Trail Improvements, Past and Future

Scouts work to repair catwalk, April 2008

(Originally posted April 2011, this page is constantly updated to reflect trail improvements — last update is 8/30/19)

If we’re going to raise money to improve the trails you probably want to know what kind of projects are involved. So this is a rundown of completed trail improvements and those we hope to assist with in the future.

Since the efforts to unify and improve the trails in six local parks began around 2002, there have been enormous changes. We hope to continue assisting local municipalities with respect to more, and hope we can raise funds to finance some of the future projects.

Since 2002 the following improvements have been made:

2005 – Volunteers cut a new trail into Saxon Woods from Old White Plains Road, thereby bringing an access point closer to the Leatherstocking Trail.

2006-7 -A new shoulder was built by the Town of Mamaroneck on Old White Plains Road to protect runners from cars as they traverse a short street stretch between Leatherstocking and the new trail cut into Saxon Woods.

2007 – 2008 – Two long catwalks/bridges that were destroyed in a 2007 April Nor’easter were re-built in 2008, better than before, by the Town of Mamaroneck.

Scouts blazing the Leatherstocking. Plastic markers and aluminum nails.

2007-2008 – New signs went up around the system linking seven different parks (Leatherstocking, Saxon Woods, Weinberg Nature Center, Hutch Trail, Ward Acres, Twin Lakes and Nature Study Woods), and trails were blazed by scouts into a massive figure-8.

2009 – A new boardwalk was built near West Drive on the Leatherstocking over a mud hole in the Mamaroneck section of the trail.

2009 -A section of trail in Twin Lakes running next to California Road in Eastchester was regraded with heavy machinery by County Parks due to poor drainage.

2010 – An Eagle Scout project widened the New Rochelle section of the Leatherstocking near Pinebrook Blvd. They cleared out invasive vegetation and pulled out old stumps blocking the trail.

2010 – A section of Leatherstocking was widened by the Town of Mamaroneck near Deerfield Lane.

2011 – A second catwalk was built by the Town of Mamaroneck near West Drive, completing a catwalk started in 2009.

2012 – Paine to Pain reaches an agreement with Friends of Westchester County Parks.   Money raised by this race will fund improvements for those parts of the trail on county property (about seven miles of the race). We now have a dedicated account with FWCP for this purpose.

2012  (summer) — A large area of debris on the Hutchinson River Trail near the Lake Isle Spillway was finally cleared. Credit to super volunteer Will Fisher who cleaned and hauled.

2012 (fall) –  A long standing mud hole on the New Rochelle section of the Leatherstocking Trail was filled by scouts with mulch and chips to provide a significantly improved surface.

2013 – We pledged $10,000 toward the Town of Mamaroneck to help replace a long catwalk with a steep pitch and sharp turn. Bridge/catwalk completed 36 hours before the 2014 race!

2012, 2013 (pre-race) – Volunteers were out on the trail hauling out garbage that had been dumped or blown onto the trails. A pre-race fall clean-up is becoming an annual tradition.

2014 – Just 36 hours before the race went off, a huge, new bridge that vaults over a river and wetland area was completed on the Leatherstocking Trail, paid for in part by funds from this race. In May, 2015, the bridge will be formally dedicated as Paine Bridge.

2014 – County passes an $800,000 bond issue for trail work due to increased trail usage. Many of the projects that we have discussed with them are on the list for repair, including: Drainage improvements in Nature Study Woods, Twin Lakes and Saxon Woods, and improvements to the long-neglected Hutchinson River Trail. Work started October, 2014.

2014 (Nov.) Repaired and re-graded the deep gully on the Hutch Trail as it descends to Pinebrook Blvd.  (part of county project)

2015 (spring) – Significant improvements can now be seen to many trail sections in Nature Study Woods, Twin Lakes and the Hutch Trail. Culverts have been built for poor drainage areas, and crushed rock laid down on low lying surfaces. The trail has been widened in sections where encroachment was taking place. Over the next few years we expect natural debris to come down from the trees that will cover the crushed rock surface. (part of county project)

2015 (spring) Improved drainage in numerous spots, with re-grading and culverts, in Nature Study Woods. (part of county project)

2015 (spring) Re-graded poor drainage area in Twin Lakes on trail next to the Hutch Parkway and at entrance to trail near Mill Road/Hutch intersection. (part of county project)

May 18, 2015 – Paine Bridge formally dedicated on the Leatherstocking Trail, paid for in part by funds from this race.

