I posted this bit on my law blog, and republish it here. While superficially it looks like pure self-aggrandizement, it’s really just another excise for me to thank our volunteers without whom the race would not be possible and to encourage others to volunteer. Somewhere. Anywhere.
There are three kinds of people in the world: Those that get things done, those that watch things get done and those that wonder how things got done.
Last night in New Rochelle I was honored by Meals on Wheels at their annual gala for getting something done. Not for its organization, dedicated to getting meals into the homes of those that can’t get out, but for community service in putting together a half marathon trail race that has averaged 700 people a year over the last several years. We get registrants from 15-20 states each year, and net proceeds go to the trails and parks.
But writing about myself isn’t exactly my comfort zone, as regular readers know. You noticed that the prior paragraph says “We?”
I write today with a broader message. About volunteering.
Stick with me here, because this time I hope to have a point.
The room last night at the gala was stuffed full of volunteers, people who are doing things for their community. People who get things done. For many of them the volunteer work they do is completely divorced from their occupations.
When I put on the race, we turn out about 200 volunteers on race day, handling a wide variety of race logistics needed to put on an event that rambles a giant loop through multiple jurisdictions. I chose a photo for this post that included a few of those volunteers for a damn good reason.
When Meals on Wheels does it, it isn’t a one day affair after a few months of planning, but a month-in and month-out commitment to give something back to the community.
Volunteering is like that, giving people a chance to step out side the box they have placed themselves into and get another perspective on the world while helping others.
Professionals in particular, I think, need to do that as many of us become so consumed with the profession — be it law, medicine or any other — that it myopia becomes easy. We become known for doing x, and as a result become ever more specialized in life regarding that x. But in doing so many of us unwittingly lose sight not only of the big picture, but all other pictures.
So get out, step up, and do something different, even for just a few hours a week. Being the person that gets something done is rewarding not only to those that benefit your actions, but for yourself as well. It’s good for the soul.
OK, short preach/pitch over.
Now about that headline calling saying that today is “Eric Turkewitz Day.” Well, it is in New Rochelle. By proclamation of New Rochelle’s mayor.
And October 28th will be “Eric Turkewitz Day” again, this time by proclamation of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. And I have the documents to prove it.
One fun little note about the documents — and this includes citations and proclamations from statewide legislators — is that much of the information comes from the little bio that I wrote for the official gala program.
But I had no idea that, when I mentioned my dog Tucker McDoofusPants in that bio, it would end out in many of those official proclamations.
The Mayor said, “So let it be written.” And it was.
I’ve said it before an I’ll say it again: This race doesn’t happen without volunteers. In fact, no community event happens without volunteers — people willing to wake up and do things simply for the benefit of others.
You guys are it.
When I did my race recap, I extolled the wonder of it all, with all of the moving parts that putting on an event entails. Sometimes, people just did things without me asking or knowing. Intersections got covered, medical people appeared out of thin air to pitch in when needed, signs got moved to appropriate spots, and a million other things while my head spun off its mooring on Sunday morning as I tried to focus on the start and finish.
After handing off materials to the registration table I didn’t even have to look back, unless it was to say hello to a runner.
I did my best to meet and greet so that runners would have a great time, and you guys did all the hard work while I stood up there and got the acclaim.
But it doesn’t happen without you. Yes, I said that before. Yes, I’ll say it again.
Anyone can come up with plans. But it’s the execution of those plans that takes work. And you executed.
Let’s look at my annual review of the various “jobs” that we had to take care of, shall we? While my recap of the race has the look and feel of the runner’s perspective, this is what “backstage” of Paine to Pain looks like:
Updating web site
In person registration
Banner/sign design and purchases
Setting up start/finish line banners
Ordering tents, tables and chairs (start and finish)
Placing tents and tables
Shopping for start/finish line goods
Organizing close to 200 volunteers
Data analysis to determine in August how many will show in October
Creating and manipulating spread sheets
Creating income statement
Writing checks and tracking invoices/payments
Finding restaurants to donate food
Getting that food to the finish
Ordering water/additional food/utensils/cups/plates for finish
Feeding people / staffing food stations
Manning three aid stations (and arranging for water for them)
Medical coverage for three aid stations and finish line
Finding and coordinating sponsors
Firing muskets and establishing colonial theme
Establishing massage stations
Securing and transporting baggage
Maintaining email list and sending out mass emails
Laying out, and then sweeping, ~800 flags
Announcing arriving runners to the finish
Finding/providing music for start, finish and on the course
Obtaining insurance for every municipality and sponsor
Coordinating four police departments
Race day communications via ham radio
Finalizing results and fixing scoring errors
You accomplished an astounding feet. Each year I dump some project on someone — often a person with a full time job — and that person just gets the job done, consuming, usually, several hours of time.
All of your effort shows. Year after year the glowing reviews come in that you guys nailed the execution of the race, and this year has exceeded the stellar reviews of the prior ones. I’m not sure how you top A+, but you managed. It is the volunteers that turn a mere footrace into a piece of performance art.
Over and again people came up to me to talk about the enthusiasm of the volunteers. At the start, on the course and at the finish.
