannafin (2:53:07) led the way. Omar Perez of Poughkeepsie finished in 3:25:35, just a few weeks after completing the Chicago Marathon. Tanner Senius finished in 3:29:57. For the women, there were numerous strong performances: Kara Lightowler (3:06:03), Bianca Luparello (3:11:48), Dayna McLaughlin (3:27:33), Megan Brady (3:57:24) and Christine Gambell (4:08:05).
Local men who completed the race with strong showings included Anthony Ferreri of Hyde Park (3:23:20), Michel Joseph of Poughkeepsie (3:25:47) and Christopher Regan of Wappingers Falls (4:02:37). For Regan, it was his 100th marathon. Congratulations on that amazing milestone.
Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club member Pete Colaizzo, the track coach at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, writes on running every week in Players. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more club information, go to www.mhrrc.org