September 2017 – Graffiti overpainted on sound barriers along Hutchinson River Trail.

September 2017 – Twin Lakes, repaired “Second Right Trail” after crossing Mill Road, which gets badly overgrown each summer.  Before and after pics:




2018: Saxon Woods – regrade trail junction due to mud hole, near the pool parking lot.

2018: Repair drainage in Saxon Woods – after passing the caretakers house by the SW parking lot and going uphill.

Future projects:

Repair poor drainage at exit of Saxon Woods by the 18th tee box at the golf course.

Repair Hutch Trail running south from Saxon Woods golf course to the stream crossing, due to weeds, rutting and overgrowth.

Repair Hutch Trail on the long uphill (~100 yards) running south toward Weaver Street, due to serious weeds and overgrowth.

Repair Hutch Trail south of Pinebrook Blvd, for 100 yards toward the short, steep  uphill.

Place plantings along certain portions of the Hutch Trail to screen the trail from the Hutch Parkway.

Expand the Old White Plains Road shoulder that serves as a vital connection between the Leatherstocking and Saxon Woods, with utility poles being moved out of our narrow corridor.

Hutch Tunnel, between Twin Lakes and Nature Study Woods – install lighting and remove graffiti

And you can read more about the history of the trail and creation of the race at this link.

Best Spectating Spot

Our crowds make the race look almost like the Olympics. Almost.

For those that want to watch family/friends run a portion of the race, fear not, for even though the race goes over the hills and through the woods we have a perfect spot you can drive to. That’s because the race goes past the Saxon Woods pool and soccer field area at the 6.2M mark. And that means a huge parking lot with easy access. This is your destination.

From the starting area, get on the Hutchinson River Parkway, northbound. There’s an entrance off Webster Avenue.

Head north approximately five miles to Exit 13B, Mamaroneck Avenue.

When you come off the cloverleaf ramp, go right (north) about 1/4 mile.

Make a left at the light into the Saxon Woods pool parking lot.

You will see a house at the far back of the lot, a bit to your left, on the edge of the woods. (The pool and playground are to your right.) The race comes down the hill out of the woods to the left of that house, crosses the driveway directly in front of it, and proceeds back up the hill to the right.

It couldn’t be any easier. Really.

To return to New Rochelle make a right out of the lot, go .2 miles and get on the Hutch southbound.

As you drive south to New Rochelle you will likely see racers on the trail to your right. Honk and scream. But keep focused on the road. You know what I mean?

Exit at 9A, Mill Road, New Rochelle (eastbound). As you exit you will likely see police and volunteers as you’re about to cross the race course at the 10.5 mile mark. Honk and scream again. Or hoot and holler. Your choice. Yell  a thank you to the stressed out volunteers.

Follow Mill Road east (right) a hundred yards and bear right at the light onto North Avenue. Proceed south on North Avenue  about 1.35 miles  and make a 45° right turn up onto Calton Road. You are near the start/finish. Now follow this map to the side streets near the finish and look for parking. We suggest you click to enlarge the map and print it out to take with you.

Find friends/family and tell them they look great. Even if they don’t. Grab a little food. Kiss your athlete. Twice.

You’re welcome.

Race Day Parking

If you are unfamiliar with the start/finish area, then read carefully for the places you can park and the places you can’t park.

For those using GPS, this is the intersection of Broadview and North Avenue, right in front of New Rochelle High School.