We had runners registered from 19 states and two other countries. We often now find runners flying in to see family/friends on this particular weekend so that they can run our race. It’s what a community event is all about.
It. Doesn’t. Happen. Without. You. There. I said it again.
Why sell entries for $35 when it costs us $40-45 / runner to put the race on?
1. Those that register a full year in advance do so because they love the race, and that means they’ll tell their friends about it. We’re not shy about this: Word of mouth is our best marketing!! (Have I mentioned the reviews? Yes, and I’ll do it again!)
2. We know that the best laid plans of mice and runners often run astray, sometimes over twisting, turning trails, and that many of you won’t be able to make it. But you want to! You really, really want to! And you’ll try! It’s like legalized gambling! (And having goals is a huge motivation.)
This all comes with two big, fat, hairy caveats, of course:
1. It assumes we get our permits from the various municipalities for that date; and
2. There is, as always, a no-refund, no-exchange, no deferral policy. If folks violate our honor code and give unused bibs to friends at the last minute, there’s no reason for us to continue the program. Basically, the no-show rate is baked into our pricing and the race would lose money if we allowed it. And there would be less to devote to the trails and charities, and we’d have to raise our prices (and hire someone to track transfers. Blech.).
So. You get Stupid-Cheap in exchange for a bigger risk of no-show due to weddings, births, injuries or conflict with your not yet planned college reunion with your old bestest friends who you’ve lost contact with and just found you on Facebook and they don’t run and think this trail running thing of yours is completely nuts because you might face plant on a rock and go to the hospital and they don’t run and don’t want any part of that so why don’t you come to the reunion in Vegas with us and get drunk?
Yes! I know that was a run-on sentence!!! I’m not a schmuck!!! Just excited!!! Can’t you see all the exclamation marks!!!
Registration is open for just three days! Did you get that? (Closing Saturday at 11:59 p.m.)
Every year the rush to register is like the Running of the Brides at a bridal gown sale! (And you thought trail running was risky?)
But if you blow this Stupid-Cheap early registration we will re-open on April 22nd, Earth Day, at our usual early-bird rate of $50. Still cheap! But not Stupid-Cheap! Stupid-Cheap is a 30% discount off regular cheap!
But. The photos are indexed using a computer code on the front of the bib. If that code wasn’t clearly seen by the camera, because you wore your bib on your leg for instance, you may have to hunt down the pics manually. (They are sequenced based on time and location making it relatively easy.)
Holy smoke! And by that I mean, those guys were smoking!
The old course record of 1:21:27 was crushed not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. And almost five. Really, that just doesn’t happen. But it did.
Patrick Dooley of Stamford, CT roared out of the woods and tore down the home stretch to finish in 1:17:54, chopping an astonishing 3.5 minutes off the four-year-old course record. That’s a 5:57/mile pace!!!
And he was followed to the tape by Corey Levin of the Bronx in 1:18:44 and two-time Leatherman’s Loop champ Will McDonough of New Canaan, CT in 1:19:18.
Erik Reitinger of Brooklyn, took fourth, despite beating the course record by 90 seconds and fifth went to Toby Zitsman of Brooklyn, who missed the course record by only three seconds. And still came in fifth!
And on this beautiful autumn morning with temperatures in the mid-50s at the start, an exuberant Joelle Reeves of Brooklyn raced around our rocky, rooty, leaf-covered loop to take the women’s crown in 1:29:12. And you know what? Last year she broke the course record but still came in second! She also becomes the second woman to crack the 1:30 barrier.
Following her to the finish was 2017 champion Kelsey Luoma of Brooklyn in 1:31:39. Lindsey Felling of Larchmont, last year’s overall Trail Mix Series champ, took the third podium spot in 1:36 (if we had an actual podium).
In addition to the engraved copper tankards 1-2-3 each received, Solomon is providing each of our number ones with a free pair of trail shoes. The number twos get hydration vests and the number threes get hoodies.
And, as always since the birth of this race in 2008, our two champions come back as my guest for as long as I remain Race Director.
While rain and mud always makes for fun running through the woods, my rain dance didn’t work this year, and we were stuck with low humidity and a delightful finish line festival with great music and too much food. My apologies.
Some of that great food was supplied by repeat supporters AJ’s Burgers, Texas Roadhouse and DeCiccos, and more by newcomers Beechmont Tavern, Smoke and Spice and Mikey Dubbs. We had Pepsi for the water, Athletic Brewing Co. for the beer and Ultima for the sports drink. And our new car sponsor, Rye Subaru — could there be any more perfect fit for trail runners than Subaru? — came with the cookies (!) in addition to leading waves up Broadview in their pace cars.
We are also grateful for those finish line stretches and massages by Total Form Fitness (Hartsdale), Premier Physical Therapy (Pelham) and Stretch Lab (Scarsdale). And we welcome Orange Theory (Mamaroneck) — which took over Water Stop #1 and made it their own –to the P2P fold!
Hey! When you want to put on a top-notch event at a dirt-cheap price it takes sponsors like that to help along. Without them the race would cost more and you would get less. And that would suck, as I like to say in legalese.
