There were 499 finishers in the 14th Oak Tree Half Marathon and 5K that took place in Geneseo on September 2, 2018. The event, which benefits the Genesee Valley Conservancy, raised nearly $20,000 to support the land conservation efforts of the non-profit which has active projects in nine towns and three counties within the Genesee River watershed. The organization currently protects over 16,600 acres of important habitat, public access lands, and productive farmland.
This year marks the 14th running of the Oak Tree race in Geneseo, NY.
Half Marathon - Males
Top-seeded Tim Chichester (Hornell, NY) ran away with the Oak Tree Half Marathon to capture his third Oak Tree title after taking a quick lead at the gun. He never had to look back, winning by 3 minutes and 35 seconds. Chichester ran a 1:10:53 which was the 4th fastest time ever run on the course and good for a new 30-34 age group course record, previously set in 2007 at 1:14:12. This gives Chichester his second age-group course record. He is only 1 of 2 males that have achieved the feat; Tim Dwyer (Rochester, NY) holds three age group records in the half marathon. Dwyer finished 12th overall this year with his 1:29:40 and placed first in the 55-59 year old age group, missing his own age-group record by just 24 seconds. Chichester was the only male to set an age group course record. In second place, Kenny Goodfellow (Oakmont, PA) improved upon his 2016 victory time of 1:15:21, running a 1:14:28, an improvement of 53 seconds on an already impressive time. The podium was rounded out by first-timer Alexander Burks (Geneseo, NY). For Burks, the roads are familiar, having run for SUNY Geneseo during his time in college. Now graduated, the Oak Tree was Burks first half marathon.
Only one male has accomplished the feat of finishing every Oak Tree half marathon, 14 in total. Jeff Matthews finished 67th overall with a time of 1:57:03. As a Geneseo resident, he took part that inaugural year and hasn't missed one yet. The top ten men finished under 1:30:00 and two went under 1:15:00.
Half Marathon - Females
Oak Tree first timer, Melissa Johnson-White, placed 9th overall and was this year's female winner in a time of 1:24:41. Johnson-White's time was also good for a new age-group course record, taking five minutes and 22 seconds off the 35-39 age group record previously set in 2013 at 1:30:03. She last raced in Geneseo when she was a student at SUNY Geneseo and was the DIII 5k national indoor champion. The race was not easy for Johnson-White, Sarah Danner, also a first timer at the Oak Tree, took an early lead at the start of the race. The two women would trade the lead several times throughout the race. Around mile 10, Johnson-White managed to regain the lead and create separation as she climbed the familiar Nations Road hill. Danner placed 11th overall and 2nd female, just 1 minute and 15 seconds off of the winning time. Danner was accompanied by her sister in the half marathon. The race had special meaning for the sisters, as their mother, Katherine Aldridge, set the Oak Tree course record in 2008 which remains the fastest female time to-date. The course record is 1:23:39. Johnson-White was the only female to set an age group course record. Lynn Gottfried (Penfield, NY) finished in 1:42:11 to take the third place female and 22nd overall.
Only one female has accomplished the feat of finishing every Oak Tree half marathon, 14 in total. Annettee Brenner finished in a time of 3:43:49 and placed 247th overall. The top 4 women finished under 1:45:00 with two going under 1:26:00.
5K - Males
The male race was nearly a mirror image of the half marathon, with Steven Haagsma taking an early lead and running away from the pack with his first steps. Haagsma (Buffalo, NY) finished in 16:38 to win his first appearance at the Oak Tree. In second place, Josh Harter (Avon, NY) finished in 17:43. Harter previously won the Oak Tree 5k in 2014. In third place, Dj Mullen (Leicester, NY) finished in 18:06.
The course record for the 5k is held by Geneseo's own Bobby Henchen (2011) at 15:49.00
5K - Females
The female race also had similarities to the half marathon. Eleven year old Catherine Staley (Geneseo, NY) won her second consecutive Oak Tree title with a time of 21:17, but it wasn't without a sustained effort. Staley had to pull off to the side within the first half mile, coming to a stop and watching as teammates Addy Capel (Geneseo, NY) and Mallory Rice (Geneseo, NY) took over the lead. After the short pause, Staley was back on the course and in the second mile of the race was able to re-gain the lead and put distance between herself and Capel and Rice. Capel finished 2nd female and Rice finished 4th female, just 5 seconds behind Melissa Senall (Fairport, NY) who won the 2014 and 2015 Oak Trees and placed second in 2016 and 2017.
A tremendous community effort is needed to put on a race of this size every year. Although there were dozen of individuals helping throughout the weekend, including the efforts of the Oak Tree Race Committee that works on the event year-round, a few notable groups that helped were the SUNY Geneseo Ice Hockey Team, Women's Basketball Team, Men and Women's Cross Country Teams, and members of the Delta Phi Epsilon service organization. Members of the Geneseo Central School Cross Country Team volunteered with setup and cleanup, while also participating in the 5k.
Volunteers help with preparations and cleanup, and throughout the race road-marshalling the streets, handing out water to runners, and keeping the food tent stocked all morning.
For errors on the race results or any other issues/comments, please email Ben at email@example.com