Think Allison Carr is fast? You should see her 3-year-old son, Gary, who is about as tough to catch as mom.
"He ran in the Buffalo Mile," Carr said. "He also likes to play hockey and football -- anything that involves smashing into things. He's everywhere."
Chasing Gary apparently paid off once again for Allison, who defended her title in 2005 as The Buffalo News Runner of the Year. The West Seneca athlete had a relatively easy time winning the competition, building up a big lead and mathematically clinching the title with a race to spare.
The trophy is the latest sign that Carr made a good decision to continue to run after finishing college. She ran for East Aurora High School and then competed for Canisius College and Penn State University. Carr usually was one of the top two or three finishers on the Nittany Lions' cross country team and also was on the track team.
"I had a decent couple of years," she said. "I went through three coaches in three years. We had Beth Alford Sullivan come in from Stanford at the end. She was an assistant coach for many years. She's still there now."
Carr ran the best races of her life in her final track meet for Penn State. Instead of providing satisfaction about peaking at the right time, the performances made her think, "What if?"
"Some people don't have any motivation after college," she said. "I think what kept me going (in running after graduation) was that I wasn't happy. I thought I could do better. I wasn't disappointed (in my times), but when I ran my last meet I (set personal records) in the 800 and 1,500, and the two races were an hour apart. . . . After seeing that slight improvement, I wondered, how much more can I do?"
Carr moved back to the area, and took a break to have a child.
"I started back running after the baby," she said. "I said, maybe I'll try this and see how I do. I ran 4 miles a day. At the most, I'll go 25 miles a week. I'll take some time off on the weekend. I never wanted to do too much. I was on the side of being cautious.
"I went out with very little practice the first couple of races. I surprise myself every time."
It's no surprise when the 27-year-old Carr wins these days. She dominated the shorter distances in 2005, winning seven races in the series, including five 5Ks.
"Allison is definitely the most dominant runner at the middle distances on the local scene," said Amy Fakterowitz of Williamsville, who finished fifth in the overall competition. "I know we aren't supposed to think this way as runners, but when she is on the starting line, most of the rest of us are racing for second place."
Carr, who works at the Developmental Center in West Seneca, doesn't run the longer distances, and she has no plans to do so.
"A 10K is the farthest I've ever gone," she said. "People say, you'll love the marathon. Maybe down the road I'll try it, but for now it's not a thing I want to get myself into.
"I never thought I was a distance runner. It sort of happened. I'd like to find shorter distance track races. I ran in the Boston High Performance Series in the 800 (finishing fourth in 2:10:34 in the USA Track and Field event). After that, I said, 'What else can I can do?' I'm going to start focusing on my training now. I'm really going to clamp down in the next year and do some indoor and outdoor races."
* Henry Sypniewski of Cheektowaga has added to his hardware collection. Sypniewski recently was named one of the USATF's outstanding athletes for 2005, as he was one of two victors in the 85-89 category.
Sypniewski ran a 29:37 in September's Cozumel Grill Nickel City 5K Run. That's a record for an 87-year-old man. He sends his appreciation to local race directors who submitted his times to the USATF, so that he could win his fifth national honor.
* Interestingly enough, the people who won the most races in 2005 weren't the overall runners of the year. Dan Grande took 10 different local races last year, twice as many as any other male runner, and he did it all in less than five months.
On the women's side, Elizabeth Schulz was one better than Grande in taking 11 races. She had one stretch in September and October in which she won a race a weekend for four straight weeks.
* Rochester's Norm Frank recently passed a milestone when he ran his 900th marathon. Let's repeat that -- 900 marathons. The 74-year-old Frank once ran in a marathon a month for 216 straight months (18 years), and has run at least one in all 50 states. His goal: 1,000 marathons.
* Resolution Run, 5K, Village Glen and Tennis Center, 162 Mill St., Williamsville, noon today, 633-1635.
* Penguin Run, 5K, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst, 11 a.m., Jan. 29, 941-3064.