One of our sponsors has been with us for all 12 years: Westchester Road Runner in White Plains. How cool is that? I’ve lived in Westchester for 20 years now and have bought every pair of running shoes from them during that time. OK, except for the pair that I lost while I was on vacation and I needed another pair now, though I think they will forgive me for that.
But this race doesn’t just need sponsors, it also needs volunteers. Lots and lots of volunteers.
As runners may not realize, this race was helped along by about 200 of them, taking care of registration, food, website, music, banking, sponsors, water stations, more food, insurance, police coordination, start and finish line set up, baggage, parking, more food, cheerleaders, aid stations, banners and signage, shirts and medal design, rental trucks, communications, start line coordination, finish line coordination, tents, tables, intersections, medical (thank you Empress!), laying out over 500 hot pink flags and collecting them later, etc. Many of our volunteers ran the race also, and were seen sporting the low numbered bibs.
If you run races and haven’t had a chance to see them from “the other side” I urge you to do so as a volunteer. But don’t do it just to gain entrance to a mega-race, but rather, as an end in itself. Do it simply because these races (and so many other organizations that rely on volunteers) will not happen without them. Yet such events (and charities) are what helps to define a community.
Now before I get to the Race Director’s Prize, which is awarded in my absolute and unrestricted discretion as Grand Poobah, I want to mention something about those shirts and medals.
You’ve seen the design of a dozen little running guys hatching in an egg carton since this was our 12th year. But I wasn’t just being cute. The race celebrates our nation’s birth since it starts on Thomas Paine’s farm. And a hatching egg represents birth.
It was the essence of an eaglet being hatched that formed the logo for the musical comedy 1776. (It even had a song, “The Egg,” if you care.) I took that logo and ran with it, so to speak, reimagining and transforming it with a carton of 12 running colonial runners.
OK, enough with the symbolism and the fact that sometimes I see the race as performance art. (Surprise!)
Who gets the Race Director’s Prize? How will I use my vast dictatorial powers this year? And will they be used for good or evil? And will I make the award with a maniacal laugh?
It was tempting, I admit, to give the award to Tim “Double” Decker from the NY Flyers, running the race for the 11th consecutive time. He just had one small problem, and that was a conflict with the Staten Island Half being run the same day. He managed this problem once before by simply running the Staten Island Half and then coming to New Rochelle and running P2P starting at noon. This time he did it in reverse, running P2P with a headlamp and some deer for company, starting at 2:15 a.m. while I was staring at the ceiling trying to remember what race details I forgot. Tim made it to Staten Island in time to run a 1:36 to complete his double.
Sorry, Tim. But impressive as that was, not this year.
As many of you know, a runner went down hard in Saxon Woods just before the halfway mark. A bicyclist, who shouldn’t have been in the park, cut him off. He very much needed medical attention
Two runners stopped and stayed with our fallen athlete, both sacrificing their own race to help another. Robert Gianotti, running P2P for the 4th time, and John Abrams running it for the 5th, were there to help. John, in fact, never made it back into the race.
OK, this is the part where I collect all the nice things people say about the race and preserve them in one place before they vanish into the Everest sized mountains of internet pixels that flood the intertubes every day, never to be found again unless we run for public office. (If you want results, go here, and photos, go here.)
One of the best parts about this are that comments come in from both deeply experienced front runners and rookies alike.
(Comments that came in via email were reproduced with permission.)
———— Running doesn’t have to be brand-sponsored, mass-produced, or boring. @painetopain has been keeping running fun, unique, and competitive for years without podcasts, influencers, or needing a 5k PR/Running Crew to even get in. I was lucky today to break the course record for this tough trail half marathon by over 90 seconds and STILL only finish 4th in a deep field of athletes. I’ll take this any day over the nonsense that’s marketed on the internet. Thanks @painetopain for the opportunity! (Erik Reitenger, Orchard Street Runners)
Thanks for a great race this morning, as always it was the most enjoyable race in NY State. I run many races, you guys put the best one together. Great work from the organization, again! (Philip, via email)
Race was a blast. Most fun I’ve ever had in a half-marathon. (Patrick Dooley, 2019 Men’s Champion, via email)
Amazing race today! The course was in perfect condition, wonderful volunteers, and finish line area was great. I loved every minute of it. (@AnthonyRun21 on Instagram)
The 2019 addition of the @painetopain trail half marathon is in the books. Always an amazing day. Beautiful day to run. Looking forward to my 11th running in 2020 (Dan Tower, 10x finisher, via Instagram)
I’m a first time Paine to Pain runner (I’ll be back next year). This was an all around terrific event. Your team hit it on all cylinders (pre-race info, logistics, beautiful, challenging course. Great post race venue and refreshments. Lots of volunteers in strategic places. Very cool (and innovative) medal. Really outstanding job! (Keith Drayer via email)
Many thanks to you and all the people who make P2P such a great race! I really enjoyed the warmup lap and the race itself – another great year (Sam Wertheimer, who ran a two laps of the course, via email)
What a great event Eric and his crew of volunteers put on yesterday at @painetopain in New Rochelle, NY. Conditions could not have been better and the corps of volunteers was simply amazing. So much positivity and encouragement. I couldn’t help but smile the whole time…AND the competition was fierce with four men under the course record of 1:21:28 (and a fifth missing by just :02). Loved sharing some miles with my former college rival, Corey Levin, and proud to come away with 3rd in 1:19:19. 📸: (who took these great photos?) @trailmixseries#trailrunning (Will McDonough, 2x champ of the Leatheman’s Loop)
What do you do when, after paying the stupid cheap rate a year ahead, you find out your 50th high school reunion is taking place in Philadelphia (it could be worse) the night before this year’s Paine to Pain?! Of course you want to go to the reunion and see how everyone has weathered the years. Maybe even gloat a little about how good you’re doing, especially if you’re still a crazy runner pushing into your late 60s. And, of course, you don’t want to miss the race, which has become one of the highlights of your running year. Especially when the weather will finally deliver a day for a pleasant jaunt through the woods instead of the sweatfests of the last few years.
