Runners toe the line at the start of the race in 2010.
NORTH CREEK — After a one-year hiatus, the North Creek chapter of Dollars for Scholars is bringing back its popular Race the Train event on Aug 4. Complications with the new railroad prevented the race from happening last year, and Dollars for Scholars is putting in extra effort to make its tenth anniversary a success.
Runners have been testing themselves against the train since 2002. They ride the train to Riverside Station in Riparius, the race’s starting point. At 8 a.m. the train whistle blows, signaling the start of the competition. The runners make their way down River Road, an 8.2 mile trip, to try and beat the train to the North Creek Depot, where they are met by free food provided by Johnsburg students and Dollars for Scholars volunteers. Over 300 runners competed in the last race. Spectators can ride the train, which stops every so often so they can cheer for their favorite runners.
Race the Train is the North Creek Dollars for Scholars biggest fund raiser. Money comes from participants’ registration fees ($25 adult, $20 19 and under), as well as from a raffle held after the race’s completion. Registration nets runners a shirt (with art designed by JCS graduate Chelsea Gazzaile) as well as a bag filled with goodies and special promotions.
“It transformed our chapter,” says former chapter president Ann Arsenault. “We went from being able to do very little to being able to do a lot”
Dollars for Scholars gave out nearly $16,000 in scholarships this year alone. Some students have received up to $5000. What’s more, some colleges and universities are matching those scholarships, meaning some students can get up to $10,000 towards their education.
There are a few special events going on to commemorate the race’s tenth anniversary. Every year there are water stations set up along the way for runners to grab a drink. This year a special prize will be awarded to the station runners vote did the best job. Local businesses are offering special deals that day to runners, decorating their storefronts for the event, and even donating coupons ad gift certificates to be raffled off. Though the race itself only lasts around an hour, Race the Train is going to be an all-day event.
The race attracts dedicated runners from not just the Adirondacks, but all over New York and other parts of the United States. Some runners even come from other countries to participate. Awards are given to the first, second, and third place winners for each 5-year age group. The first 75 people to beat the train to North Creek receive special medals for their achievement. There is also a special event for young children and families, the one mile “Family Fun Run” that takes place following the main race. There are also special awards for local winners.
Past local winners include Heather Flannigan, Suzan Tomb, Paul Allison, Lisa Thomas, and Peter Morehouse. Devon Cornwall, a Virginia native, holds the record time with 45 minutes 9 seconds. Megan Holden of South Beath, NY holds the female record, with 52 minutes 48 seconds. Alex Benway of Queensbury, NY finished first in the past two races.
For more information contact Gary Wilson at 494-2266 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spectators can make train reservations by calling 1-877-726-7245 and asking for the Saratoga/North Creek Railroad. Reservations are $10 for the day.