Familiar Faces Set to Compete for Masters Title at June 3 Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany, N.Y.

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ALBANY, N.Y. (May 24, 2017)Melody Fairchild, 43, (Boulder, Colo.), will be seeking to earn her third masters title when she headlines another impressive over-40 field at the 39th Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K on Saturday, June 3 in Albany, N.Y.

Fairchild, who tasted victory here in both 2014 (17:13) and 2015 (17:34), is a strong favorite on the event’s Washington Avenue course which starts and finishes adjacent to the New York State Capitol and directly in front of Albany City Hall. Despite taking off much of last year for the birth of her son, Fairchild breezed past the competition to take the masters title at February’s USATF Cross-Country Championships in Bend, OR.

Fairchild’s path to the podium won’t be unimpeded, however. She’ll face tough resistance in the form of Jen Rhines, 43, who represented the U.S. Olympic team in Sydney in 2000 (10,000 meters), Athens in 2004 (marathon) and in Beijing in 2008 (5,000 meters). A standout at Liverpool, N.Y. High School and Villanova University, where she won five individual Division I national titles, Rhines now lives and trains in Boston. She has continued her rich vein of form by winning the masters category at this year’s Bay to Breakers 12K, Bloomsday Run 12K, BAA 5K and Cooper River Bridge Run 10K.

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Other serious contenders in this competitive division are 2016 Freihofer’s Run for Women masters champion Marisa Sutera Strange of Pleasant Valley, N.Y. (17:41) who earned 2015 National Masters 5K Championship accolades at Syracuse’s Festival of Races. The special education P.E. teacher was 3rd at the USATF Masters 8K Championships and has been in the top three the past two years at the Freihofer’s Run for Women. Sheri Piers (Falmouth, ME), Freihofer’s Run for Women masters runner-up in 2014 (17:42) and 3rd in 2016 (17:49) is also expected to be in the mix. Sheri won the event’s mother/daughter competition last year with daughter, Karley.

“We are really excited by the depth of the masters field this year,” said Freihofer’s Run for Women Co-Director Tim Shepard, noting that the event’s largest age group in 2016 was 50-54 followed by 45-49. “Our largest age group — masters runners — will be led by a very competitive masters field from around the nation.”

Event organizers have also received commitments from:

  • Sara Dunham, 41, of Plattsburgh, N.Y., who joined the masters division last fall and finished 3rd in the over 40 division at the 2016 Tufts Health Plan 10K and 1st at the 2016 Erie Marathon at Presque Isle.
  • Christy Peterson, 42, (Chicago, Ill.), our 2nd master in 2015 (17:48), whose recent notable results include 4th 40-44 Age Group 2017 Gate River Run 15K, 3rd Master 2017 Broad Street Run 10M and 3rd 2017 Hartshore Elite Masters Mile.
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  • Joan Benoit Samuelson, 60, (Freeport, ME), the first woman to win Olympic gold in the marathon and a two-time Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon winner. Samuelson will join nine other elite runners in the event’s popular Athlete School Visitation Program. Through the program, now in its 24th year, athletes visit 18 area elementary and middle schools to talk about healthy eating and exercise habits, goal setting, their training and travel schedules, as well as trips to the Olympic games and other world championships.
  • Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, 57, (Austin, TX), a longtime fan favorite whose accolades include 5th 2015 World Cross-Country Masters 8K Championships (Lyon, France), 1st 55-59 age group 2015 National Masters 5K Championship and 1st in the 55-59 age group at the 2015 National Master's 12K Championship.
  • Mary Pardi, 47, (Falmouth, ME), an accomplished and experienced marathoner, who was 1st 45-49 Age Group 2015 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K and 2nd Master 2016 NYC Half Marathon.
  • Edie Stevenson, 68, (Boulder, Colo.), a standout runner whose focus on good form and smart workouts has allowed her to capture five straight age-group wins at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, post a 1:34:57 (93 percent age-graded) half marathon at age 63, and become the 2017 8K USATF women’s 65+ national champion.
  • Libby James, 80, (Fort Collins, Colo.), USATF’s Masters 2015 LDR Road Runner of the Year, who finished 1st 80+ Age Group 2016 USATF Masters 5K Championships and 1st 80+ Age Group 2016 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K.

For more information about the 39th annual Freihofer’s® Run for Women, 30th annual Kids’ Run and 7th annual Freihofer’s® Junior 3K Run, visit freihofersrun.com. From the home page, you can also link to the event's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Event sponsors/media partners include the Charles Freihofer Baking Company, Price Chopper Supermarkets, The City of Albany and 99.5 The River.

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Freihofer's®, a leading baker of delicious products, is committed to fostering the growth and recognition of women in sports and inspiring all generations of women to experience the benefits of exercise and nutritious eating. Freihofer's continues to set the pace by sponsoring the annual Freihofer's Run for Women 5K. Now in its 39th year, the event is home to the Master's World Best & U.S. All-Comers record of 15:48 set in 2004 by Colleen DeReuck and features thousands of women from recreational joggers to Olympians who challenge themselves on the picturesque 3.1-mile course. For more information, visit freihofersrun.com.

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