There is a map below, which you can click for a larger, printer friendly version:

    • There is one High School lot directly across from the start, behind the tennis courts;
    • There is a second, much larger, High School lot behind the school, off Clove Road (at its intersection with Parcot Ave.). A foot path from the lot passes directly in front of the school and will take you around toward the start;
    • You can park on many of the local streets as indicated on the map below, both near the start or near the finish;
    • But  you can not park on Broadview!! (start of the race) or Flandreau (finish). Unless you want to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.  These are colonial era punishments that we favor for those that try to clog the race course with cars. You’re an endurance athlete. Walking a couple of blocks won’t kill you.

Look at the map! Click on it! Then click it again to make it even bigger! Print it and take it with you if you are not familiar with this area! (Please?)


Public Transit from New York City (Easy!)

New Rochelle is close to the city on the New Haven (red) line.

[Updated October 4, 2023)]

New Rochelle is 22 miles north of midtown Manhattan — just 4 train stops away.

Getting to the race by public transit is pretty damn easy. A 35-minute Metro North train from Grand Central and a 1.5-mile taxi is all it takes. (The NewRo transit station also serves Amtrak and buses.)

The most up-to-date info is at the Metro North website. You have three train choices from Grand Central on the New Haven (red) line to get you to the 9 am start:

  • 6:36 (arriving 7:11) – Best choice – If you want to be relaxed.
  • 7:36 (arriving 8:11) –  If you enjoy being stressed that you will still be able to claim your bib by 8:30.
  • 8:36 (arriving 9:11) – Congrats! You missed the start! If you already have your bib, you can still run, but if the timing mats are gone (last musket shot at 9:12)  you are self-timing and doing a virtual race. You are not eligible for awards. There also may be no volunteers or water on the course, nor food at the finish, depending on when you start and how fast you run. If you make it to the finish by 12:30, you’ll still get a medal if we have any left.


By Train: Take Metro North train out of Grand Central on the New Haven (red) line to New Rochelle. From there you can catch a taxi to the start for about $8. (Destination: North Avenue and Broadview.) Look for other runners to share a cab with, as we always have a healthy contingent from NYC coming in by train.

To find the taxi stands at the station: Go up the stairs to the bridge at the south end of the platform. One taxi stand will be to your left. You can find a second stand if you cross the bridge, go down the stairs and through the station house.

If doing it by bike or by foot, just go 1.5 miles north on North Avenue.

The awards ceremony should start around 11:45-ish.

Return trains are every half hour:  11:32; 12:02; 12:32; 1:02; and 1:32

Taxi services to get back to the station:

Union Taxi  (914) 576-1600
Red Fox Taxi (914) 636-6006
United Taxi Company (914) 632-6888
Green Team (914) 576-1200

By Bus: Buses use the same depot as the train station, so getting to/from the station/race is the same. Schedules are too varied to put here, of course, as they depend on where you are coming from.


Chip Timing Is Here (And directions on its use for 2011)

2012 update: We will use 4 waves in 2012, and intend to spread out the mid-pack bubble among multiple waves to avoid trail congestion. The original post from 2011 is below:

The 2011 event will introduce chip timing to this race. (The specific details of how to use it are below.) This upgrade was necessary because of the huge demand for the event coupled with the limited capacity of the trail itself. We sold out last year on August 31st, over a month before the race went off.

The chips will allow us to start runners in two waves, to alleviate concerns over trail crowding. If you have too many runners at the same pace hitting the same narrow parts of the trail at the same time, it  spoils much of the fun of racing through the woods.

We believe, based on our past experience, trail improvements last year by a local scout troop, and mathematical analysis, that the trail can handle a start field of 400. So we are targeting a maximum field of 750, with a two-wave start.

Runners will not be seeded in the waves based solely on time. Because that would defeat the purpose of starting in waves. Putting all the 8-10 minute milers into one group, for example, would result in the same bulge of runners hitting the narrow parts of the trail together.

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 runners will be in the second wave. But the bulk of the runners will be evenly distributed between the waves. This means that there will be some runners in Wave Two that are faster than Wave One, but not a lot faster. The idea is that, while some in Wave Two will overtake some in Wave One, it won’t start to happen until the first field has spread out a bit over the first four miles or so.

The chips, provided by Super Race Systems, will be embedded in the bibs themselves to alleviate concerns over catching a shoe-based  D-ring in a branch or a Championchip that gets mud-covered.

