Incorporated in 1892 as the village of Lestershire, in 1916 it was renamed Johnson City in honor of George F. Johnson , who led the company that was known as Endicott Johnson (Home of the Square Deal).
After a 25 year absence “Pops on the River” returned last evening to Binghamton, NY. You couldn’t have asked for better weather in order to celebrate a triumphant return. With low humidity, temperatures around 78 degrees under cloudless skies.
I have been living in Binghamton for 24 years and have not had the opportunity to witness this event. To be honest I was 23 when I moved here with my interests more in beer, women and Rock N’ Roll. So I probably wouldn’t have went anyway. Times and tastes change a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love Rock N’ Roll!! When I heard “Pops on the River” was returning I was extremely excited and could not wait to attend. I had seen pictures, read stories from years past of crowds approaching 50,000. Last nights event didn’t come close to that number but I would say several thousand lined the riverwalk, the Court Street bridge and rooftops. However the images of past did show a very large crowd on the water in all sorts of watercraft.
My wife, son Max and I decided to paddle our kayaks and canoe a short distance down the Chenango river to take in the show from the water. Arriving at the launch there were about a dozen or so cars parked who had the same idea as us. The current was mild which made for a real nice paddle and we were setup right before showtime which was 8PM.
There were many kayaks, canoes and homemade watercraft as well. There was even a pirate ship. However the custom float complete with drunk guys right next to us the entire evening were very entertaining. They were fixated on pillaging a later from that pirate ship I mentioned. During the Binghamton Philharmonic’s final score of “Pirates of the Caribbean” one jumped in the water and swam over to try and acquire a lantern. It didn’t go so well, but again was extremely entertaining. As a matter of fact one of those drunk guys tried to help my son Max get his kayak unstuck from a rock once we were leaving, only to flip him over. It was hysterical!
The music was wonderful. My wife and I enjoyed it very much and Max I know he enjoyed it because he plays in his high school band and loves the music as well.
The evening was capped off with an amazing fireworks show and sitting in the river we had front row seats. Hopefully Pops on the River will return again in 2019!
The firework show was 10 minutes long and spectacular so please watch the video, cheers!
The Parade Day Mile wasn’t as cold as last year however the wind definitely made up for it. Coming off a foot injury that had me sidelined for a month I was really happy with my time. Official race results had me second place in the “Open Race” with a 6:24. I’m excited just to be back running!
As expected this was a really fun event and enjoyed the beer and food afterwards with some great friends. However I did miss not running this race with my son. Here is to hoping we will do it together next year!
I’m sure by now you are pretty tired of hearing about me paddling Nanticoke lake. I’ve written about it many times before and shared many images from my adventures there as well. However as I race against Mother Nature in my final attempts to keep my paddling season going I ventured to none other than Nanticoke lake this morning.
I arrived under darkness, exiting my car peering upward towards the heavens. The unpolluted night sky was alive with the moon, stars, clouds and I believe Venus. I rubbed my hands together with excitement and commented to my friend Don “I think we have the makings of a beautiful sunrise”. Don whole heartily agreed and we carried our canoes to the lake. The narrow beam from my headlamp pierced the darkness and I could feel the the damp grass beneath my feet with every step.
Don and I set out to watch the show as our paddles dipped in and out of the water whispering an elegant song. As we sat in the middle of the lake the cloud cover began to thicken and I said to Don “I think we’re going to get skunked on our sunrise”. Don laughed, shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t think so. I placed my paddle in the water, turned my canoe in order to investigate a playful beaver who was splashing a little closer to the shore. All of a sudden I could see the skies reflection in the water turn to pink, orange and blue. Another dip of the paddle, my canoe turned and I was laying witness to a blazing fire in the sky.
I finally have a few moments to sit down and reflect on this years Seneca 7 relay race. A 77.7 mile circumnavigation of beautiful Seneca lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This years field consisted of 319 teams equaling 2,233 runners.
This year we had an unexpected short notice injury to team member Jordan Varano. Jordan reluctantly had to bail out a week prior to the race. However friend Juan Martinez answered the call and I cannot thank Juan enough for stepping up and taking Jordan’s spot on short notice. Juan was a perfect fit for our team!
Our team “Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire” had some pretty stiff competition in the “Renegade 7” another all male team from Binghamton, NY who would go onto win the event placing first overall. They completed the course in 7:34:02 setting a new course record. The “Cayuga 7” a mixed team from Ithaca, NY finished first place mixed, second place overall with a course time of 7:40:40. Our team placed second male and third place overall with a time of 7:53:40 a 12 minute PR from last year with an average pace of 6:04 per mile.
During last years Seneca 7 we formed a friendship with Tom and Carrie Thompson owners of Bottomless Brewing in Geneva. Tom and Carrie were gracious enough to sponsor our team for this years event. Not only do they brew some really great beer but they add that extra special to this great running community we have. I love to run but what I love even more is the people and friendships running has graced my life with and that is always a winning combination.
And lastly I was overwhelmed with pride at the sheer volume of runners from the Triple Cities area in which we live and who I call friends.
Reaching to silence my alarm it was time for my Sunday long run. A quick check of the weather and I said forget it. I just wasn’t feeling it and longed to go back to bed. As I pulled the covers up I noticed the the days light peeking from behind the shades of our bedroom. I got backup and peered out the window and thought to myself this might be one heck of a sunrise. I quickly threw on some clothes, grabbed my cameras and was in the car. The windshield completely frosted over I was driving down the road with my head hung out the window just like a dog.
My initial thought was to head over to Hospital Hill in Binghamton and photograph downtown Binghamton as the sunlight illuminated it. I took a few sample images and was not thrilled. I wandered around the old buildings and noticed the light slowly creeping up over the tire tracks frozen in a dusting of snow near “The Castle” and immediately knew that this would be my shot. I fluttered around looking for my vision, patiently waiting for Mother Nature to set up her easel and begin to paint.
Jack Frost was nipping at more than my nose at this point, realizing I had left my parka in the car. No time to go back and get it as the show was about to start. The soft glow of red and orange highlighted the exterior while the widows appeared illuminated as if there was life inside this lifeless soul.
This past weekend my friend Tom Hanselman and I ran the Halloween 13K & Relay right here in Endicott as team Hanselween 2016. This was our second year running this race and it has quickly become a favorite of ours. For starters this race is right in our backyard so to speak. The cost is inexpensive, the fleece jacket this year is awesome and the candy corn on the cake is all the costumes the runners came up with. I just love all the effort that was put into this race. For me personally I try to find something easy to run in. The movie Dodgeball so happens to be a favorite of mine and I found an “Average Joe’s gym costume and hit the pavement running. Tom brought back his Yukon Cornelius costume minus the “Stache” due to technical problems…
Tom and I would finish 2nd place in the relay with a time of 54:57 besting last years performance by 21 seconds. Time and place aside this was a fun time and we are already talking about next year.
A huge thank you to the race director, volunteers, Police and everyone else that made this race a success, Happy Running!