Runners gear up for the 2016 Mountain Goat

Race to include a relay as part of the 10-mile course

CLAY (WSYR-TV) - One of the biggest and toughest races on the calendar for Syracuse runners is the Mountain Goat Run.

This year’s race is set for 10:15 a.m. Sunday, May 1.

It welcomes more than 3,000 runners, with some taking part in the inaugural relay for the 10-mile race.

No matter how many miles a runner logs — the Mountain Goat is different. It’s an uphill battle both ways.

For some runners, the Goat is a “bucket list” race, but for many local runners, it’s a part of their annual traditions.

56-year-old Eric Neubauer has toed the line at the Goat once before, but last year’s hilly and very hot race didn’t go as planned.

“I was actually about three quarters of the way up Colvin and Letizia and the Band, was playing ‘Staying Alive.’” Neubauer said. “That’s about all I remember, so I’m probably going to take that a little bit more cautiously this year.”

Neubauer was one of more than 60 runners unable to finish last year’s race due to the heat.

On top of the heat, Neubauer says he made a “race day mistake” and tried some energy jelly beans that he’s never had before. This year, he says he’s ready for whatever race day holds.

“Looking at your nutrition, your hydration — things like that to make sure you’re ready to go and to not set your expectations too high,” Neubauer shared.

Fleet Feet’s Mandy Howard has been training runners for weeks to be race-ready for The Goat.

“Fortunately, though, the weather was great for the winter,” said Howard, Fleet Feet’s Training Coordinator. “We did do a lot of training runs in 60-degree temperatures and then some others ones that were freezing. I feel like my group is really prepared for this race.”

While runners shouldn’t change up too much of their routine so close to race day, Howard says many Goat runners have been stopping in to find some outerwear for Sunday.

“It was supposed to be like 60 degrees and now it’s going to be 40 or something with rain, 90 percent,” Howard said. “I’m sure everyone’s in there freaking out right now about jackets.”

No matter the season, Howard says Syracuse runners are a special breed.

“We just have this crazy, insane group of tough runners in Syracuse,” Howard shared.

“If you look at the half marathon and what we ran in that, and then gong to the spring race with a ton of hills and an elevation change that would intimidate most people,” Howard said. “I just think it’s typical of our runners. We don’t stop. We train all year-round and we’re up for challenges.”

For a full list of road closures and traffic alerts for Sunday’s race, click here.

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