So, you party with your 1969 classmates and then hit the road at 5 am on Sunday morning, swing through Brooklyn to pick up some teammates (PPTC rocks Paine to Pain), make it to New Rochelle and slog your way through it all. It doesn’t matter that it was the slowest race so far. All the volunteers, people at the water stops, local police guarding the road crossings and intersections, other runners, were cheering us on. The trails were dry and dappled in their unique beauty. The cool northern air even dampened some of the fragrance of those bridge underpasses (and I don’t think it’s because of bears you-know-whatting-in the woods). I just thought of it as “forest bathing” (it’s a thing) at a 12-14 minute pace. In fact, my slowness this year just meant more time to enjoy the experience…even the parts that sucked at the moment.
So thanks again to you all for one of the great runs of the year. I’m ready to pull the trigger on the stupid cheap rate for 2020 and do my best to keep the rest of my calendar clear for that weekend. (Murray Rosenblith, Pied Piper of the Prospect Park Track Club)
Your race is the highlight of my fall race schedule. The weather was perfect. The course was, as always, a blast! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the parks in Westchester and as race director. Looking forward to next year and to early sign-up for the cheap rate. Best deal in town. (Mark Wellman via email)
Thank you for another eggselent race. (@RunWorkRepeat on Instagram)
Once again the Paine to pain experience was spectacular! Thanks so much Eric Turkewitz and NewRo Runners for making my day special. See you next year. (Michael Wolf via Facebook)
My biannual visit to New Rochelle for this race is always special. From the 200-year-old musket firing to start each wave to the immediate hill you climb to get to the trailhead to the constantly changing terrain. Five beautiful parks await you as you slice away mile after mile. Outside of those delightful challenges (yep, the full shebang: tree roots, branches, leaves, grass, little mud, a couple of stream crossings, wooden catwalks and tons of stones), this was a great day for running. …Kudos to race director, Eric Turkewitz for another successful race. Great to see you again, as always. (@WilWorksDC via Instagram)
The #painetopain trail half marathon is the most fun race of the year on the east coast. @painetopain thank you once again. (Alkis Valentin, founding member of the #FinishLinePhotoHallOfFame, via Instagaram)
Thank you to Eric Turkewitz, NewRo Runners, and all the volunteers and sponsors and vendors for a race organized with excellence, a sense of humor, and post-game food that included diabetic-friendly options. It was my first trail half, and will not be my last, despite falling flat on my face about midway. (Rachel Wolfe via Facebook)
Today I completed half marathon #2. The Paine to Pain trail run and let me tell you. It was painful. It was so incredibly hard and when I was running/walking up the big hills during the first 6 miles, one thought came to my mind. “This freakin sucks….. but I love every minute of it”. In case anyone’s wondering, yes the medal is an egg carton with patriots in the egg shells.(Apijar258 via Instagram)
I just ran my first Paine to Pain half this weekend (which I learned about from Instagram!), and wanted to thank you for putting on such a fun and well-organized race. The energy at the start, the fun and interesting course, and the excellent volunteers all made for great experience. I haven’t had that much fun at a race in awhile, and I know so much work goes into an event like that. So thank you so much! I’m bringing friends next year! (Emily Bunce, via email)
Thanks for a great race. Definitely coming back next year. (@jbasa713 via Instagram)
Beautiful day for some trails. Thank you to @painetopain & @newrorunners for organizing one of my favorite local trail races. Highly recommend Paine to Pain for anyone new to trail running or looking for a fast time – it’s a very runable course with a spectacular finish party. (Sarah Stafford, via Instagram)
Paine to Pain trail half. Avenging a bad race with my trail companion @griggs_on_the_run. There were ups, downs, rocks, trees, logs, and even a small water crossing or 2. As an added bonus, I got to learn half a dozen ways to fold a buff from the race director himself @painetopain. Everything that a trail runner could ask for in his first trail half! (Monk_Runs_the_Woods via Instagram)
I came from Connecticut for this race. What a fun well-run (pun intended) event with a great vibe! Thanks so much to the the volunteers, especially the sweeper (whose name I can’t recall) and her super-dog Scout. Your encouragement really kept us going! (Elizabeth Geib via Facebook)
I ran with Elizabeth [above] and agree our Champion Sweep and Scout were a highlight of the day. Would love to see a picture of them from the race. So many highlights – and the course marking was FANTASTIC. ‘Blocking’ the way not to go helped tremendously when tired! Girl Scouts were proactive with the water – another highlight – really can’t say enough good things. Love the race performance art. : ) (Fiona Russo, via Facebook)
Thank you for organizing the race preview 2 weekends before the race. It helped us greatly get used to the look and feel of our very first trail race. Thank you and Peter and all NewRo Runners volunteers for showing us the way.