Both the start and finish areas can easily accommodate the increased crowds that we anticipate. And there should be ample parking in two lots and on the side streets, as you can see on our parking plan.

The ultimate objective is to give runners the same “small race” feel that we have had in the past, but allow more people to do it. We had great reviews last year, and we intend to get them again.

Below are some important instructions to follow in order to ensure your chip “reads” and you get an accurate time.:

  • The timing device for this year’s race is the ChronoTrack B-tag.
  • The timing “chip” is on your bib number.
  • The race bib must be clearly visible on the FRONT of the torso
  • The race bib is unaltered and unmodified (Do not fold or wrinkle or you risk breaking the chip)
  • Race bib is pinned in all four corners
  • Race bib is not covered (jackets, runner belts, water bottles, etc.)

Click this link to view the instructions for the B-tag.

The B-tag is a single-use bib tag.  You do not need to turn it in after you finish.

And the 2010 Reviews Come Pouring In…

Some of the reviews regarding the 2010 race:

Brad Sage:

I have run hundreds of races and yours was as well organized as any I have seen.  Capping the field is the right move for safety reasons as well as enjoyment of those running.  The race has a great small town laid back feel that would be lost with a larger field.  The volunteers, police and workers who cleared the trail all deserve a round of applause for their amazing efforts.  This is simply a race that can’t be matched, and to think it is right in my back yard.  I am just bummed that I missed the first edition, but hope to not miss any in the future.

Chad Tibbetts:

A wonderful race and perfect weather. I ran a 15k trail race years ago and loved it, but never did another one until Paine to Pain. The half marathon distance is an ideal distance since it really gives you time to enjoy the run. I love the simplicity of the race. Small field, 3 water stations, it’s just you and the trail. The community support was also fantastic, the high school cheerleaders were a nice touch at the start and finish. I also enjoyed the track finish, it really gets the competitive juices flowing [the prior was via email, there is more at his  Run Du Tri blog]

Brad Alan:

This was my first Paine to Pain and I have to say I was very impressed.  From the gift bags, to the race organization, to the volunteers, to the drinks and food afterwards, everything was top notch.  For $35 it was an absolute steal.

Dan Pollner:

From my standpoint the volunteers were great and enjoyed having the lineup of cheerleaders!

Yelling Stop Blog:

First, let me say what a great, well-run race this was.  The course was terrific and well-marked, the volunteers were enthusiastic and numerous, and they even had cheerleaders at the start and the finish.  Race Director Eric Turkewitz and his team deserve a ton of credit for putting this race together.  I really can’t think of one thing wrong with the race today, they even arranged for perfect weather. [more]

Herb Carroll (who helped me lay out the course three years ago):

Having volunteers and police holding traffic made a world of difference by the way.  This race was better than most I’ve ever done. I was truly impressed, and I never thought it could have been pulled off so well.  I remember running the trails with you and listening to your dreams about this being a race and thinking to myself, I can’t imagine ever making something like that work.  Well, wow, you certainly did it and beyond what I would have ever expected.

Glenn Trimboli:

It was my first trail race, always been a road racer.

This reminded me of running thru the woods as a kid playing ‘capture the flag’! Except this time you just had to follow them.  And there were plenty to keep you on track. When your having fun running, it feels it did today…  Plenty of challenges but nothing too technical to be concerned with.  Weather was great, track finish was perfect, you get to cheer  (ok, scream) for your friends to finish hard!!

Isn’t that right Ellen, Chris, Jane, Lisa?? Great day, great organization, zero complaints…how often can you say that about a race??

Caroline Goldmacher Kern:

Just wanted to make sure you knew how awesome the race was!  You have done a really amazing job!  The trail could not have been more clear and all the folks on the course to help out were excellent.   Kuddos to you and all of your time and hard work!  It was a beautiful and fun day!

Elle Kim:

What a wonderful race you organized. The 12 miles of trails were cleverly put together to make for a great mash. Came with a group of 4 people from Montclair/Bloomfield and all of us had nothing but great things to say about the volunteers, the course & the race booty. Really great job! Thank you!

