Stockade-athon 15K Race Recap

Stockade-athon logo on RaceRaves

November 14, 2021 8:30 am

This is my 8th time running this popular local 15k race.

I ran it for the first time in 2011 and it was my FIRST 15k race ever. I was glad to just finish and I did in 1:36:08. I was injured in 2012 and then I ran it again in 2013.


“fake” happy in 2013

With 1500-2000 runners in this race, they were forced to make some changes to the course.

It no longer starts and ends in Central Park. It also starts earlier – 8:30 am

Well, I loved the new course and my finish times improved for the most part (except for 2019 since the race was held a week after my first FULL marathon):

2014 – 1:33:23
2015 – 1:31:23
2016 – 1:32:49
2018 – 1:30:15 PR
2019 – 1:36:37 PW
2020 – cancelled

In 2019, they modified the course slightly. They eliminated the bike path at the beginning of the race (which I did like because you ran along the Mohawk River and it was dirt so easy on the feet).)

Pre-Race Preparations and Activities:

My last long run was really hard… That did not make me feel super confident for this race.

During the week before the race, I just ran my easy short runs…

This race was supposed to be a taper for a half marathon that was scheduled for the next weekend. I even skipped my long run with my running friends and just walked with Sherry (who was also running the race) and then met the others for brunch.

beautiful morning but that ended and the rest of the rest of the day was miserable and rainy.

So I didn’t expect to race this 15k. I just wanted some exercise and to hang out with 1000 of my running friends.

I picked up my bib and race shirt at Fleet Feet the day before (although it really wasn’t necessary.) As I mentioned above, it rained the rest of the day so I was forced to rest my legs.

long sleeved women’s tech shirt

I ate my usual pre-race pizza that night and got together my #flatme.

with the cold temps predicted, it was risky to wear a skirt and no jacket…but I hate to be too warm when running

Race Day:

The temps were in the 30s when I got up on race morning and it was forecast to only warm up to high 40s and be cloudy. I hate this time of year. It’s so difficult to dress correctly. There used to be (before COVID) a bag check and I could bring extra clothes for after and in case I changed my mind.

Even though I’ve been to this race several times before, I still left extra early.  Barbara and I had planned to carpool.  But she got sick and was not able to run. I got there and again found a spot on the street a few blocks from the start of the race. It would have been nice to wait indoors at the YWCA and chat with the other runners.  I was cold but I knew that if I dressed warmer, I would be too warm.

I texted Sherry when I got there and we met in the YWCA where race day bib pick-up was being held.  You had to wear a mask but even though you were not supposed to stay inside, no one seemed to care.  So we stayed there to keep warm until the race start.

Eventually we made our way to start area. It was organized and marked by bib number (which corresponded to your finish time.)

I recognized a few runners so I lined up with them.  Sherry moved further back.  We agreed to meet after at the refreshments area.

The 2019 course map:

I believe that it didn’t change for this year.

The course starts near Veterans Park in downtown Schenectady. The course travels west on State Street for 1K before entering the historic Stockade District and proceeding on a scenic bike path in Riverside Park along the Mohawk River. The course exits the Stockade District after crossing Erie Blvd. The course then proceeds east on Nott Street past Union College before entering the historic GE Plot residential neighborhood via Lenox Ave, Douglas Rd and Rugby Rd. The course exits Rugby Road and proceeds north on Waverly Place near the 5K mark. The course turns east off Waverly and follows Grand Blvd to the city boundary with Niskayuna, then proceeds south on Dean Street to Central Parkway past 8k. After a 1K residential loop on Central Parkway, the course enters beautiful Central Park and follows a bike path around Iroquois Lake and Duck Pond before reaching its highest elevation near 12K. The final 3k is mostly downhill or flat as the course exits Central Park and proceeds west through historic Vale Cemetery and Vale Park before a final downhill section on Franklin Street to the finish at City Hall.

the elevation according to my Garmin.

Mile 1-3.1:

The race started running down commercial State Street. It was fairly flat but very crowded (with over 1,000 runners).

pic from The Gazette

I quickly lost my friends and just weaved my way through the crowd.

pic from The Gazette

Soon, we turned and entered the Stockade (oldest) section of town.

Although it was chilly, I instantly warmed up and even felt overdressed.  I eventually took off my gloves and rolled up my DIY arm warmers.

photo by David Giacalone (2015)

After the Stockade area, we ran past Union College and around various residential neighborhoods. I also stopped at the first water stop even though I was not thirsty at all. (Yay for a walk break).

photo by David Giacalone (2015)

The hills were relentless. Why do I not remember them from previous years? Not rolling hills, just running up, it seemed.

I knew a lot of runners in this race. They kept catching up to me, we’d chat and then they would go on ahead. That was ok with me. I was determined to run at my own pace and have a stress-free race.

There was clock at the 5k point and I was surprised that I was under a 10 minute pace. However, I doubted that it would last.

Mile 3.1-6.2:

By mile 4, I was getting hungry. We were still circling the neighborhoods. There were lots of course marshals directing throughout the course and many enthusiastic spectators.

Images: Sunday's Stockade-athon 15k in Schenectady (44 photos) - The Daily Gazette

Eventually there was a second water stop.  No more cups!!!! They ran out!?  I almost brought a cup but we were told that we didn’t need to… grrrr!

Around mile 5, I finally decided to choke down my Gu (without any water).

pic from 2019

Around mile 6, we entered Central Park with its rolling hills, lake, and pretty foliage. More hills, of course, but not too bad.  The worst was yet to come.

