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The Swamp Rat Run

Start Your Summer off Right at The Swamp Rat Run

If you’re a seasoned athlete or just getting started, finding the will to workout indoors when the sun is brightly shining outdoors can be a rather daunting challenge.

fit-Coach-bFrom ballgames to backyard barbecues, the warm weather brings many activities that can lead to more eating and less exercise. Life is not a dress rehearsal, and for most of us, giving up a day of sunbathing at the beach or a sunny morning on the golf course to be cooped up inside our local health club, can be a real bummer.

When the temperature starts to rise there’s plenty of outdoor activities we can chose from to keep us motivated, moving and in shape all summer long. Whether we like long walks on the beach, kayaking, a friendly game of softball, throwing the Frisbee for our dog, or a competitive volleyball tournament with three of our closest friends, there’s something for all of us to do.

Over twenty years ago CNS track and cross country coach Richard Nastasi became the director of the Swamp Rat Run at Oneida Shores, Brewerton. What started out as just a few hundred people coming out to participate in the event quickly turned into over a thousand. Soon afterwards, everyone from local elementary schools to adults (from the beginner to the serious exercise enthusiast) were registering each year to be a part of the day.

Fast forward to 2015 and we are now quickly approaching the 36th ANNUAL SWAMP RAT RUN. What exactly is the Swamp Rat Run? It’s a local event where the competitive runner, someone just getting started, or a family looking for some good old fashioned active fun can run. The Swamp Rat Run at Oneida Shores on Saturday, June 20th has something for everyone! There is a boys and girls mile fun run, a 5k and a 10k.fit-Janina

For several years Champions Fitness Center has had a booth set up right in the middle of it all. This year, CrossFit Transformation and Kelly Lyn North Fitness (who has recently merged with Champions Fitness Center) will be there as well. Being at this event gives us the opportunity to meet and mingle with local residents of our community. We love to see all of these people having so much fun and getting their daily dose of exercise!

As a personal trainer at Champions Fitness Center for over seventeen years, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many people in the Syracuse area. A local event such as the Swamp Rat Run is great because it allows me to see so many familiar faces all in one place! It’s so exciting to see families, couples, that person doing their first race and the hardcore athlete all running together under the same roof (so to speak) having a great time.


There is always a huge turn out from the North Syracuse Central Schools with several hundred young runners (along with their parents) and volunteers from the district. The tradition of the North Syracuse School District elementary school to receive the district trophy for one year with the largest number of runners entered in the boys and girl’s mile fun run will continue.fit-runners

Spera’s (est. 1982) Meat-Deli-Groceries community involvement in this event does not go unrecognized! They are the main sponsor again this year. Mark Spera does a great job supplying subs for the 5k and 10k runners. Some of the other sponsors that will also be there on June 20th are Pepsi Beverages Company, Byrne Dairy, Lays, Fleet Feet Sports Syracuse, Onondaga County Parks, CNS, and the Syracuse Chargers Track Club.

fit-swamp-kidsTiming is done by former CNS runner and Swamp Rat Run director Pat Leone Junior. The instant timing provided by Leone Timing adds to the success of the race by having results displayed immediately for each of the races.

Lia Garnes takes amazing photos at all of the CNS track and cross country events and does a fantastic job capturing the day at the Swamp Rat Run! She also is in charge of the Swamp Rat Run Facebook page.

There are so many volunteers that make this event such a huge success. The many parents, athletes, cross country and track coaches of the North Syracuse School District spend several months organizing and planning for this occasion. They must be commended for their hard work and dedication! Gary Lopez, Recreation Supervisor, is also a huge help as well in organizing the parking and preparing Oneida Shores for the big day.

In Conclusion:fit-deborah

CALLING ALL RUNNERS!!! You can turn your day into fun and fitness! The 36th ANNUAL SWAMP RAT RUN is almost here. Saturday, June 20th, is the BIG day! Whether you are a competitive runner or just looking for some good old fashioned active family fun, Oneida Shores in Brewerton is the place to be! Don’t worry if you’re not a runner! You can still be a part of the event. Stop down, cheer on your fellow runners, check out the sponsors and say hello.

Let’s run have some fun and be fit this summer! Don’t waste too much time, register now online at http://www.swampratrun.com/

This article is dedicated to my father coach Richard Nastasi who was an avid runner himself for years. He has dedicated most of his life to coaching the CNS track and cross country team. He’s also helped organize and direct many of the Swamp Rat Runs. As a little girl, I couldn’t go anywhere with him without him pointing out a jogger running on the side of the road and saying “All right, a runner!” Dad, may you always find pleasure in the sight and athletic ability of a runner. May your love and passion for this sport never end. Get your running shoes out, tie them up and get to the starting line! “I want to run until I can’t run.” – Bill Rodgers

Did you or someone you know become noticeably healthier, stronger, leaner, and more physically fit from a new commitment to exercise? Go to Champions Fitness-Center on Facebook, request us as a friend and share your personal success story! Inspire others to get in shape! We want to hear all about it.

I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association. If you have a question and/or topic you would like me to discuss please e-mail me at isellgraphs@aol.com. If you would like to set up a free consultation with one of our certified fitness professionals please call Champions Fitness at 452-5522.

Photos in order of appearance: Coach Richard Nastasi, Janina Cosentino with daughter Gabriella Cosentino, runners at the Swamp Rat Run, Coach Jess Wood’s kids running team from CrossFit Transformation (located next door to Champions Fitness Center), Champions Fitness Center member/group fitness instructor Deborah Murray Saucier with friend Sharon Taylor Piepho. 

Jennifer Nastasi Guzelak
I have been a personal trainer for over seventeen years and I absolutely love what I do. I honestly feel that I have one of the best jobs out there! The most rewarding part of my profession is helping one of my clients succeed at reaching their personal fitness goals. Making a difference in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association.