We are proud to be part of the rich history that the Classic experience has brought to our community over the years. Below, check out the summary of Classic races from years gone by. After you look through this, let us know if YOU have any special memories or photos that you would like us to include. Please forward them to us in an email to [email protected]!
1985—Temperatures reach the mid-80’s and take a toll on the field. Pat Porter and Cindy Girard reach the finish line first.
1986—Porter repeats, holding off Kingston High standout Charlie Bevier. Denise Herman of Saratoga wins the women’s race as runners again deal with rain.
1987—Dick Vincent takes charge of the race after Bob Bright ends his run. Appearance money for elite runners is gone and so are the elite runners. Albany’s Steve Kogo and Kathy Brandell-Champagne dominate on the newly configured course.
1988—Kogo and Brandell-Champagne are repeat champions, Brandell-Champagne missing her course record by 4.1 seconds.
1989—Despite a light snowfall early in the morning which later turned to drizzle, 990 runners finish. Dominic Colose of Albany wins the men’s race, while Lisa Vaill becomes the first area woman to win since Lori Wood.
1990—For the first time, the entries surpass 1,000. Vincent tweaks the course again, eliminating a loop in uptown Kingston with numerous turns. Brent Barnhill of Pennsylvania wins the men’s race, finishing in 29:42.8, while Vaill repeats as the women’s champion.
1991—In sweltering 82-degree heat, Mike Nahom of Connecticut outlasts Itamar DaSilva, while Lori Hewig wins her first women’s title with Vaill training in Florida for the 1992 Olympic Games.
1992—A record number of registrants (1,395) and finishers (1,246) highlight the race. Hewig becomes the third women’s repeat champ in 35:14.5.
Tijani Rahoumi (30:00.3) is the men’s winner, defeating fellow Moroccan Khalid Kairouani by three seconds. Doug Tumen and Charlie Lawrence take over as co-race directors.
1993—L’houssine Siba, Moroccan native and Kingston resident, becomes the first area winner in the men’s race. He runs a sizzling time of 29:39.1. Vaill wins the women’s race and becomes the first three-time winner.
1994—Siba, not favored, uses a tremendous kick to hold off Paul Mbugua in a time of 29:11.9. Hewig matches Vaill with her third win.
1995—After Siba falters, Mbugua beats Bouazza Abidi with a winning time of 29:16.9. Amy Herold-Russom upsets the women’s division, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Vaill. The new course, mostly flat, proves popular.
1996—Hewig wins her unprecedented fourth title, setting the women’s race record of 33:38.6. On the men’s side, it was Siba over Mbugua, as Siba becomes the first three-time winner for the men.
For the first time, the race is run on the last Sunday in April in an effort to combat weather extremes.
1997—Mbugua comes close to breaking the race record with a time of 28:55 in the controversial finish with Siba. With Hewig sidelined by injury, the women’s field was wide open and Christine Sisting emerged with the victory. It is Fran Palmieri’s first year as race director, succeeding Tumen and Lawrence.
1998—Mbugua captures his third title and second in a row, finishing in 29:39 in a soaking rain. While runners and spectators are drenched, 806 runners and 66 five-kilometer walkers finish the race.
Siba, who was training in his homeland of Morocco, could not get back in time to compete. Milka Jepchirchir of Irvington, wife of third-place men’s finisher Elijah Kitur, takes the women’s race, holding off Sisting and Vaill.
1999—As Mbugua hoped for his fourth Classic title, Elijah Kitur outkicked the three-time winner and Paul Mwangi in the final half mile to win in 29:32. Mbugua clocked a time of 29:38, while Mwangi finished in 29:41 for the tightest three-way finish in the race’s history.Kitur’s wife, Milka Jepchirchir, won the women’s race (34:59) for the second consecutive year, making it a clean sweep for the Kenyan runners. Zophia Wieciorkowska took second place in 35:49.
The race featured 987 entrants, many waiting until Sunday to commit, and 879 finishers. Palmieri later announces he would step down as race director.
