(Binghamton, NY) The 33rd annual Chris Thater Memorial Races presented by SEFCU will be held the weekend of August 27-28 in Downtown Binghamton. The event is expected to attract more than 1,200 athletes and up to 5,000 spectators to Binghamton’s downtown business district. Held in memory of Christopher Thater, who was killed by a drunk driver, the event consists of public, amateur, and pro cycling events, a 5K Run, several youth races, a crossfit-style competition, and several health and wellness vendors.
“Our goals in holding the races downtown Binghamton are to increase awareness about the dangers of impaired driving amongst the 21-34 year old demographic, add more races and events, showcase the sponsors that make the event possible, and bring people downtown to see the progress being made in the City,” said Chris Marion, STOP-DWI program coordinator.
The action begins on Saturday morning with the Patrolman Lee Barta Challenge presented by GSR Crossfit at 8:30am followed by the first of 17 criterium races beginning at 10:30am. Saturday concludes with the USA Cycling Professional Road Tour women’s pro race at 6:00pm and men’s pro race at 8:00pm which will finish under a lighted course around the center of downtown Binghamton.
On Sunday, cycling racing begins at 8:30am with the women’s and men’s public races and ending with a second pro event for the both the women and men. The 5K run will take place between the cycling events and begin at 9:50am on the Court St bridge. The race will finish under the cycling start/finish line on State St. A free kids run will take place at 10:45am.
In order to ensure the safety of athletes, spectators, volunteers, and pedestrians, the city streets on and inside the course will be closed to traffic throughout the weekend. Free parking will be available at all downtown parking ramps throughout the weekend.
Race organizers have focused on improving ease of travel throughout the downtown area by increasing signage as well providing pedestrians crossings into the center of the course and increasing the number of safety personnel to direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Christopher Thater was a 23 year-old cycling enthusiast who was killed by a drunk driver in Broome County on October 16, 1983 near Harpursville, NY. In 1984, the Broome County STOP-DWI Program organized an annual bicycle race to remember Chris and to elevate public awareness of substance abuse and traffic safety.
5 Things to Know about the Chris Thater Memorial Races
“The Chris Thater Memorial is a world-class event that brings in athletes from all over the region and the world to compete here in downtown Binghamton,” says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “We’d like to thank the Broome County STOP DWI department for all of their hard work in spreading the message about the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as for putting together this great event. We’d also like to thank the community groups, volunteers and spectators who have been involved year after year, and our sponsors, including SEFCU, who help make this event as great as it can be. I can’t wait for the races this weekend.”
“We’re very excited about the race being in Downtown Binghamton and the new energy it brings,” said Mayor Richard C. David. “In addition to raising awareness regarding substance abuse and safe driving, this event brings thousands of visitors to our community, spurring economic activity and making our City truly come alive. Many thanks to the organizers, volunteers, sponsors and competitors who year after year help make this weekend a success.” - Mayor Richard C. David
“Over the past few decades, our society has become more aware of the consequences of drinking and driving and that’s in large part because of efforts of organizations like Broome County STOP-DWI,” said Michael J. Castellana, SEFCU president and CEO. “SEFCU is proud to support the Chris Thater Memorial Races and we believe that through wide-scale efforts like these we can help save lives.”
Established in 1934, SEFCU is now among the 50 largest credit unions in the U.S. with $3.2 billion in assets, more than 330,000 members, and 47 branches in the Capital Region, Binghamton, Syracuse, and Buffalo. In addition to full service retail and commercial banking products and services, SEFCU is committed to supporting the community through the donation of time and talent of its staff and members, as well as monetary contributions to help people and make an impact in the communities it serves.
Registration and event details for all events are available at www.ThaterMemorial.com
5K Run online pre-registration is available until 10:00am on Friday, August 26th. The cost is $25 without a shirt.
Day of registration is available near Boscov’s for $30 and shirts are available while supplies last for $10.
The Kids Run is free and runners 70 years of age and older also run for free.
Cycling day-of registration is available for all races in the MetroCenter. For a complete list of races and fees, visit ThaterMemorial.com
Athletes of all abilities will compete for over $3,500 in prizes in the USATF sanctioned 5K Run. The start and finish line is located on Court St and chip timing is provided by Leone Timing and Results. Prizes include gift certificates to several downtown restaurants, gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods, and tickets to Binghamton Senators games.
Prizes will be awarded to the top runners in the open and master divisions. Age group winners and every 50th place finisher will win either Dick’s Sporting Goods or Binghamton Senators gift certificates.
The women’s pro race will feature over 35 of the fastest sprinters in the US competing for a $12,000 purse. The field includes the following racers:
The men’s pro cycling race is expected to draw over 70 pros from across the globe competing for $12,000 in prize money in the “twilight” race. This year’s event will feature many of the top riders in the Men’s Professional Road Tour (PRT)including:
Patrolman Lee Barta Crossfit Challenge
The 2016 Barta Challenge is expected to be the largest Crossfit competition in the Southern Tier. With six workouts for each registered athlete, the event includes an “Rx Division” and a “Scaled Division” for both men and women. Competition standards and information are available on the GSR Crossfit website; www.GSRCrossfit.com
“It's an honor to have an event as well known as the Chris Thater Memorial Races incorporate an event named after my father. Keeping his legacy alive in the community he served has a special meaning that my family and I deeply appreciate,” said Lee Barta’s oldest son Dan Barta.
“The death of a police officer in the line of duty is always felt deeply in the community. Holding events to honor a dedicated professional who sacrificed his life for the community promotes unity, community involvement, and positive interactions among its members. This competition, will serve as a great way to honor the person Lee was by highlighting two of his passions: fitness and community,” said Greg Rollo, owner of GSR Crossfit.
For more information about the Chris Thater Memorial or Broome County’s STOP-DWI Program please visit: www.ThaterMemorial.com or search Chris Thater Memorial Races on Facebook.