Images: Sunday's Stockade-athon 15k in Schenectady (44 photos) - The Daily Gazette

pic from The Gazette

There was another clock at the 10K point.  I had slowed down but I was still happy with my conservative pace.

Mile 6.2-9.4:

Between mile 7 and 8 is where the BIG hills were. I walked up them for the most part. They were steep but at least short.

I believe there was a third water stop but I don’t remember exactly where.  And there were cups. Hooray!

We proceeded to run through the cemetery and then through a park before heading DOWNHILL to the finish line at city hall. At this point, Renee (who I ran this race with two years ago) caught up to me.  We chatted and then she zoomed ahead.  My legs were shot by now.

One of reasons I love this race is that finish.

Images: Sunday's Stockade-athon 15k in Schenectady (44 photos) - The Daily Gazette

pic from The Gazette

I ran as fast as I could but I had lost quite a bit of time at the water stops and the hills.

That’s Renee…I’m the green speck in the distance

photo by Bill Meehan

I crossed the finish line at 1:35:XX.

I admit that initially I was disappointed…5 minutes off a PR and one of my slowest times for this race.

But hey, I didn’t train and I wasn’t trying for a PR.  It was supposed to just be taper run for next Sunday’s half marathon.  (I know you all get it…)

Post Race Activities:

This year, instead of the food being inside at the YWCA, the same area as bag check and where we waited before the race, it was outside (another COVID restriction) and I was COLD!!  The sun had gone in and the wind had picked up. Brrrr.

One of my running friends was volunteering and she handed me a bag of goodies.

I also grabbed some chocolate milk and a cider donut. I checked the results (you just scanned a QR code with your phone). Awards would be mailed, I guess but I was not expecting one.

I was 7th in my AG

So I walked back toward the finish line to wait for Sherry. I watched many of my friends finish. Everyone was happy and especially grateful for the weather and to be racing again.

with El, fellow Skirt Sports ambassador

Sherry and I headed back to our cars. The others in our group did not run the race so we decided to skip brunch this year.

this would have to do as my post-race meal

Additional Race Reflections:

Sure, I’d love to have those speedier legs return. I’m not sure they ever will but I do not plan to stop racing because my finish times are slower. I loved seeing all those runners that I only chat with at races.  I love the racing atmosphere and the challenge it always brings.


  • Safety restrictions in place
  • Ample parking.
  • Well marked course.
  • Great running weather.
  • Lots of familiar faces.
  • Interesting course (through the historic part of the city, neighborhoods, park, cemetery).
  • Downhill finish.
  • Friendly and abundant number of volunteers.
  • Chocolate Milk.
  • Crowd support
  • Three real water stops
  • The electric atmosphere.
  • Virtual option.
  • Instant results
  • Free photos
  • Gender-specific shirt
  • A real race.


  • Hills during miles 7-8
  • Ran out of cups at 2nd water stop
  • Outdoor refreshments
  • No bag check

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. It’s a great way to see this city…a little bit of everything.  And if COVID ever goes away, it will be even more enjoyable. I would recommend that you train on hills. lol

Final Stats:

positive splits!!!

My Splits:

water stop, Gu stop 2 hills, another water stop = my walks

I really enjoyed this race. The course was so varied that it also took your mind off the hills. With the large number of runners (1000+), I felt like I was always running with others and it kept me going.

Yes, it was hilly. The first half had a lot more hills but they were manageable. The second half had fewer hills but they were steeper.

The best part of the race was that I didn’t put it all out there and I just enjoyed myself treating it like a taper run. And nothing really hurt during and after!!

This race is definitely on my must-do list. It was very well organized. Maybe all the stars will be aligned next year and I’ll get a faster finish time … or maybe not.

Next Up:

A Half Marathon on Nov. 21!!!


Happy Running! Did you race this past weekend or do any other running? Do you ever run 15ks? Do you like them? 






There is a link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies and you should too.

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

38 thoughts on “Stockade-athon 15K Race Recap

  1. I think you did great! That was a hilly race. You really didn’t slow down that much even though you walked some of the hills. How did that dry Gu go down? (Blech!). Congratulations and good luck on your half!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’d say for not racing this 15k and just hanging out with a thousand of your running friends, you did really well, Darlene!
    I also love racing and completely agree with you that you should not stop racing just because finishing times are slower. First of all, your times are quite speedy. In some races, you place 1st in your age group. And secondly, there’s that racing atmosphere and the excitement. Races are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a serious downhill at the finish (but well-earned after all the other steep hills prior). I’ve only done two15K’s, the Hot Chocolate with Deborah and another several years ago (that was on a 5K out & back that we had to repeat twice). I think it’s a nice distance because it’s not too long, but long enough that you have to pace yourself to avoid crashing/burning. A perfect taper run!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see you’ve already forgotten your amnesia and will be back next year! Enjoyed your report. (I wondered who that strange woman in the long black coat was, lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The older runners here are pretty fast. My disappointment lasted a minute. lol

      It is a perfect distance. At least for me. I’ll be thinking that this weekend at miles 10-13.


  5. Well done Darlene – love the way you wrote this recap – I felt as if I was right there with you and even felt the frustration of no cups! Best of luck in your Half Marathon today!

    I quite like 15K races although I only know of one race here that does that distance! The 15K I’m talking about actually takes you up a hill and then back down again so it’s a tough challenge but lots of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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