“I’ve run many marathons in many places. I ran a marathon through the Black Forest in Germany. But there’s just something about [running at] the Arboretum. It’s a great place to run,” Dave Roy said.
Dave developed a passion for running early. While attending Cornell, he was asked to fill in on a cross country team, even though he was a soccer player by preference. After a successful season, he was encouraged to pursue running – and did. He ran his first marathon in 1976. Dave is one of the original members of the S’cary Leg Runners, whose mission is to develop a running community in Schoharie Country. Dave has passed on his love of the sport to his children. This spring he plans to run the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, OH, with his daughter Lori. Dave, Lori, and his son Stephen will all run the Hambletonian Marathon in New York’s Hudson Valley this fall. On Dave’s bucket list is the Humboldt Marathon through the Giant Redwoods of California.
Dave admitted a fondness for trail running – the runner’s “off road” race. Six years ago, he agreed to chair the Landis Perennial Forest 5K, now in its 11th season.
The Landis race is a rather unique event, according to Dave. Road races, he said, get all the attention, largely because distances can be accurately documented and records verified. They tend to draw a more competitive group of runners. A trail race, although competitive in that runners are motivated by placing or a notion of “personal best,” is a different kind of challenge, one rewarded by the sheer pleasure of running in natural surroundings on natural surfaces. Dave conveyed the exhilaration he feels when emerging from the woods into the open meadow near the Meeting House as the vista of the Schoharie Valley comes into view. “People don’t know what it’s like until they actually run … [the Landis 5K] and enjoy it .… [It takes place] in one of the most scenic counties around,” Dave said.
Dave and his wife Sherry both grew up in farm families and raise beef, sheep, and goats on their Schoharie farm. Dave’s other full-time job is with the seed division of Growmark. His responsibilities include research and plant breeding, as well as setting up variety trials in Eastern New York State. Dave has a degree in agronomy – his wife would say that he has “a degree in dirt,” Dave quipped. Sherry’s other full-time job is as a registered nurse for the Schoharie School District.
When Dave’s job occupied his time, Sherry took the kids to all sorts of events at the Arboretum: hunting frogs, hiking, and looking for owls – as well as classes in drawing from nature, tree identification, and beekeeping. Yes, star parties and, of course, the twice annual book and plant sales too.
Dave runs. Sherry doesn’t. But both have found a place in their busy schedules for the Arboretum.