2000—With the continuation of the race in jeopardy due to lack of a race director, George Regan and Andrew McCoy of USA Track and Field step in to oversee the race. After months of discussion, the race course is changed again, this one an “out-and-back” route traveling mainly on Hurley Avenue. In the race itself, Mbugua becomes the first four-time winner among male runners, holding off fellow Kenyan Ben Kimondiu by one second. Wieciorkowska turns the tables on Jepchirchir in the women’s race, beating the defending champion by more than one minute.
Numbers-wise, 676 enter the race with 626 finishing to mark the lowest turnout in 14 years.
2001—Regan directs his second consecutive race, won by first-timers Amos Gitagama and Lucia Subano, both Kenyans who now live in Philadelphia. Mbugua finishes a distant second in the men’s race, denied his fifth title, while defending women’s champ, Wieciorkowska, is a no-show. Race time temperatures top 80 degrees for the first time in 10 years.
Numbers are down once again as 643 register and only 556 finish.
2002—Dick Vincent takes over when Regan decides to step down just two months before race day. Mike Mamo, an Ethiopian native living in Westchester wins the men’s race in 30:27, winning by a significant margin over Mbugua. Marisa Hanson is the women’s champ in 36:14, holding off Lisa Vaill in the final strides on the track at Dietz. Despite entry forms getting out late, 648 runners register and 580 finish.
2003—Moroccan Olympian Khattarbi Elarbi wins easily in the men’s race as Mbugua is a no-show. Elarbi distances himself from the field to win in the fastest time on the Hurley Ave. course in 29:48, more than a minute ahead of Jamie Rodriguez. Hanson repeats as the women’s champion, the fifth woman to win multiple titles, holding off Emily Bryans in 37:04. Numbers are similar to 2002 with 656 registrants and 584 finishers.
2004—Kenyan native Paul Mwangi breezes to victory in the men’s race, finishing in 30:46 ahead of Pennsylvania resident Rich Byrne. Onteora High graduate Brandee Boice takes the women’s race in 36:34, only the third local winner in the race’s history, ahead of Emily Bryans of Schenectady who finishes second again. There were 631 entrants and 559 finishers.
2005—2003 champion Elarbi returns and dominates the field again to win in 30:23. Albany’s Nick Conway is second in 30:46 and Ryan Pauling from Rochester is third. Argentinian Claudia Camargo breezes by two former Classic women’s champs, Marisa Hanson and Zofia Wieciorkowska, for her first title in 35:57. Final numbers show 619 registrants and 549 finishers.
2006—The silver anniversary of the Classic is dominated by two young Ethiopian runners as 19-year old Woorku Beyi wins the men’s race in 30:28 and Aziza Aliyu, 20, takes the women’s race in 35:21. Beyi is the second youngest winner in the race’s history. The Classic also enjoys its largest field in seven years as there are 709 entrants and 623 finishers.
2007—Deniboba Derese from Ethiopia holds off Kenyan Joseph Ekoum by eight seconds to win the men’s race in 30:08. In the women’s race, the past two champions face off and it is 2005 winner Claudia Camargo finishing in 34:13, ahead of defending champ Aziza Aliyu. There were 622 entrants and 541 finishers, the lowest number to cross the finish line in 21 years.
2008—It’s a record-setting day as Kenyan native Richard Kiplagat breaks the 24-year-old course record in winning the the men’s race. Kiplagat scorches the route in a time of 28:49, shaving 1.4 seconds off the previous best by Greg Meyer in 1984. Nicholas Kamakay, Kiplagat’s countryman, finishes second in 28:53. Angelina Mukutu, also from Kenyan, wins the women’s race in 34:44, beating 2006 champion Aziza Aliyu in the final strides on the Dietz track. The race has new lows in entrants (514) and finishers (463).
2009—In one of the hottest Classics in recent years (83 degrees), Joseph Ekoum and Emily Chelanga capture the men’s and women’s races, respectively. Ekoum finished in 31:01, while Chelanga finished in 37:50. The heat likely kept many runners away as only 491 registered and 418 crossed the finish line. First-year director Jan Pollo moved the race to a new course that included streets in uptown Kingston and part of the out-and-back Hurley Ave. route.