And thank you for organizing the race itself: it was as nice as we experienced it during the preview, as nice as some of our neighbors and runners bragged about it in the past years, and maybe a bit more: the weather could have not been better.
Thank you for your long, informational and very funny emails: they are the main reason Delia joined the race. Gene joined just because. (Gene and Delia via email)
Ok, the day was gorgeous and you guys did a bang up job as usual. May I kindly submit my “improvement requests” for next year:
Make the weather bad. Do what you have to do. Get it done.
Mix in some mud and dog poop along the way. Put it under the fallen leaves so we can’t see it. Mix it good so no matter how hard we try to get it off our shoes, it gets on our hands and in between our nails.
Don’t invite back Douglas Palma. I’ve never met the guy and he is probably a stand up citizen. However, anyone that beats me by 1/100 of a second should not be invited back. Not cool, Doug. Not cool.
You guys ROCK!!! My hat goes off to you for a FANTASTIC DAY!!! (Todd Esposito, who once flew in from Ukraine for the race, but now only flies in from Vegas.)
Thank you for a fantastic race on Sunday. This was my second time running it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Every road crossing was really well managed, the pink flags were well marked when I didn’t have someone to follow and the finish area worked great. (Scott Rose, via email)
The forecast for Sunday (as of Thursday) is for temps in the 60s. Sorry, my rain dance didn’t work.
With a bit of luck, this answers all your questions, though some of you will refuse to read to the bottom and send me questions anyway.
1. Start Time: Wave 1 starts with a gunshot at 9 am, unless the musket misfires a couple times and I have to holler “Go!” All prior races have gone off exactly on time.
If you don’t pick up your packet beforehand, please leave ample time before the race for parking, packet pick up, port-o-potties, bag check and schmoozing. We don’t really care if you schmooze, we just want you to get there earlyand not frantically running up at the last second demanding attention. Race day pick up is from 7:00 – 8:30 in the race staging area.
2. Wave Start/Assignments: Five waves, with 150-200 in each, leaving three minutes apart.
Do not jump forward to another wave. The race is chip timed and we know where you’re supposed to start. Don’t screw that up. Dropping back to run with a friend, however, is fine.
Overall 1-2-3 is gun time from the first wave, so let us know if you think you might be on the overall podium but weren’t placed in Wave 1. Age groups awards, however, are by chip time so it doesn’t matter where you start.
Some runners in later waves will be faster than those in earlier ones. This is deliberate, and helps to fill the gaps between the waves, since putting all of the middle-of-the-pack runners in the same wave is counter-productive. We hate congestion on the trails.
Pace cars from Rye Subaru will lead initial waves up Broadview.
3. Number Pick-up: We strongly encourage runners to pick up bibs and shirts prior to race day at Westchester Road Runner, at 179 E. Post Road in White Plains:
Friday: 5-8 pm
Saturday: 10 am-4 pm
Please pick up your own number and nobody else’s. Please bring ID. The only exception is for picking up for someone with your same last name or address.
You will receive a free copy of Trail Runner Magazine while supplies last.
In addition, Westchester Road Runner is offering 20% off non-sale shoes and clothes at the time you pick up your number and will raffle off three pairs of shoes to those who pick up at the store.
And bring your “gently used” shoes that you no longer wear to the store or the start line. These will be donated to Hope Community Services in New Rochelle. Rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn them in a year, donate them to someone in need.
4. Number transfers are not permitted. Veteran P2Pers will remember that if you transfer a number a kitten will die. We sold a ton of bibs stupid-cheap last year for $35, but only did that because we knew many folks wouldn’t be able to use them (it actually costs about $40/runner to put on the race). We do it because it’s a fun perk; you do it because it’s a fun gamble. If transfers were allowed the price would be higher.
5. Shirts are guaranteed to those who registered by September 1st. If you don’t get a shirt at check-in, you can pick one up after the race on a first come, first serve basis (depending on the number of no-shows) at the NewRo Runners tent. Our shirt policy can be found at this link. And look for the secret message on the back of the shirt!
6. Late Registration: If your friends still haven’t registered, well isn’t that lazy? And kind of pathetic for endurance athletes?
If they come to number pick-up on Friday or Saturday, or on race day from 7:00-8:30, they can register in person. Please have them fill out this form prior to coming in, so that our swamped volunteers can move quickly.
7. Parking is available in two parking lots and on the street. The very small lot in front of the High School will fill up early. The very large lot behind the High School on Clove Road has a walkway bringing you past the front of the school toward the start.
Don’t even think about parking on Broadview, as that is the racecourse. Click here for a printable map of the parking areas, which you can click again to enlarge. Please consider carpooling to alleviate congestion.
A taxi from the station should cost about $7. We expect many NYC runners so keep your eyes open to share a taxi to hook up with others. Your mileage may vary on use of the phrase hook up.
