Have you heard the news about the Voorheesville Running and Cycling Club?

To the Editor:

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since we formally merged the organizational teams of the Voorheesville Memorial Day Races and the Voorheesville Family Bicycling Day into a not-for-profit now known as the Voorheesville Running and Cycling Club.  

Thinking back, it actually all started in 1976 as the village of Voorheesville was planning for its annual Memorial Day Celebration on our nation's bicentennial. Then-Mayor Bill Wenzel asked me about the potential for including some type of foot race as part of the day’s events.

Well, not only did we add a 15-kilometer race that year, we’ve kept racing ever since. Along the way, we added a 3.2-kilometer loop and children’s dashes allowing for participation across all ages and skills. 

We had a two-year gap due to a pandemic, but otherwise we’ve run on hot days, cold days, windy days, wet days, really wet days, and just perfect days!

Of course the Voorheesville Running and Cycling Club is about much more than running. It’s about community, community events, and community access.

Back when I was a member of the Albany County Legislature, maybe around 2006, I proposed the idea of using the old D&H rail corridor for a public access rail trail — a dream for many of us since it was being abandoned by Canadian Pacific. Believe it or not, the motion to pursue this endeavor was unanimously passed by the legislature.

It took several years but eventually we were able to make that dream become a reality beginning in 2010. What started out in 2011 as a gravel path on a portion of the 9-mile corridor is now a well maintained asphalt path with guard rails, parking, signage, and more that connects Voorheesville to the city of Albany.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll see an ever expanding network of sidewalks providing for safer recreational opportunities and easier pedestrian access to points around town.

In 2016, upon returning to Voorheesville from Portland, Kevin Relyea approached the village about having a festival on a closed street. He and a community group of bicycling and recreational enthusiasts proceeded to launch the first Voorheesville Family Bicycling Day.

This event, located on Grove Street at the start of the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, has become a tradition of fun where bicycling on the closed road and rail trail is mixed with arts and crafts, pony rides, bike tune-ups, food, music, and more!

With the common interests of the hundreds of volunteers who have contributed to putting on these two individual events over the years, it seemed logical to merge the teams into the Voorheesville Running and Cycling Club. Our ongoing mission will be to encourage and foster running, cycling, and other sports in or near the town of New Scotland.

I am heartened by the dedicated volunteers in our community who continue to make this a great place to live and I commend the business sponsors that have donated so generously to the Voorheesville Running and Cycling Club this year. It’s a tribute to the Voorheesville community to see that this year’s sponsors range from one of the oldest companies to one of the newest companies (see a list of sponsors at www.vrcclub.org).  

We hope to see you at the 2023 Memorial Day Races on Saturday, May 27, and at Voorheesville Family Bicycling Day on Sunday, June 4. Event details may be found at www.vrcclub.org. In closing, this Memorial Day, I ask that you be thankful, volunteer and contribute where you can, enjoy, and celebrate safely.   

See you there.

Herbert W. Reilly Jr.


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