Niagara Falls Reporter
Home | Archive / Search
MAY 19 - MAY 26, 2015

Dreadful 5K Race Features Carbon Monoxide, Gay Slur, Politician

By James Hufnagel

May 26, 2015

Last year's Run for the Rapids route was a sanctioned 5k race, but this year the distance was shortened without telling anybody, resulting in fake finish times.


Reporter correspondent Jim Hufnagel crosses the finish line in the Run for the Rapids.

Sam Granieri is an avid long distance runner.

This summer's first 5K race through downtown didn't get off on the right foot.

In fact, we would go so far as to say neither the city nor the Downtown Niagara Falls Business Association, which sponsored the race, put its best foot forward.

The 7th annual "Run for the Rapids" was held last Saturday in downtown Niagara Falls, and not only were runners forced to inhale traffic exhaust along much of the route, but they may also have been under the mistaken impression that they were participating in a sanctioned race that was 5 kilometers in distance. There is evidence that the race course through downtown was, in fact, shorter than 5K, causing the posted times for the grueling distance run to be meaningless, fooling runners as to their actual performance.

5K races (a few yards short of 3.11 miles) are exceedingly popular in Western New York and across the nation. 5K is generally considered the shortest of the distance competitions. Runners participate for a variety of reasons: to get outside, stay in shape, camaraderie, and a feeling of accomplishment at the finish line.

The web site is a handy way to measure a 5K route. Like most mapping programs available on the internet, you enter a street address and are presented with a map of the immediate area. MapMyRun provides the distance over road segments as a cursor is traced over the intended route.

Regarding last Saturday's Run for the Rapids race, while MapMyRun shouldn't be considered completely precise, it came up with 3.05 miles, or 4.9K. That's a difference of 106 yards, sufficient to shave as much as 25 seconds off the time of an average runner. But there are reasons to believe the route may have been much shorter.

Instead of a checkered flag, this writer, a participant in the Run for the Rapids, sensed a red flag at the finish line on Third Street due to the fact that the large digital timing device flashed a time more than a minute faster than his previous personal best. A momentary elation immediately turned to skepticism. Even lacking some kind of hi-tech gadget pinioned to the arm to measure pace and progress, a runner can sense during the race how it's going.
There were no exceptional premonitions during this one.

Likewise, other runners' times are cause for suspicion.

On April 18, city councilman Andrew Touma finished the Envirun 5K along the Niagara Gorge in 27:23. He completed the Run for the Rapids in 25:19, improving by over two minutes in less than a month. That doesn't often happen.

City Attorney Craig Johnson posted 32:23 for the Envirun, a very respectable time for the 60-64 age group, but not anywhere near his blistering 30:38 last Saturday, besting his time by nearly two minutes. Exceedingly unlikely.

Former Niagara County Legislator Sam Granieri completed the gorge run in 32:05. He finished Run for the Rapids in 30:12, two minutes better than previous finishes. There were other runners who posted ridiculously faster times for Run for the Rapids as compared to the previous race.

An experienced 5K runner beating one's personal best by more than a minute is like driving to work in Buffalo for many years and then one day somehow, inexplicably, arriving a half an hour early.

Was it indifference on the part of race sponsors that the advertised distance was inaccurate, or a conspiracy to popularize the race by juicing finishing times, in an era where self-esteem is all-important and everybody walks off with a trophy or a medal?

One thing identical about both races, however, was that Mayor Paul Dyster welcomed participants by apologizing profusely for any inconvenience suffered by those who came from Buffalo having to drive here circumventing south Robert Moses Parkway construction. At least, half apology and half plug for the upgraded highway, and already congested traffic circle that will continue to hinder waterfront access and serve to convey tourists directly into Niagara Falls State Park, a result of his "compromise" with state agencies.

"How many here today came in from Buffalo?" queried the Mayor of the fidgeting athletes before the starting gun went off, and a half dozen desultory hands went up. In fact, according to the roster, of the 92 runners present, 8 were from Buffalo. Actually 12, if you count the four from Cheektowaga.

During the race one unidentified runner was heard complaining to his companion, "Don't they stop traffic here?" Sure enough, while intersections were blocked, the traffic in oncoming lanes on both Rainbow Blvd and Niagara Street, mere feet from the runners, was bumper to bumper.

Finally, this participant's name was misspelled "Hufagel" in the final race results. Stay classy, DNFBA.





Briglio's Seeking to Succeed Brochey
As Next Lewiston Town Supervisor
Brochey Won’t Seek Second Term; Cites Family in Las Vegas Reason for Departure
A Tricky Plan Devised by Kimball, Motorola, Helps County Pull a Fast One on Lewiston, North Tonawanda
To Achieve Success, New Intermodal Transportation Center Must Be More Than Train Station
No Lease Between Amtrak, City May Mean Future Surprises for Train Station
Mayor’s Cricket Plan Hands Little League a Sticky Wicket; Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie and… Cricket
Will Beard and Mustache Competitors
Seek Accommodations at Hyde Park?
Enough Already,
The Name's Too Long
Collapsed House Puts Spotlight on Mysterious Isaiah 61
Dreadful 5K Race Features Carbon
Monoxide, Gay Slur, Politician
Candidate Szwedo Urging Residents to Get Out, Vote
Only in NT: Word on the Street And Rumors in the Wind
Quinn’s Rambling ECC Message Has No Silver Bullets
Memorial Medical Center, Women & Children’s Hospital Partner To Enhance Labor and Delivery Services in Niagara
Global Warming Revisited
Memorial Day Parade, Banner, Promotes Dyster Candidacy
Woods May be Done, But He Has Made His Mark
City Hall Jokes

Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina