Breaking the ice

Albany Rowing Center to hold 5K race by land and sea

For Capital District runners, the arrival of fair weather means racing season is officially on. But there is one upcoming 5K that's unlike any other on the schedule.

In an intriguing twist on the traditional 5K race, on Saturday, March 26, at the Albany Rowing Center's Ice Breaker Challenge runners will race against ARC rowers and boats from other groups making their way down the Hudson.

It's the first time the group has done the event, but if it's successful, they hope there will be many more to both signal the start of the rowing season and raise money for the program. The rowing center has about 50 junior rowers in its program from school districts all over the area that don't have rowing teams of their own.

Albany Rowing Center, it attracts Bethlehem, Voorheesville, Guilderland, there's a lot of kids from Columbia on the team, said Board of Directors President Kathy Johnston. "That's a nice thing because the students really get to know students from other districts."

There are also programs of varying levels for adult rowers.

Though participants pay for membership in the ARC, organizers also aim to raise money a few times a year, and they hope the Ice Breaker will be a boon for the club. Already, more than 150 runners have signed up, and registration will be available up to the day of the race.

Combining running with rowing is an element that sets the race apart from other races in the area.

"I'm a long-distance runner, I've run for 35 years, so I figured why not combine what I know, with what the kids know," Johnston said.

There had been some worry about whether the river would be ready for boating by race day, but an abrupt break from winter weather means ARC rowers have already been on the water for more than a week now.

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