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Runner Amy Fakterowitz masters the national competition

Amy Fakterowitz has long been one of the best runners in Western New York.

This year, the 51-year-old from Williamsville wanted to see how she stacked up against the best in the country in her age group. The answer? Pretty darn well.

Fakterowitz finished the USA Track and Field Masters Grand Prix series with a third-place finish in her age group at the 1 Mile Road Championships in Flint, Mich.,on Aug. 23. She ran the mile in 5 minutes and 37 seconds.

“The race way exceeded my expectations,” Fakterowitz said. “It was the last race for me in the Masters Grand Prix Series. I had run this mile last year and had not done as well as I had hoped, so I wanted to redeem myself.

“I knew I had to run with the front of the pack and just hold on. These are the fastest masters in the country and I knew they would drag me to a fast time. I ended up 17 seconds faster than last year and still was only third in my age group. Definitely humbling.”

The bronze follows up wins at two other races in the series. She won her age group at the Cross Country Championships in February in Tallahassee, Fla. (with a time of 25:24) and the Masters 8K in March in Virginia Beach (with a time of 32:02).

“Participating in the Masters Grand Prix this year ranks as one of the highlights of my career,” she said. “It pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowed me travel all over the country, and had me racing against the very best. I’ve always wondered how I stacked up outside of Western New York. It was an amazing experience.”

Inside Western New York, she’s having another solid year with seven age-group wins, including being the overall female winner at the Timon Tiger Trot 5K (20:25). Her other age-group wins have come at St. Gregory The Great Great Race (5K, 19:34), Shoes for the Shelter (5K, 19:38), Checkers Muller Mile (5:44), Shamrock Run (8K, 32:55), Seneca Street Mile (5:55), and the Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club 10K (44:18).

All the world’s a stage

The arts and athletics come together on Sept. 15 when runners will wind through a 5K course in downtown Buffalo, ending at Shea’s Buffalo Theater.

What used to be known as the Shea’s Run for the Arts 5K was renamed last year as the Shea’s Annual Bill Crooker Memorial 5K Run and Mona Arida Fun Walk to honor two longtime volunteers who passed away.

The event is in its 28th year and while Shea’s is involved, it’s the Spotlight Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers, who steer the race.

“The spotlight committee is an independent organization and they do all kinds of things for Shea’s,” said Hannah Alt, encore events manager for Shea’s Performing Arts Center. “If you come to a show, you can see them selling concessions or champagne. The race proceeds go into a fund they have to help support special projects. In the past, they’ve helped with buying a new grand drape and contributed to some of our bathroom remodeling.”

This year’s race will continue with some additions that came last year, including awarding tickets to winners. For the second year, there will also be a costume contest encouraging runners to dress up as their favorite character from a Broadway show. Last year’s costume winners dressed as characters from Frozen and The Sound of Music.

It’s an opportunity for runners to mix with the theater and a unique way to start the upcoming theater season.

“We always hold the race in September, which is right around the kick off of theater season,” Alt said. “The shows are all starting to open downtown and people are ready to come to the theater. It’s a good time. There are lots of races still happening in September. This is a way to put us out there in the community at the start of our season and bring new faces down to Shea’s. It’s a very family-friendly event. A lot of kids run it. People bring families to it. You get young people here, too, who might not have been to Shea’s.”

Race Calendar

Wednesday, Sept. 11

  • Scrub Run, 5K, 6:45 p.m., Cazenovia Park

Friday, Sept. 13

  • NCCC Alumni Association's 5K Run, 6:30 p.m., Niagara County Community College, Sanborn

Saturday, Sept. 14

  • Connors Wiener Run 5K, 10 a.m., Connor's Hot Dog Stand, Evans
  • NDA Notre Dame Academy Fun Run, 2 miles, 11 a.m., Notre Dame Academy, Abbott Road
  • KMR Night Ops, 5 miles, 7:15 p.m., Buffalo Hill Village Campground, 1629 Route 20A, Varysburg

Sunday, Sept. 15

  • Seneca Nation of Indians Fall Festival and Color Runs, 5K, 10K, 10 a.m., Seneca Nation of Indians, Saylor Community Building, 12861 Route 438, Irving
  • Shea's 28th Annual Bill Crooker Memorial 5K, 11:30 a.m., 646 Main St.

Saturday, Sept. 21

  • Hospice Dash 5K, 9 a.m., Porter On The Lake, Youngstown
  • Mighty Niagara Half Marathon, 9 a.m., Artpark, Lewiston
  • Williamsville Oktoberfest 5K Follow The Lederhosen, 11 a.m., Island Park, Williamsville
  • Sponge Candy 5K, 3:30 p.m., Platters Chocolate Factory, Wurlitzer Building, 980 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda

Friday, Sept. 27

  • Lancer 5K, 6 p.m., St. Mary's High School, 142 Laverack Ave., Lancaster
  • Ryan Purcell Memorial, 5K, 6:30 p.m., South Buffalo Knights of Columbus, 261 South Legion Drive

Saturday, Sept. 28

  • 5 KAC Challenge, 5K, 8:15 a.m., Kenmore Alliance Church, 175 Bonnett Ave., Tonawanda
  • PurpleStride WNY, 5K, 9 a.m., Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Gaston St.
  • Step Up For Kids, 5K, 10 a.m., Cassadaga Beach Park, Park Ave.
  • Medina Mud Run and OCR, 5K OCR, 10:30 a.m., Sacred Heart Club, 189 N Gravel Rd., Medina
  • Queen City Architecture Run, 3.5 miles, 10 a.m., Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, 76 Pearl St.
  • Aspire in Motion 5K, 10 a.m., Aspire WNY, 2356 North Forest Road, Getzville
  • Tanya's Trot for Epilepsy, 5k, 2 p.m., Veterans Park (Buell Street at Skyline Drive), Akron




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