Saturday, February 24th, 2018
The Route 20 Road Challenge held its first ever banquet recognizing the accomplishments of runners participating in the year long running series for the year 2017. The event was held at Michael’s in Sangerfield on Saturday, February 24, 2018.
The Route 20 Road Challenge, which links running events within the corridor of the Route 20 Scenic Byway, began in 2000. Former Route 20 Association President Bill Kwasniewski remembered how the concept developed with the input of a handful of race directors who gathered in the living room of his home in West Winfield. “Craig North and Bill Kosina have been the backbone of this series since day one,” he noted at Saturday’s event. Both North of Eaton and Kosina of Richfield Springs, who serve not only as the Road Challenge directors but direct races in their own hometowns, spoke at the event outlining plans for the upcoming season with 18-20 races expected on the 2018 schedule.
Also speaking was Kevin Hoehn who serves as the series’ unofficial ‘ambassador’. He spoke of the camaraderie and friendships built up over the years among race participants. “Unlike clubs and similar formats, this series is unique; it’s kind of freeform. There’s really nothing like it I know of.”
Runners attending Saturday participated in a certain number of events the past year earning customized running jackets. Those recognized included: Craig North, Eaton; Kevin Hoehn, Rome; Mark Perrin, New Hartford; Richard Ough, Burlington Flats; Rocco Ough, Burlington Flats; Hunter Ough, Burlington Flats; Alexis Lafever, Eaton; Jennifer Caloia, Morrisville; Joy Gifford, Eaton; Margaret Kemp, New Hartford; Elizabeth Fish, Waterville; Mark Ruane, Waterville; Jim Davis, West Winfield; Patricia King, Sherrill; Terri Woodford, Oxford; Ralph Rathbun, West Edmeston; Joanne Securra, Sherrill; Mary Pustay, West Winfield; Amber Piersma, Cassville; Jessica Powers, Milford; Susan Will, West Winfield; and Courtney Spatto, Waterville.
On a somber note, longtime participant Kermit Cadrette who passed away the previous week, was recognized. Cadrette, of Rome, didn’t begin running until he was over 50. In addition to 5k and 10k events, he also ran in over 80 marathons. Along the way, he served as mentor and friend to countless runners in Central New York and beyond. According to Kosina, “He epitomized everything there is with the sport of running.” In his honor, a new award was introduced with its first recipient being Kevin Hoehn.
Helping coordinate Saturday’s event was Courtney Spatto, a resident of Waterville and cross country coach at Rome Free Academy. The dinner is expected to become an annual event.