Virtual endurance race motivates local runner to do 868 miles
She never thought this would be all that much fun. But as races were canceled and her running plans were upended, Samantha Maiarana decided to register for a virtual endurance race because her friends were doing it and well, why not?
She needed something to help with her motivation.
But quickly she fell in love with the challenge and, once finding herself on the top of the leaderboard in her age group for the NYSVR434, she was hooked.
“I’ve been a runner for eight years now and do so many races throughout the year,” Maiarana said. “When Covid first started and all the races were canceled, it was hard. I’ll always run, but having races to train for is my motivation.
“Then the NYSVR came up and all my running friends suggested we do it. I wasn’t that interested. I didn’t know how great it would be going virtual and not having an actual race. But after the first two days, I was so into it. I got fired up to get my miles in.”
The NYSVR 434 is an endurance event created by the minds of Score This!!!, which allows people to run, bike or swim the mileage from Buffalo to various cities across New York State.
Getting those miles in has been somewhat challenging for Maiarana, particularly since she decided to run 868 miles – the distance from Niagara Square to Times Square and back. While others have used running and virtual distance challenges as a way to fill the time or work out stress from working at home, job reductions or job losses, Maiarana has kept working during the pandemic. She is an office manager at Dent Neurologic Institute and oversees 50 staff members. An essential health care worker, her schedule stayed the same.
“We changed a lot with more telemedicine, but we didn’t stop serving our patients,” Maiarana said. “I was still present every day and didn’t have the opportunity to work from home. I wouldn’t have wanted to anyway.
“I’m personally not a health care provider, but I work with all these doctors day in and day out and they were soothing and calming to us, telling us how to be safe – wash our hands, keep a mask on, keep our distance.”
Armed with good information and a desire to find her own finish line, Maiarana has run every day since she registered for the virtual race. Originally, her goal race was the Buffalo Marathon as she was looking for vindication from last year’s struggle in the heat.
This, however, is unlike any type of running she’s done in the past.
“With this race, I’m running so much more than when I marathon train,” Maiarana said. “There’s a total mileage goal, so I’m racing to get as many miles in as I can. In marathon training, each day is planned out. On Monday, I’d wake up and know that I have to get 7 miles in. Now, I plan to run at least 8 miles a day, but if I feel good, I keep going to knock off as many miles as I can.”
Take one cool day in July when she met a friend and they ran 7 miles together. But she felt good, had plenty of time, and ended up running 12 miles. She also will split miles –do some outside and more on the treadmill to counter the heat.
“My goal at first was just to finish by the end date of Sept. 15,” Maiarana said. “ But now I want to stay in first place in my age group and finish as early as I can. I’m on track to finish a couple of weeks before the end date.”
Virtual Subaru winners announced
One of the biggest races on the Western New York calendar, the Subaru Buffalo 4-Mile Chase, went virtual this year with runners having between July 10-16 to complete and record their results.
Bryan Morseman was the overall male winner with a time of 19:11. The 34-year-old from Wheeler is a graduate of Mansfield College and has won 70 marathons in his career, placing 24th overall in the 2009 New York City Marathon.
Laurel Leone was the overall female winner with a time of 24:04. The 35-year-old from Manlius is a four-time Foot Locker Cross Country qualifier and was the first U.S. woman in the 2019 Subaru Buffalo 4-Mile Chase.
Vicki Mitchell, the director of cross country and track and field at the University at Buffalo and a two-time winner of the event (1998 and 1999), placed first in the women’s 50-54 age group.
“The race was pretty competitive, but I hope it’s our last virtual race and that we can celebrate our 40th running next year on July 16,” race director Jim Nowicki said. “On what would have been the day of the race this year, we had perfect weather and a mock finish line with our finish line announcer giving a mock mile-by-mile play-by-play of the race, announcing the times of the first male and females and the 1-, 2-, 3-mile marks and the finish line.
“After 39 years, not celebrating the 40th was disappointing to say the least. It’s just a great and fun day for everybody in the running community.”
Age group winners are as follows:
Female: 10-12 Olivia Sweet; 25-29 Emma Sullivan; 30-34 Katie Campos; 35-39 Laurel Leone; 40-44 Lisa Ferraro; 45-49 Michelle Carberry; 50-54 Vicki Mitchell; 55-59 Donna Reynolds; 60-64 Shirley Newton; 65-69 Brigitte Soltiz; 70-74 Mary Tolejko; 75-79 Mac Mackenzie; 85-89 Theresa Rivard.
Male: 20-24 Andrew Nebel; 25-29 Grant Wignall; 30-34 Bryan Morseman; 35-39 Adam Rowe; 40-44 David Dixon; 45-49 Matthew Dore; 50-54 John McMahon; 55-59 David Lotze; 60-64 Joe Campbell; 65-69 Thomas Lansing; 70-74 Robert Hysert; 75-79 Stan Trybulski; 85-89 Don Wood; 90-94 Jerry Rivard.
According to Buffalo Runners race calendar, the following races are on as scheduled. Check with race directors to confirm information and safety protocols.
Thursday, Aug. 13
Chateau Niagara Winery 5K, 7 p.m., Chateau Niagara Winery, 2466 West Creek Road, Newfane.
Saturday, Aug. 15
KIA Memorial Road March, 11 a.m., Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park.
Friday, Aug. 21
Schulze Vineyard & Winery 5K, 7 p.m., Schulze Vineyard & Winery, 2090 Coomer Road, Burt.
Saturday, Aug. 22
Muddy Buffalo Obstacle Course Run, 5K, 9 a.m., Buffalo Ski Club, 7414 State Road, Route 240, Colden.
Sunday, Sept. 6
Chicken Wing 5K, 11 a.m., Coca-Cola Field, 275 Washington St..
Friday, Sept. 11
Brothers of Mercy Bavarian Fest 5K Nature Run & Walk, 6:30 p.m., Brothers of Mercy, 4520 Ransom Road, Clarence.
Saturday, Sept. 12
Resurgence 5K/10K/Half Marathon, 9 a.m., Resurgence Brewing Co., 55 Chicago St.
Allegheny River Running Fest, Half Marathon, 5K, 9 a.m., War Veterans Memorial Park, 551 E. State St., Olean.
Sunday, Sept. 13
Four for Forty Four & Cross Country Beer Mile, 44 Mile Team Relay, 7 a.m., Southern Tier Brewery, 2072 Stoneman Circle, Lakewood.
Sea Lion Rescue Run, 9 a.m., Whirlpool State Park & Aquarium of Niagara, 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls.
Glen Iris 5K, 9 a.m., Trout Pond, Letchworth State Park, 6699 Denton Corners Road, Castile.
Saturday, Sept. 19
Beast of Burden 100 Mile/50/25 Mile Ultra Marathon, 10 a.m., Nelson C. Goehle Widewaters Marina, 718 Market St., Lockport.
Genesee ARC Friends & Family 5K Mary Anne Graney Memorial, 10 a.m., Genesee ARC Day Habilitation Center, 4603 Barrville Road, Elba.
Saturday, Sept. 26
Amish Country Running Festival, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, 1 Mile, 8 a.m., 122 Church St., Randolph.
Run Forest Run 5K, 10 a.m., Forest Elementary School, 250 N. Forest Road, Amherst.
Sponge Candy 5K, 3:30 p.m., Platters Chocolate Factory, Wurlitzer Building, 980 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda.
Sunday, Sept. 27
Queen City Architecture Run, 5K, 10 a.m., Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, 76 Pearl St.