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EYE ON EDUCATION: Learning to fly ... in sneakers and snow

LPCS coaches create 5K run/walk series to benefit xc running teams

January 12, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid modified and varsity cross country running teams will host a series of 5K runs/walks, starting later this month and ending in mid-April.

There's the Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk on Thanksgiving and the Jingle Bell Run around Mirror Lake just before Christmas, but fun runs in the dead of winter are uncommon in the Adirondacks, according to Mel Frazer, Lake Placid varsity cross country coach and Lake Placid Elementary School psychologist.

"We tried to think of something different that people around here would be into," Frazer said. "The runs are usually around the lake, and we didn't want to do that because people already do that, and that's where we came up with the Slippery Slope. We thought a series would be fun doing four of them."

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The Slippery Slope series of 5K runs/walks will run through the winter and into the spring with four races on Saturdays - Jan. 20, Feb. 10, March 10 and April 14. For those new to run/walk events, 5 kilometers translates to 3.1 miles.

Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. each day in the Lake Placid High School gym, and the races start at 10 a.m.

The first race was supposed to run last weekend on Jan. 6, but the temperatures and winds were too cold with some places in the Tri-Lakes area reaching 40 degrees below zero with the wind chill.

"I had some people saying to me, 'Oh really, your canceling it? Why?'" Frazer said. "'Because I don't even want to go outside and yell go.'"

Despite the delay, Frazer said people are still dedicated to participating in the first 5K.

"A family from New Jersey signed up," she said, "and they've already switched their hotel and told us they'd be running on the 20th."

All four events will follow the same course: Start on School Street, right on Main, right on McKinley, left on Mill Pond Drive, right on Sentinel, right on Station, left on Trillium, right on Hurley, straight onto Summer, left on Newman, left on Sentinel, back to the High School.

People can register for the events online at The cost is $25 each race. For $80, participants can save money by preregistering for all four races. Pre-registered runners will also receive special Slippery Slope winter hats. People can also register at the school before each race.

Frazer and modified coach Hailey Fremante said they're hoping to raise between $4,000 and $5,000 with the series.

All the proceeds will go toward funding the cross country teams' trip in October to the Disney Cross Country Classic in Orlando, Florida. Each athlete needs about $1,100 to cover his or her travel, board and registration expenses.

Frazer said a few years ago when the teams went to the Disney meet, the students had to pay for their plane tickets, which can get expensive on Columbus Day Weekend. Despite those costs, Frazer said Disney makes it affordable to travel with a team. Plus, the meet opens up some opportunities for the athletes.

"I was amazed at how many students it was their first time flying," she said, "first time going to Disney World, first time traveling like that. It helps grow their independence."

Traveling to a large race such as the Disney Classic where students from all over the country compete can calm anxieties for future races, according to Frazer.

"It's nice to bring them places where there's more competition," she said. "When you race completely different schools, it makes it so it's not as nerve wracking to race all the Section VII schools."

Not that the current team is too anxious, with the boys winning the Section VII New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships this past fall.

The Slippery Slope is not the only fundraiser the teams have planned for 2018. They will also host a silent auction and pasta dinner March 14, a dodgeball tournament April 21, a golf tournament sometime in the spring, a running camp for young athletes throughout July and their annual RUNathon Sept. 19.

This year marks Frazer's 11th year coaching cross country. At first, the boys and girls teams were just a handful of kids, not even enough for an official team.

"I didn't have full teams [when I first started]," she said. "A full team is seven. I had three of four boys and just a couple of girls."

She's seen the teams grow from a few energetic runners to a solid group of student athletes who pass their enthusiasm for cross country on to their younger siblings.

"Two years ago, my team won the state champions," Frazer said. "If I asked them if they wanted to go to Manhattan Invitational, which is like a big really tough competition or Walt Disney World, they would've picked Manhattan in a second. The team I have now, they're still a top team, but they'd much rather go to Disney World."



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