To keep runners and volunteers safe this year by not hosting a large gathering, the Oak Tree Race went solo. Runners were asked to run the Oak Tree course between August 1st and September 8th and submit their times. This alternative, the Solo Oak Tree, format allowed runners to record a time for the course in 2020 and raise important funds for local land conservation work by Genesee Valley Conservancy.
No official course records or age group records could be set this year due to the lack of head-to-head completion, but the results show many runners stuck with their training plans despite the modifications to the event as evidenced by running personal best times for the course.
Oak Tree Half
Alexander Burks (Geneseo) successfully defended his 2019 Oak Tree title by running a 1:13:46 to retain his Oak Tree crown for another year. Behind Alex was John Schnitter (Geneseo) who ran a course personal best 1:19:43 improving from his 5th place finish in 2018 of 1:20:31. Close behind Schnitter in third place was Darren Schutt (Webster) who ran a 1:20:28.
On the female side, Lisa Bice (Churchville) captured her first Oak Tree Half Marathon victory by running a 1:45:58. Laura Francz (Webster) ran a 1:53:38. Rounding out the top three was Elizabeth Andersen (Rochester) who ran a 2:04:21.
There were 62 finishers in this year’s Oak Tree Half Marathon.
Oak Tree 5K
Experience led the way this year in the Oak Tree 5K as Evan Magnussen (Geneseo) won his third Oak Tree 5K title by running 17:49. Catherine Staley (Geneseo), also a past champion, won her third Oak Tree 5K by running a personal best 19:57, shaving off 3 seconds from her 2017 victory.
Behind Magnussen was Mike Nier (Rochester) who ran a 18:10. Catherine held off Alison Briggs (Commack) who ran a 21:14 and was the 2019 Oak Tree 5K winner.
There were 66 finishers in this year’s Oak Tree 5K.
Slowest Course Record Set
In what can only be acknowledged as a very particular set of circumstances, Annette Brenner and husband Stephen Strasser (Honeoye Falls) managed to record by far the slowest finish times for the Oak Tree Half Marathon in its 16-year history, with their finish of 10:03:25.
Just over a month past hip surgery and a week prior to another, Brenner was determined not to miss this year’s Oak Tree Half Marathon. Her streak of half marathon finishes was perfect, 15/15 coming into 2020. She was also the sole female with a perfect record.
With this year’s solo race, no course closure time was set, therefore there was no 3-hour cutoff to worry about. This rule change worked perfectly with her need to take extended breaks to sit and ice her hips in order to avoid overtaxing herself.
Their finish time included over 2 hours of ‘camping’ along the course (including reclining chairs and pizza). While this may seem an extreme, Strasser and Brenner have a long and deep connection with the Oak Tree Race. 10 years ago, the two were married on Oak Tree Weekend. Brenner running in her veil and the couple encouraging their wedding party to run the Oak Tree 5k or Half as part of the weekend’s festivities.
Brenner’s streak remains alive, she is the only female to have finished all 16 Oak Tree Half Marathons.
For the first time, due to the changed race format, runners had the ability to compete in both the Oak Tree Half and 5K races. A few took up this challenge to complete the double Oak Tree and train for the half and 5k race.
One female finished each course, Samantha Gibson (Dansville) finished both courses in a cumulative time of 4:05:54.
Six men finished both courses with Brian Wall (Geneseo) having the fastest cumulative finish time of 2:07:09.
Brenner, as previously mentioned, maintains her record as the only 100% female finisher at the Oak Tree Half. Not to be outdone, Jeff Matthews (Geneseo) finished the Solo Oak Tree this year to maintain his perfect streak. Matthews is also the only male to finish all 16 Oak Tree Half Marathons.
Jeff was joined this year by his entire family who completed the half marathon along his side, with a finish time of 4:05:00. Matthews’ son, Josh, has completed the half previously, for wife Julie and daughter Sydney this was their first Oak Tree Half finishes.
Tentatively, the Oak Tree Race is scheduled to be held in 2021 on Sunday September 5th.
For errors on the race results or any other issues/comments, please email Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org