Dave Schub:

Wow–Paine to Pain was amazing! The most beautiful race I have ever done—almost enough natural beauty to keep my attention along the trail and distract me from the 13.1 miles I was running (but not quite!).  This was the 1st race my sister and I have done together in 10 years and no doubt, we’ll be back again next year to do it again.

Boston or Die Trying blog:

It was a terrific morning for my first trail race: cool, crisp, hardly a wind nor a cloud in the sky. We even had a revolutionary figure travel from the past to fire the musket to start the race. Race strategy? I had none. No previous experience trail racing


Wrapping up, I had a blast with [my friends] doing this race. I can definitely understand why people get into trail running. The miles passed by so much faster I had to be so focused on almost every step. I definitely see more trail races in my future.[more]

Rob “Hugh Jass” Lynch:

Fantastic race!  Thanks very much for all the hard work that you (and your crew) did staging the event.  I vividly remember last October when I was stuck in traffic on Weaver St by the Leatherstocking trail.  I saw the police and I knew it!  There must be a manhunt on…there’s a killer loose – and he’s hiding in the woods!  Lock the doors, hide the kids!  It wasn’t until the next day that I found out there was a trail race in my back yard- i got so excited that I started running the next weekend for the first time in years.  It all came full circle when I finished the race….right behind you.

Lisa Madden:

I had a great time doing my first Paine to Pain Trail Half Marathon and will be looking to do it next year. I really appreciated the huge number of volunteers along the entire course, shouting encouragement, giving directions at key intersections, and making sure there were plenty of fluids available. I think the three water stations were just right and the course setter did a great job linking so much trail – having only 1 mile of pavement in race through such built-up areas is an achievement.

From Charles Yoo:

First trail race I’ve done. Was quite an experience. Was amusing to run along the Parkway with cars whizzing by.

After I found my rhythm, just kind of got lost and the joyful disconnect from being in the city.

Can’t wait until next year’s race.

Courtney Cook:

This was my first time running the Paine to Pain race. I had read about and seen pictures of prior races and was inspired. Even though the course passes through several towns, the trail winds its way through woodland and some of the best natural surroundings in the county.

The race was extremely well organized. Hats off to everyone involved in the planning, runner packets, trail preparation, directions and cheerleading. The overall atmosphere was positive, with enthusiastic supporters, and runners sharing helpful encouraging comments. The race passed more quickly and enjoyably than any of my practice runs.

Katherine Hajjar:

Thank you for organizing such an amazing, inspiring race!!  It was my first trail race, and I had a blast.  I loved running through the woods, and, though challenging, the trails were in fantastic shape.  Somehow, you even arranged for perfect weather.

There are more in the comments below (feel free to add more!) and  yet more on the Facebook page for this race! (And more on

(These were reviews from Paine to Pain 2009)

Final Instructions: 2010

OK this is it, the final instructions that were emailed to everyone. Published here in case you lost the email and are frantically looking for another copy:

1.         Start: Gunshot is 9 am sharp on October 3rd, rain or shine. If you didn’t pick up your packet beforehand, please leave ample time before the race for parking/packet details.

2.         Number pick-up:   If you didn’t pick up early, race day pickup is at the start from 7:30-8:30.

You must show picture ID and know your bib number to register.

3.         Parking: is available in two parking lots and on the street.  The lot in front of the High School will fill up early. The lot behind the High School on Clove Road is quite large, and has a walkway bringing you past the front of the school toward the start.  Click here for a printable map of the parking areas, which you can click again to enlarge.

DO NOT PARK ON BROADVIEW (start) OR FLANDREAU (finish), OR WE WILL HAVE YOU TARRED AND FEATHERED AND RUN OUT OF TOWN ON A RAIL.  These are Colonial era punishments that we favor for those that try to park on the actual course.