Or use our Facebook page to see if you can meet another runner. Maybe you’ll get luckier than you can imagine.
9. Baggage Drop is available just steps from the start. You can check one bag, which will be brought to the finish line. Your bib will have a numbered pull tag that can be pinned to your bag. Please don’t leave valuables in the bags, as we are not responsible for them.
Emotional baggage, however, must be taken with you on the trail. There’s only so much our volunteers can do.
10. Course Markings: Our team of Trail Pixies expect to lay down about 500 bright pink flags with our Colonial Runner logo, placed at trail intersections and occasional intervals. Some people will insist on ignoring the flags and run off course anyway.
11. Toilets: Porto-potties at the start (get there early!), the 7.5-mile mark (Saxon Woods golf course) and bathrooms at the high school finish.
12. Water/Medical: Water and medical attention will be available at only three spots during the race, in addition to the start and finish. Ultima Replenisher will be available at the last two aid stations. Aid stations are at miles 4-ish, 7.5-ish and 10.8-ish. Carry supplemental water if the weather is warm/humid.
13. Mid-Race Drop-Out: If you get injured, or are too exhausted to finish, you should check in with a volunteer at an aid station. If you can’t make it to the aid station, tell a volunteer on the course. If you tell the police you are injured they will transport you to the emergency room, not the finish line.
14. The course closes: Sweepers will discharge police and volunteers, starting in Wave 5 and finishing in three hours. Please stay in front of the sweepers! We estimate that middle-of-the-pack finishing times will be your regular 1/2 marathon pace plus an extra 15 minutes to account for the rough terrain. If you’re slower than the sweeper you are on your own (but we’ll leave the flags in place so you won’t be lost, just lonely).
15. Post-Race: We should have lots of good food. Do we know how to treat you well or what? Check it out:
AJ’s Burgers (New Rochelle)
Texas Roadhouse (New Rochelle)
Beechmont Tavern (New Rochelle)
Smoke and Spice (New Rochelle)
North End Tavern (New Rochelle)
Mikey Dubbs (New Rochelle)
H&R Bialy (New Rochelle)
Third Stone (for the live tunes!)
There will also be a medical tent staffed by Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital and EMTs at aid stations from Empress Emergency Services. We hope you don’t visit them, except to say thanks.
Several therapists will be on hand to assist with post-race therapy or massage or stretching, including:
Premier Sports Recovery
Total Form Fitness
16. Post-Race Showers! We’ve once again arranged for the high school locker room to be opened so you can shower and change.
17. No Dogs: We have dogs. We like their happy, wagging tails and we like scratching their bellies. They are the darlings of social media, though the cats think otherwise. Sadly, we don’t get to make the rules for the school grounds. That means Tucker, Princess and Snoopy have to stay home. Unless your pooch is a seeing eye dog. And if said dog ran 13.1 with you the pooch gets a medal. No regular pooches.
18. Volunteers: This event is put on by NewRo Runners. Our entire race committee, race director included, is volunteer. We expect 200+ volunteers on race day. Please be nice to them, they are working hard. Kissing volunteers is enthusiastically permitted. Kissees must be 18 or older to participate.
19. Free Photos: Your bib will have two QR codes on the front. So when the cameras snap your pic the photos can get automatically indexed. Social media friendly versions of the photos are free. So wear your bib on the front! Wearing it on your back or the side of your leg does not make you look super cool. Trust me.
Feedback: We started with 50 people in 2008 and expect 700 this year. The vast majority of our runners learned of the race by word of mouth. We encourage feedback regarding the event to know what works and what doesn’t as we continue to grow and continue to rely on word of mouth as our main means of marketing.
Good luck out there on Sunday!
Race Director Paine to Pain Trail 1/2 Marathon
Westchester County, NY painetopain.com
Daytime phone: 212-983-5900
Eric @ PaineToPain.com
The Turkewitz Law Firm
228 East 45th Street – 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Eric @ TurkewitzLaw.com
All runners are invited to join us for this trail run, whether you are signed up for the race or not, and whether you want to run the whole loop or just a section (see below).
The preview is not a race, but simply a guided running tour of the P2P course, hosted by NewRo Runners, who will do this run as one of our regular weekend group runs.
We’ll have multiple groups – which we coyly designate as fast, medium and slow, because tall, grande and venti didn’t seem right. The groupings will generally (and very loosely) be:
Fastest – training for 3:20 marathon or faster (or 1:30 ½-marathon)
Medium – training for 3:20 – 4:00 marathon (or 1:30 – 2:00 ½-marathon)
Slower – training for 4-5:00 hour marathon (All runners should be capable of running a 2:30 half marathon on the street – please, no walkers.)
There are no fees, no services, and you don’t have to be a member of NewRo Runners to join us. Just send me an email, or tweet (@PaineToPain) or mention it on our Facebook page, so that I have a general sense of how big our crowd will be and how many pacers we will need, and let me know which group you think you might run with. You can always change groups on the spot, or mid-run if you don’t like the leopard print shorts of the guy in front of you.
You can also run a shorter distance if you choose.
Important!! We do not meet at the starting line for P2P! We start, instead, at the trailhead for the Leatherstocking Trail. This is at the corner of Pinebrook Boulevard and Hillside Crescent in New Rochelle. (See map) There is parking available on Hillside Crescent.
