Over the years I’ve often noted that I didn’t name this race the Cupcake Classic. There’s a reason for that.
I tip my colonial tricorn hat to those that braved the trail on our Yankee Doodle Sunday. This was not a day for course records (nobody came close) or personal ones. It was a day simply to test your inner strength and bring it home to the finish. That was one hard-earned medal.
A big part of being out there in such conditions is that people have the opportunity to remove themselves from the deadening impact of our increasingly interconnected electronic society and return the mind and body to its most basic roots. Using the mind and body like that makes you feel alive.
In fact, it’s the very reason I’ve always started this race with drawn-out, unamplified yells and musket shots. It is consistent not only with our colonial roots but a desire to take a moment to gather the mind as we return ourselves to one of our primal activities – running over the dirt and through the forests. To paraphrase John Muir, we are in the woods, and the woods are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.
May you all be able to savor the experience.
Now in case you were wondering what type of drama was taking place at the front of the race while you were sweating buckets elsewhere in that dirt (and some mud, it appears), it was this: The top three men finished within one minute of each other.
Breaking the tape was newcomer Arnaud Enjalbert of Manhattan in 1:23:22 on the musket, an extraordinary pace of 6:22/mile when you think about the heat and humidity and that this was his virgin P2P. Following him to the finish was course record holder Steve Crnic of Brooklyn (1:24:12), followed just 10 seconds later by another Brooklyn newcomer, Erik Reitinger (1:24:22).
On the women’s side, we also had a newcomer break the tape, Kelsey Luoma of Brooklyn (1:35:55 on the musket). Or at least she would have broken the tape if she hadn’t run behind me as I was holding it. It seems that NewRo Runners’ own Russell Cruz (men’s 50-59 champ) was dueling it out with Kelsey as they furiously sprinted down the stretch. Kelsey the Competitor was focused on Russell not the tape.
According to Russel, as he made the turn off the street to the school grounds, he didn’t see her, and he started to celebrate before crossing the finish line. Kelsey was simply too powerful and strong when he realized it and finished with her ferocious kick.
Following were Laura Morrison of Wallingford, CT (1:36:57) and Morgan Lingar of Manhattan (1:38:26). Morgan repeated her third place finish from 2016.
By virtue of winning, Kelsey and Arnaud come back as my guest to all future P2Ps, for as long as I remain race director.
There are, by the way, thousands of free hi-res pictures from the race similar to what you see here, even if none of them have you breaking (or missing) the tape.
There were many people and companies that made this event possible, and they deserve a shout-out before I get to the Race Director’s Prize. We can start with our volunteers who worked tirelessly to plan and execute this day. They will get their own special posting.
We couldn’t put on an event like this without sponsors, including Westchester Road Runner, where hundreds of runners claimed their bibs before the race. They’ve been a sponsor every year since our inception.
There was New Rochelle Chevrolet again, with pace cars leading waves, and food back at the track. Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital staffed the finish line medical tent, Empress EMS was out there at the aid stations and Finish Line PT was handling the post-race massages. Professional Physical Therapy was at the start line. None of these folks are doing this for the money, but because they are an integral part of our community.
Also on hand at the finish was Half Time Beverage and Rye Beverage making sure you had plenty of water. Hudson Milk provided that outrageous chocolate milk.
Food came in courtesy of AJ’s Burgers and Texas Roadhouse, as well as subs from DeCicco’s Markets and bagels from H&R Bialy. These are all local businesses. Additional funding was provided by P2P newcomer Home Advisor.
Sporting goods giant Salomon was at our finish yet again, providing swag to our overall 1-2-3 and age group winners, and more swag was donated to overall 1-2-3 by REI.
Lastly, communications were provided yet again by our local ham operations, the Westchester Emergency Communications Association.
And you know that really cool 10th year anniversary shirt? Thank you Sean from Echo Design Lab!
And now, on to the Race Director’s Prize, given out in my absolute discretion to whoever I feel like giving it to, and for any reason. The prize is a free entry into next year’s Paine to Pain.
The prize has noting whatsoever to do with speed. Sometimes it goes out to those who were injured, and then proudly showed off those injuries at the end. This fits with my predisposition for people living life to the fullest despite the obstacles that life tosses into their paths.
With that in mind, last year there were two: With one going to a blind runner, Pam McGonigle (a 4x Paralympian, gold medal winner), and her guide, Nicholas Spiranza. Pam returned to run again this year with guides, and Nick went on to race his 9th consecutive P2P.
In 2015 it went to Lori Trimble who had returned to P2P after donating a kidney to her brother. In 2013 to Erica Weisberg who surrendered a good 15 minutes of her race to aid another runner. You get the idea.
This year’s winner is Rev. Donald Paine. The name is no accident, as he learned about this race because he’s a direct descendant of Thomas Paine, whose farm you raced over at the start, now known as the Broadview hill.
But that’s not why he gets the award. Don was hit by a car some 15 months ago, busting up his pelvis, back and head, among other body parts. But he is also a marathoner, having run the NYC Marathon 28 times. And he is also the official spiritual advisor to the race, courtesy of NYC Marathon legend Fred Lebow.
After talking with Don, I created a Wave Zero. Because I’m the RD and I get to do that kind of stuff if I feel like it.
Don went off one hour earlier than everyone else. Then our speedsters who were going to fly down the trail at a sub 7:00 pace were given warnings to watch out for him moving at a significantly slower speed. Don told me after that that everyone showed courtesy and shouted out encouragement. You guys are awesome. Thank you from both of us.
Don didn’t have an easy time of it out there due to the weather and his pelvic injury, but I was still around when he crossed the finish line. Covered in pain. And perhaps some satisfaction (and a bit of glory) that he was able to partially overcome some obstacles that were tossed his way by the car that hit him.
Such people are an inspiration to all of us, and make us realize how small some of our “problems” and complaints might be. These people appreciate that you only get one go-around in this world, and there are no mulligans to be taken. You go out there and you do it, or you stay at home. Don was out there.
Same time next year? Preliminary race date (pending permits) is October 7th, once again Columbus Day Sunday. Keep an eye out for the stupid-cheap early bird special!
Maybe we’ll get more rain?