Syracuse Half Marathon takes place on Sunday
by Jessica Novak - Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Route Loops

Being in charge of a half marathon sounds just as hard as running one. But Rick Streeter, race director of the Syracuse Half Marathon, is on track to make the Sunday, March 23, event a great experience for all involved.

“Everybody thinks it’s a big moneymaker, a cash cow,” he says. “I’d like to make the event $35, but with all the fixed costs– medals, T-shirts, police– it’s expensive. You’re taking a big risk.”

Bigger risks, however, can mean bigger gains, and the growing race is already seeing several hundred more entries than the 1,300 who participated last year. Streeter and the company hosting the race, Upstate Event Management, hope they’ll break 2,000 in the next few years.

To reach that goal, the race has to stand apart from the pack, which it does for several reasons. The event is held early in the season, out of the way of other major races in Central New York and beyond, so racers don’t have to choose between their favorites. It also features a course that takes runners right through the heart of the city and some of its most scenic areas.

The Syracuse Half Marathon presents the flattest route of the four that Upstate Event had originally laid out as possibilities. Runners also appreciate the overall mileage factor: The half marathon distance has become the second most popular in recent years (behind the 5K), making this a great opportunity for those who enjoy the 13.1-mile run.

“Our most unique part is that it’s not just down and back like the Empire State {held in October},” he says. “You’re not doing a marathon if you’re just running out and back. This is a full loop. You don’t go anywhere twice.”

Managing an extensive loop also means lots of volunteers. Last year the race had about 230 volunteers, plus police. “Getting 300 volunteers to work your event is tough,” Streeter says with a laugh. He’s been able to get entire local track teams to donate their time in exchange for timing help. Streeter also gives fellow race volunteers booth space in the expo room at the Pirro Convention Center.

“We believe it’s one of the more quality and well-organized events in the area,” he says. “At the end, you don’t just get fruit and a bagel, you’ll get hot food and a band.” Music for the event will be provided by Just Joe.

Although it’s a for-profit race, Streeter insists not much money is made, but rather funneled back into the event. And $3,000 is donated to the Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Foundation.

Streeter is hopeful the weather cooperates for the race; temperatures were in the mid-40s last year. “If we moved a couple weeks, to April 12 or so, it would be better for numbers, but then it would be against other races,” he explains.

It’s also a great chance to ramp up for the rest of the year. “If you’d be able to run a half marathon in March, you’d be on your way to a full marathon later in the year,” he says.

Entry fee through Friday, March 21, is $75, including an online processing surcharge. On Sunday expect to pay $90, either with cash or check. For more information, visit syracusehalf.com.

6 a.m.
Packet pickup and late registration
OnCenter Gallager Hall
6 a.m.
Race Information Booth/ Lost & Found
OnCenter Exhibit Room B
7:35 a.m.
Blessing of The Runners
OnCenter Room B

8 a.m.
Race Start
State Street (Front of OnCenter)
9:20 a.m.
Post-Race Party and Runner’s Hot Food Service
OnCenter Room B
10:25 a.m.
Donation presentation to the CNY SPCA
OnCenter  Room B
10:25 a.m.
Awards Ceremony
OnCenter  Room B

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