There is one water stop along the way — a water fountain — at the Saxon Woods Golf Club, which has bathrooms as well. This is at the 6.8-ish-mile mark for this run (and the 7.5-mile mark for the actual race).
Your options are:
5.6 miles — Out and back on the Leatherstocking trail, which is linear and well-marked.
10 miles — Stay with the group until we head south down the Hutchinson River Trail (after passing the golf course) and then bail out at Pinebrook Boulevard. This is the same street we started on, but two miles to the north. Then run south (left) those two miles on Pinebrook back to the start. There are no turns to make after leaving the group.
13+ — The full monty. As an extra bonus, instead of running the Broadview hill at the start of the race, you get to run it at the end when you’re tired.
Please let me know if you will be able to join us.
Well, someone’s got to aggregate the reviews, and I sure as hell ain’t waiting for Runner’s World to do it.
The reviews for 2018 that I’ve found are below, mostly from Facebook and Instagram. If it came via email, rest assured I publish only with permission. I’ll put up more when (and if) they come in to me:
Lots of fun breaking the tape at the Paine to Pain Trail Half. Nothing like throwing it down on the hills and mud of the adopted hometown trails. Shoutout to Eric and all the volunteers for a truly unique, awesome event! (Tom Dilberto, Men’s Champion)
That is a beautiful set of trails, smartly connected, and tended with great support along the way. Thanks for a fun race. (Chris DeMuth, Jr., via Facebook)
This is not just the best trail race anywhere near NYC, but IMO the best race period. (If anyone knows any nearby race that gives you more bang for your buck, please tell me so I can go run it.) (Tim Decker, 10-time finisher, in post-race note to the NY Flyers via Facebook)
The race was incredibly well-run, super easy to get to from the city and the post-race festival was great – highly recommend! (@EatForEndurance, via Instagram)
It was a great race and the post finish food, service, etc was the best experience I ever had. Seriously. And I have been all over the world running races. Thank you so much for putting so much effort into this race. It’s indeed something very special. (Christian S., via email)
This was a great race, and all you volunteers were amazing!! (Meagan Reilly, via Facebook)
The girl scouts were great. Thanks to all who made this event happen. It was the community of big and small, from the uniformed to the ones banging on a cowbell, that make this event so special.
Something about P2P…being an away race but not too far away…the unique start, the enthusiasm on the course, and the post race party atmosphere…it keeps me coming back. (Heidi Chadwick, via Facebook on P2P and NY Flyers pages)
This was my first year running the Paine to Pain race. I enjoyed the race, everything from the musket rifles sounding the start, my name of the bid, the great course, really like the t-shirt design and the finish area music/ food. (Jeff Koren via email)
– Being used as a pole to catch someone’s fall
– Getting slapped in the face by a tree branch
– Seeing some happy doggos on the trail 🐕
– Running through streams and various piles of mud
– That majestic finish on the field
… today I learned that trail running is hella hard but fun. (@run_meghan_run, via Instagram)
Sometimes you need to do a race to remember why you like running so much. Paine to Pain was such race. Had so much fun running the trails of Westchester. Soul feels pretty charged. (@vikmanjj via Instagram)
I had a blast at the race yesterday! As always you put on a first class production with all the bells and whistles. If only you could find a way to get 1/3 back of that sweat equity with costs and expenses off the top! Hope you are taking some time today to relax.
I am still working though some aches and pains that I don’t normally get when running around Brooklyn. I only wish I had those kinds of trails and scenery near my apartment. I was wearing your race day shirt all around Park Slope yesterday. Got many complements. Apparently your design is cool with the hipster crowd. (Mark Wellman, via email)
That was a beautiful race!! It’s not an easy trail but was so well kept, thanks in large part to the mission of this race and the New Rochelle Runners. Thank you Eric for inviting all of us to enjoy your trails. I’ll be back in the years to come and my fellow running friends should too. “Of all the roads you travel in life make some of them dirt.” (@RunEatWorkRepeat via Instagram)
Awesome race! Great support and trails are really well maintained. (Sarah Scott Davis, via Facebook)
I got in on the stupid cheap pricing same time last year when I discovered I really enjoy running in the woods. It was such a great race this past weekend on those well-maintained trails (courtesy of this race’s fund raising mission and the New Rochelle Runners). The post race party with live music and hot food was unexpected but so lovely after giving all your effort getting to that finish line. Ok, after this, don’t tell anybody else about this gem of a race. I don’t want Eric to do away with the stupid-pricing or raise the prices (Andrew Tse, via Facebook NY Flyers page)
Thanks for staging a fantastic event! (@Swein via Instagram)
You guys did a fantastic job and I’m going to recommend this race to all my friends. (@thelifeofdona via Instagram)
You guys put on a great event again; thank you for the amazing effort. (David Isaac, via Instagram)
You put on a great race. (@ijcreations via Instagram)
Thanks again Eric Turkewitz for making Paine to Pain a fun and unique experience. It’s always challenging no matter what the conditions are. This year will be remembered for the mud and the humidity. I had an absolute blast! Keep up the good work. I will continue to spread the word about this truly great running event (Michael Wolf, via Facebook)
Thanks to Eric Turkewitz, the New Ro Runners and all the volunteers and organizers for another great Paine to Pain Half. The Prospect Park Track Club loves this race and we’ll be back next year! (Murray Rosenblith, via Facebook)
Excellent organization and super fun! The post-race party has tons of great food, etc. (Danny Gallegos, via Facebook)
Each year follows a familiar pattern: I plan and I scheme and I think: If I were running this race, how would I make it perfect? Not just good. Perfect. Then I beg, cajole, wheedle, sweet-talk and otherwise beg and grovel for volunteers as I try to bring the plans to fruition.
