Originally posted in 2013, this page was updated 05/15/2019.
We expect a lot of runners due to the unique nature of the course, its popularity and its proximity to NYC. These are the steps we take to limit trail congestion for the first few miles:
We will not start all of you at the same time, since we want you to race the trail if you want, not just fun-run it. That option should be yours.
Putting together an old fashioned foot race through the woods that logistically works is more important to us than the cool t-shirts, medals, kid races and tasty food we also like to provide.
Chip timing allows us to start runners in multiple waves — we used two waves in 2011, four waves in 2012-2014 and will use five waves in the forseable future.
Your time in other races assists us in the seeding and is one of the factors in your wave assignment. It’s in your best interest to be accurate to avoid much faster runners squeezing past you on the twisty, rocky single track that comprises much of the first half of the race.
But it isn’t just your time that is important, because placing all of the 9-minute milers into one group won’t solve the crowding issue. Our mission is to break up the mid-pack bulge with runners filling the gaps between the waves.
Early sign-up is another factor in wave placement.
We aim for each wave to have 150-200 runners. Since you start with a 1/2 mile uphill on Broadview Avenue, and won’t hit the trail to mile 0.75, this will effectively string folks out so long as we don’t overload a wave with too many identically paced runners.
So the real speedsters will start in the first wave, since the overall 1-2-3 awards are based on crossing the finish line first. (Age group awards are by chip-timing). And the most casual of our fun-runners will be in the final wave. But the bulk of the runners will be distributed between the middle waves.
Our overlapping wave algorithm will place a 9:00 min/m pace runner, for instance, in one of two possible waves that we will send off every few minutes. The waves will be based on the road half marathon paces below if you don’t have a Paine to Pain finish in the last four years (adjusted to trail pace, with 10K pace adjusted to trail half pace if you only provide that).
Wave 1: Below 8:00
Wave 2: 7:11-8:55
Wave 3: 8:01-9:50
Wave 4: 8:56-10:45
Wave 5: Over 11:34
With this system we will still have plenty of passing, but it will be gradual and we’ll avoid having 7:30/min milers trying to fly past 10:00/min milers on single track. That could be ugly.
Check out this chart of how waves work, from the NYC Marathon.
Wave jumping – You’re not allowed to jump forward a wave, as this can lead to disqualification. (Since you are wearing a timing chip, this is easy for us to figure out). You can, however, go to a later wave if you want to run with a friend or if you screw up your timing for the porto-o-potties.
The ultimate objective is to give runners the same small-race, small-town feel that we’ve had in the past, but allow more people to participate. We get great reviews each year, and we damn well intend to get them again. Your medal won’t mean jack if you didn’t have fun.
Below are some important instructions to follow in order to ensure your chip “reads” and you get an accurate time.:
- The timing chip is on your bib.
- The race bib must be clearly visible on the FRONT of the torso (Photographers on the course and at the finish line serve as our back-up)
- The race bib is unaltered and unmodified (Do not fold or wrinkle or you risk breaking the chip)
- The race bib is pinned in all four corners
- The race bib is not covered (jackets, runner belts, water bottles, etc.)
We hope our runners have fun, get dirty and sweaty, and finish exhausted and smiling.