Well, October 14, 2012 turned into a glorious day for running, with overcast skies and temperatures in the ’50s. Despite some overnight rain that slicked up the catwalks again, the ground was hard and fast, much to the dismay of those who enjoyed the 2011 mud fest.
While most race reports lead with the person first across the line, invariably male, we lead today with the women’s division. We lead that way because two women demolished the women’s course record of 1:39:31. Deanna Culbreath — who took top honors last year in her age group with a 1:47:34 — came screaming across the finish line with an incredible 1:31:39. Caroline Mullen, who would have won any of the four prior P2Ps, followed two minutes later with a 1:33:52. Shannon Sawyer took third in 1:40:55. All three women are from New York City.
Men’s winner Richard Marsico (1:23:26) of Mamaroneck covered himself in glory by taking top honors in the men’s field. He’d finished seventh overall last year with a 1:28:50 in the mud. He was followed out of the woods by P2P rookies Morgan Thompson of Long Island City (1:24:40), and Nicholas Pampena of Kings Park (1:26:51).
In addition to taking home our traditional, engraved metal tankards as awards, winners received hydration packs from Nathan, $50 gift certificates from Westchester Road Runner, an annual subscription to Trail Runner, and, as long as I’m the Race Director, our champions are comped in future Paine to Pain races. Age group 1-2-3 received engraved glass tankards, and many received hydration vests and handhelds from Nathan.
The day also saw its first ever slate of kid races, which took place while P2P was in progress. They were so much fun we hope to expand on them in the future.
All finishers (and kids and spectators) then proceeded to devour the great food and drink supplied by Fairway (food), Robek’s (fruit smoothies), Vita Coco (coconut water), PR*Bar (energy bars), Walgreens (water), and REI (energy gels and bars).
The day saw a record breaking crowd of 704 runners (692 finishers), with about 200 volunteers providing planning, logistics and support. The huge showing this year has firmly established Paine to Pain as one of the largest trail races in the nation. When the race started just four years ago, 50 people showed up to run and help inaugurate the new trail system. That growth has come almost entirely by word of mouth as runners spread the word of the new trail system’s existence. Reviews of this year’s race are at this link.
Now comes the part you’ve all been waiting for: Who gets the Race Director’s Prize? P2P vets know that this prize was created on a whim, the way any good prize should be, when Jillian Perrius turned a cartwheel down the home stretch in 2010 and was awarded a free ticket to 2011.
Last year that prize went to Kristin Iversen Koch, who flashed a big smile over bloody knees when I walked past her in the finish area. Killer. And this year?
One strong contender was Nina Steinberg, who ran her fifth consecutive P2P, an event for which she has already taken home four tankards (just missed this year) and volunteers on top of it all. That, my friends, is a tough act to follow.
Also in the running was John Mazzei, who attempted to run the race barefoot. Not barefoot style, mind you, but actually bare. He bailed out of that plan after a couple of miles on the Leatherstocking’s rocky terrain and slipped on the Vibrams Five Fingers he had for back-up. Does he get a prize for this? Well, the race started at the Thomas Paine Cottage, and Paine wrote “Common Sense,” and running barefoot over those trails …
The winner of this year’s Race Director’s Prize goes to Todd Esposito. His entry lists him as Henderson, Nevada, but he is currently living in Ukraine. He’s run this event before (2009), loved it, and decided to fly in Thursday from Kiev, see some family here, run the event Sunday, and fly back to Ukraine
on Monday Sunday afternoon.
If you told me four years ago that someone would fly in from Ukraine to run Paine to Pain, I would have asked what you were smoking. And now that it has happened, I want to know what Todd was smoking.
Our winner gets a rare comp to this race. How rare? I’ve paid the fee each year, as did my wife when she ran it two years ago. When the RD pays his own way, you know it’s gotta be special. All Todd has to do is pay his own way back from Ukraine. Or Nevada. Or wherever else business sends him next year.
Update: Todd Esposito responds, via email, re-printed with permission:
You guys are GREAT!!! THANK YOU Eric!!! However, I insist that I still get to make donations to the course!!!
Funny thing. I’ve ran this race twice. Both times I’ve seen runners in distress on the back 10km so I gave up my personal goal of running fast to help my fellow sufferers to finish the course (you’ll notice I’ve finished within 1-2 seconds twice of a fellow racer, not by chance). I’ve never had a chance to run my own race. With the Race Director’s Prize below, you guys give me the chance to do it next year. Good karma!!! High 5s all around!!!
Back in Kiev. Finished the race, had a quick sandwich from Fairway (GREAT post race tent), showered and jumped on a plane from JFK to Amsterdam to Kiev Sunday afternoon. NO rest for the wicked!!!
See you guys next year!!! Paine to Pain…to Kiev!!!
THANK YOU again!!!