Hey, we all need a hobby.
But there’s magic involved too, and the magic comes home to me not when the shirts, medals, water bottles and other items arrive, or even when runners stream into Westchester Road Runner to pick up bibs.
No, the magic really hits me late Saturday afternoon before the race when I drive home from the store and see those hot pink flags lining the course. Flags. Laid down by our invisible trail pixies. It. Just. Seems. To. Happen.
The highlight of the race had to be the woman who followed those flags to shatter the course record on a warm and humid day by a full three minutes (and three seconds).
Thrilling those on the field lucky enough to witness it, Shelby Goose of Englewood, NJ, flew home in 1:28:35 to become the only woman ever to break the 1:30 barrier.
I had noted last year, when the race was run in similarly warm and uber-humid conditions, that no records were likely to be broken:
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.
And yet there was Goose, roaring home across the field to blast through our over-sized winner’s “tape.” To put this in perspective, only three women in the past 10 years broke 1:35, and here she was going sub 1:29. Wowsa.
Joelle Reeves from the Prospect Park Track Club followed in 1:33:32 — making her the 4th woman to go sub-1:35 and a champion in most other years — with Lindsey Felling of Larchmont (1:39:59) taking the final podium spot (if we actually owned a podium).
On the men’s side, Tom Diliberto of Pelham took top honors in his rookie running of the course with a 1:23:28. And the talent trying to chase him down was formidable. Brooklyn’s Steve Crnic followed him to the finish line, in 1:24:16. Crnic not only finished second last year, but in 2016 he set the existing course record. And Crnic, in turn, had defending champion Arnaud Enjalbert on his heels as he finished in 1:24:50.
And all those on the podium get some swag from Salomon:
1st place will get the new Sense Pro 3 running shoes
2nd place will receive the Agile 2 set (hydration vest)
3rd place male receives the Agile mid (half zip pull-over)
3rd place female receives the Agile LS hoodie.
And the champions will come back as my guest for as long as I remain race director.
As the runners streamed in, Reckless Jester struck up the tunes, with the food and drink — served up by a dedicated team of volunteers — coming from A.J.’s Burgers, Texas Roadhouse, North End Tavern, Hand Crafted Catering and Events, DeCiccos, and the Athletic Brewing Company (who answered the eternal question in the positive: yes, you can make non-alcoholic beer that actually tastes good).
You know how I often say that a race like this doesn’t happen without volunteers? Well, it also doesn’t happen without sponsors. Without them the race would cost twice as much and you’d never see that stupid-cheap option.
These sponsors give you a small clue as to what it takes to put on a race like this: In addition to the above, our thanks to Ultima for their sports drink that you had at the aid stations, to Symmetry Physical Therapy and Finish Line Physical Therapy for their finish line massages, to Pepsi for all that water, to Stop & Shop for their fruit and cookies, to Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital for the finish line medical tent, to Empress Ambulance for their EMTs at the aid stations, to Echo Design Lab for its help on those groovy tie dye shirts you’ll be wearing for a very long time, to the Westchester Emergency Communications Association, whose ham radio operators let us know who the leaders were and where we had runner break downs, and to PennyWise Consulting for the tech end of our website.
Whew. I was able to just scratch the surface of what it’s like to do this.
As to the Race Director’s Prize, I have awarded it for turning a cartwheel down the stretch, for helping another runner, and for inspirational stories. There are no rules. The winner comes back as my guest the following year, and it’s the only bib that can be deferred to another year if the runner can’t make it.
This time it goes to a volunteer-runner, but as you might guess, not just any volunteer-runner.
Remember how I started this piece about those magical flags appearing on the afternoon before the race? There were trail pixies out there laying down hundreds and hundreds of those flags on Saturday afternoon.
The Chief Trail Pixie doesn’t need direction from me. She puts together the team to lay them down, and to sweep them up over the next couple days. From my vantage point, it’s just magic that happens in the woods, virtually unseen.
Our Chief Trail Pixie is none other than Nina Steinberg, who’s also the only runner to have completed all 11 Paine to Pain races. This year, her bib said, 11(!).
For all that you do to help out Nina, and to lay down the trail for so many hundreds of runners year after year after year, I am exceptionally grateful. There’s a good reason you get a shout-out every year from the start line and a good reason for you to be singled out for this modest Race Director’s Prize. Thank you.
And now a closing thought: You know what else would be magical? A horseback rider appearing in colonial garb galloping up Broadview leading the first wave charge. With a Betsy Ross flag. Know anyone? Asking for a friend…