32nd Annual Chris Thater Memorial Races Coming to Downtown Binghamton

(Binghamton, NY) The 32nd annual Chris Thater Memorial Races presented by SEFCU will be held the weekend of August 22-23 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 moving the race to 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 10:00 followed by the first of 18 cycling events beginning at 10:30am. Saturday concludes with the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar 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 again at 8:30am with the men’s and women’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 at the cycling start/finish line on State St. A free kids run will take place at 10:45am near.

Pre-registration for both the cycling and 5K races is still open and day-of registration will be available as well. Organizers encourage people to pre-register to save themselves time and money as the cost to register increases the day of the race.

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. For 2015, organizers have focused on improving ease of travel throughout the downtown area by increasing detour signage as well as the number of pedestrians crossing into the center of the course and increasing the number of safety personnel to direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic.



“This is a world class event that brings athletes and spectators to downtown Binghamton, but it also teaches a valuable lesson about the dangers of drinking and driving.  We want to thank all the organizers, sponsors, community groups, and spectators that are involved. Broome County is incredibly proud to host this event and we are delighted to have the support of SEFCU and all of the sponsors who make this event happen every year,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.

“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

"While there is still much work to be done to educate people about the danger of drinking and driving, great strides have been made, especially in Broome County," said Michael J. Castellana, SEFCU president and CEO. "SEFCU is proud to support the efforts of Broome County STOP-DWI and the Chris Thater Races once again this year and we believe through major events like this we will increase the momentum to finally stop DWI once and for all."

Established in 1934, today SEFCU is among the 50 largest credit unions in the U.S. with $3 billion in assets, over 320,000 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 details for all events are available at www.ThaterMemorial.com

5K Run online pre-registration is available until Noon on August 21st. The cost is $20 without a shirt and $28 with a shirt through the end of the day on August 14th. After the 14th, prices increase by $5. 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 pre-registration closes at the end of the day on August 19th. Day-of registration is available for all races in the MetroCenter. For a complete list of races and fees, visit ThaterMemorial.com


5K Run

Athletes of all abilities will compete for over $5,000 in cash and prizes in the USATF sanctioned 5K Run. The new start and finish line is located on Court St and chip timing is provided by Leone Timing and Results. Runners can now register in a mixed-gender team as well as individually.

Prizes will be awarded to the top runners in the open and master divisions as well as the new mixed-gender division. 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:

  • 2010 champ Samantha Schneider riding for ISCorp who is the current USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC) points leader
  • 2013 Chris Thater Memorial champ Erica Allar of Team Colavita who is currently 2nd in the NCC standings
  • 4-timeThater champion (’92, ’02, ’06, ’12) Laura Van Gilder of Mellow Mushroom.
  • 3-time champ (’03, ’05, ’08) Tina Pic riding for Pepper Palace (3rd in NCC standings)

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 National Criterium Calendar (NCC) including:

  • Returning 2014 champion Adrian Hegyvary riding for UnitedHealcare Pro Cycling
  • 2-time Thater champ (’06, ’08) Hilton Clarke riding for UnitedHealthcare who is currently 1st in the NCC points standings
  • 2-time champ (’07, ’12) Kyle Wamsley riding for Team Skyline
  • 2013 Thater winner Luke Keough from UnitedHealthcare
  • Ryan Aitcheson- 3rd in NCC standings riding for Astellas Cycling
  • Karl Menzies- 4th in NCC standings for UnitedHealthcare


Patrolman Lee Barta Crossfit Challenge

The 2015 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

2015 marks twenty years since the death of Police Officer Lee Barta, who was killed in the line of duty. He served his country for four years in the United States Marine Corps.  After serving his country he returned to his home town, Binghamton, NY, to serve as a police officer for a community he loved. From an early age, Lee understood the importance of staying fit. Lee was an athlete who excelled in sports at the high school and collegiate level and chose careers which demanded a high level of physical fitness.

“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.


Christopher Thater

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. Over the years, the event has become one of Broome County’s showcase events and one of the premier cycling and running races in North America.

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.


08/18/2015 - 11:50am