ALBANY, N.Y. – The 2013 CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge drew more than 9,000 runners and walkers Thursday night. Navigating through historic downtown Albany and part of Washington Park, employees representing nearly 480 entities took part in what has become the largest annual road race between Utica and New York City.
This is the first big race in the area since the April marathon bombing in Boston. The Albany Police Department asked area residents, spectators and participants to remain alert and to report any suspicious activity. Police said there was no known threat and that the increased police presence was simply a precautionary measure.
“This is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable event and we just want to make sure that everyone is safe,” Albany Police Department PIO Steven Smith said.
It was Ken Sluti's first time for this race in Albany, his last race just a month ago at the Boston Marathon.
“Makes me reluctant to bring family to any big events,” said Sluti.
But Ken says nothing could keep him from running. He was participating as a part of the NY State Unified Court System team, but he had Boston in his thoughts and Boston Strong written across the back of his team t-shirt.
“I'm not going to live in fear, I'm gonna keep running,” said Sluti.
The top male runner, Alex Leuchenka of Fleet Feet Albany, finished the race in 17:31. The top female runner, Kristina Gracey of Albany Medical Center, finished the race in 20:45. Both are first-time winners.
Since 1984, thousands have gathered for the after work, spring evening tradition for a 3.5-mile race, where teams of employees from corporations, businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, not-for-profit corporations and financial institutions walk shoulder to shoulder for a good cause.
The event is organized by, and serves as the major fundraiser for, the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club (HMRRC), which is the area's largest running organization. Founded in 1971, the HMRRC supports running in the Capital Region through grants, college scholarships and the JustRun Program that encourages youth running in local schools. This year, HMRRC has selected the Double H Ranch and Capital District Community Gardens as the race's two charities of choice.
In light of the heightened security measures and increased police presence, officers did not allow backpacks, coolers or animals (with the exception of service animals) at the race venue. For those who had belongings that needed to be brought, police asked that they do so using a clear plastic bag.
For the first time in its 33-year history, the race featured chip timing, so that each participant's time will be electronically recorded.
All roadways in Washington Park are scheduled to be closed at 4 p.m. and will reopen at 8 p.m., when the race is expected to wrap up. Other closures include Madison Avenue between Eagle and Swan streets from 4 to 11 p.m. and Madison Avenue between South Swan Street and South Lake Avenue from 4 to 8 p.m. No parking zones and CDTA services will also be affected in the area.
The Albany Police Department Traffic Division posted the following “No Parking” signs on roads along the race route to indicate which roads will have no parking between noon and 8:00 p.m. Thursday:
-All roads in Washington Park: both sides of roadways
-Madison Avenue: both sides from Eagle Street to Knox Street
-Madison Avenue: north side from Lark Street to South Lake Avenue
-Lake Avenue: both sides from Madison Avenue to Hudson Avenue
-Western Avenue: both sides from South Lake Avenue to Robin Street
-Lake Avenue: both sides from Western Avenue to Washington Avenue
-Washington Avenue: both sides from South Lake Avenue to Sprague Place/Western Avenue
-Sprague Place: both sides of Sprague Place into the park
In addition to the primary road closures, other roads that will be closed at 5:30 p.m. and are expected to be reopened at 8 p.m. are as follows:
-Swan Street: from Elm Street to Hamilton Street
-Dove Street: from Hamilton Street to Jefferson Street
-Lark Street: from Hamilton Street to Madison Avenue
-Delaware Avenue: from Jefferson Street to Madison Street
-Knox Street: from Dana Street to Madison Avenue
– S. Lake Avenue: from Madison Avenue to Western Avenue
-N. Lake Avenue: from Western Avenue to Washington Avenue
-Western Avenue: from Cortland Avenue to Washington Avenue
-Washington Avenue: from North Lake Avenue to Henry Johnson Boulevard
-Robin Street: from Bradford Street to Washington Avenue
-Lexington Avenue: from Bradford Street to Washington Avenue
-State Street: from Robin Street to Henry Johnson Boulevard
-Willett Street: from Madison Avenue to State Street
-Lancaster Street: from Lark Street to Willett Street
-Hudson Avenue: from Lark Street to Willett Street
-Jefferson Street: from Dove Street to South Swan Street
The CDTA also announced that at approximately 5 p.m., service on certain routes will be affected until after the event. Here is a list of those routes:
– #10 Western Avenue
– #11 UAlbany Shuttle
– #12 Washington Avenue
-#13 New Scotland Avenue
– #18 Delaware Avenue
– #22 Albany-Troy-Watervliet
-#214 Rensselaer/Third Street/Amtrak
– #224 Albany/Troy/Rensselaer
– #233 Albany/Schodack
– #522 Hudson River Express
– #520X Nassau Express
– #530X Rotterdam Square Mall
-#531X St. Luke's/Woodlawn
– #719 Altamont/Voorhesville
-#734 Hackett/Buckingham Pond
-NX Northway Express Commuter Service