Thater Memorial Races Bring Excitement to Downtown for 2014

Event moving to a twilight format with evening cycling and 5K races

(Binghamton, NY) After nearly 25 years on the West Side of Binghamton, the Chris Thater Memorial Races are moving back to downtown Binghamton.

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston teamed up with Binghamton Mayor Rich David, Broome County STOP DWI Coordinator Chris Marion and SEFCU to announce details for this year’s Thater Memorial Races and Outdoor Expo.
The races, which will be held August 23rd and 24th, will run through downtown Binghamton, where it was last held in 1989.  This year’s event is expected to attract more than 1,200 athletes and up to 5,000 spectators.
“The Chris Thater Memorial Races bring hundreds of world class athletes to our community,” says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “We want to showcase our downtown area, and moving the races there and to the evening will bring thousands of people to our businesses and restaurants there.”
“Moving the race downtown will provide a new dynamic to a very popular City event,” says Binghamton Mayor Rich David.  “We want to make the race as fun and safe as possible for the athletes and the spectators.  We are in the process of creating a brand new course and there will be some upgrades to the course over the spring and the summer so it will look a lot different than it does today.”
The event will also move to a “twilight” format with the National Criterium Calendar and USA Crits Series pro men’s and women’s cycling races to be held Saturday evening along with the 5K event held simultaneously.
While Recreation Park has been home to the races since 1990, the Broome County STOP-DWI Program is moving the event downtown to enhance the visibility of the races and increase awareness about the message behind the event.
“Our goal is to educate the public on the deadly consequences of impaired driving, especially when it comes to pedestrians and cyclists,” said Chris Marion, Broome County STOP-DWI Program coordinator. “By moving this event downtown and running the pro events and 5K in the evening, we hope to draw in the younger demographic who make up a majority of DWI-related crashes.”
SEFCU has signed on to be the title sponsor of this year’s event.
"The Chris Thater Memorial Races do a tremendous job of raising the awareness of the danger of drinking and driving and providing the education and resources necessary to discourage people from getting behind the wheel when they are intoxicated," said Michael J. Castellana, SEFCU president and CEO. "SEFCU is proud to be part of this event as the races celebrate their 31st anniversary and move to a new downtown location," he added.
“I’m so proud of the organizers, sponsors, community groups, and spectators that have been involved with making this a world class event that brings athletes from across our region and the world to compete right here in Greater Binghamton. Broome County is proud to host this event and is delighted to have the support of SEFCU and all of the sponsors who make this event happen every year,” Preston says.
The action begins on Saturday morning with several cycling races held during the day and ending with the USA Cycling Pro Women’s race at 6:00 p.m. and the Men’s Pro at 8:00 p.m. The Outdoor Expo will be held on Court St. between State St. and Water St. and is being organized by Plan Ahead Events.
On Saturday evening athletes of all abilities will be competing for over $5,000 in cash and prizes in the Chris Thater Memorial 5K. One major change is that the 5K will focus on rewarding local runners. 2014 will feature team registration of 3 or more runners, as well as a couple’s category and prizes for several age categories. Online registration will open later this year.
Christopher Thater was a 23 year-old cycling enthusiast who was killed by a drunk driver in Broome County on October 16, 1983. In 1984, the Broome County STOP-DWI Program started 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. August 23-24, 2014 marks the 31st year of the event.
This free event is made possible by dozens of sponsors including Premier Sponsor, SEFCU. Established in 1934, today SEFCU is among the 50 largest credit unions in the U.S. with more than $2.7 billion in assets, over 300,000 members, and 46 branches in the Capital Region, Binghamton, Syracuse, and Buffalo.
For more information about the Chris Thater Memorial or Broome County’s STOP-DWI Program please visit: or search Chris Thater Memorial Races on Facebook.
02/25/2014 - 4:07pm