As part of an early morning fitness class at the Downtown Syracuse YMCA, a small group of people started to jog around a few city blocks. As their fitness improved, distance was added to these daily runs. As part of their route, they added some parks in Syracuse, many of which featured some of the highest points in the city. Special shirts were created claiming these individuals as “Mountain Goats.”
In June of 1978, 25 people decided to run four city parks during the same run, covering a distance of 17.5 miles. All those who completed the run received a special ribbon recognizing them as “Super Goats.”
YMCA Director Walt Price created an official race in 1979 called the “Fun to Run Classic,” which started in Columbus Circle. A demanding 10 mile course was created that tested runners and provided a true sense of accomplishment for all those who finished.
The initial Mountain Goat featured a 3000 meter race and the 10-mile Mountain Goat. Jeff Wells, winner of the 1977 Honolulu Marathon, was the first winner of the Mountain Goat in 50 minutes and 12 seconds.
Over the years, may top ranked national runners have tackled the Mountain Goat. Joan Benoit, Benji Durden, Jeff Galloway, Jerry Lawson, Michelle LaFleur, Tom Carter, Kevin Collins and Deb Springer are all past winners of the Mountain Goat.
Multiple Mountain Goat Champions include: Salome Kosgei (2), Patti Ford (2), Patty Wiegand (2), Marian Teitsch (2), Mary Seybold (2), Deb Springer (2), Brian Clark (2), Larry Woods (2), Max King (2), Michelle LaFluer (3), Kevin Collins (4), course record-holder Maegan Krifchin (4), and the King of the Mountain Goat, course record-holder Jerry Lawson (7).