4.         Public transportation from NYC:

There is a Metro North train out of Grand Central at 7:37 that pulls in to New Rochelle (New Haven line) at 8:08. A taxi from the station should be about $7. We expect about 90 Manhattan/Brooklyn runners, so look for folks to share a taxi with. To find taxis, go up the mid-platform stairs to the bridge over the tracks. There is a taxi stand next to the northbound track and also next to the southbound track after you cross the bridge and go through the station house.

Return trains are at 11:33, 12:33 and 1:33.

5.         Baggage drop: is available at the start. Bags will be brought to the finish line. Please don’t leave valuables in the bags as we are not responsible for them.

6.         Course markings: will be red, white and blue flags at trail intersections and occasional intervals.

7.         Toilets: porto-potties at the start (get there early!), the 7.5 mile mark (Saxon Woods golf course clubhouse) and inside the High School locker room at the finish.

8.         Water: will be available at only two spots during the race, in addition to the start and finish. These stations are designed to re-fill water bottles or hydration packs. There will be large cups to grab and dump into your water bottles without breaking stride. Do not stop at the tables unless you need medical attention. Drop the cups within 50 yards of the water station in the trash cans we will have: Water will be at miles 7.5 and 11.

9.         The course closes: with a sweeper discharging police and volunteers, finishing in three hours. Please stay in front of the sweeper!  We estimate that your finishing time will be your regular 1/2 marathon pace plus an extra 15-20 minutes to account for the rough terrain.

10.       Post-race showers!: we’ve arranged for the High School locker room to be opened so you can shower and change.

11.       Post-race food, amenities, awards: we will have food, fluids and smoothies.  The Personal Training Institute of New Rochelle and Club @ 800 of Rye Brook will provide staff to help you stretch.  We expect an awards ceremony at 11:30 that will also include some raffles.

Feed-Back: We started with 50 people in 2008, we had 191 last year, and expect a field of 350-400 this year.  We hope to have chip timing next year that will allow us to expand to 750 with wave starts. So we encourage feed-back regarding the race.

Sponsors: This race would not be possible without our sponsors. They include:

City of New Rochelle
Town of Mamaroneck
Village of Scarsdale
County of Westchester (Parks and Recreation)
Sound Shore Runners and Multisport Club
The Turkewitz Law Firm (NYC)
Westchester Road Runner (White Plains)

Weichert Realtors, House & Home

Sound Shore Medical Center

Breaking the Tape Productions, LLC (Harrison)
JanMar Trophies (New Rochelle)
Robeks Juice (New Rochelle

Shop Rite

Personal Training Institute of New Rochelle

Club @ 800 of Rye Brook

Have a great race!

Eric Turkewitz, Race Director

You’re a Runner?

Jodi is a marathoner. Jane had never run more than 6 miles, until three months ago. Both are registered for P2P. They went running together today on the trails:

Jodi: [spits]

Jane: Nice

Jodi:  I get phlegm when I run.

Jane: I did my first air hanky on my long run last week.

Jodi:  What’s that?

Jane: When you blow your nose into the wind

Jodi: [laughing]

Jane: I was leaning over stretching my hammies during a goo break when my nose started dripping and I had to do an air hanky.

Jodi: Did you just hear the sentence you made?  Stretching hammies.  Eating goo.  Air hanky.  You are officially a runner.

Why We Limit the Number of Runners (Updated)

(This was created in 2010 when we sent runners in one wave. We now do chip timing and use multiple waves. But this is how race directors attempt to calculate trail capacity so that runners can run instead of shuffle through a crowd.)

Though we closed the race just days ago, we’re still getting requests. And we’ll get many more. This is why we can’t honor them (unless you’re an elite runner that can show a recent 1/2 marathon of 1:40 or faster or marathon of 3:30 or faster):

At the 3/4M mark you hit the Leatherstocking  Trail. The trail is narrow, as most trails are. If we allow too many people on it, we get a bottleneck. Bottlenecks suck in races.

We measured capacity in two ways: First, even though I was injured last year, I ran the first two miles in order to gauge the capacity of this section, from the view of the middle of the pack. We had 191 runners last year, and by my eyeball it looked like we could double our field.

Then I got a post race email from racer Martin Freidrichs, who crunched numbers and came up with the same result. His analysis, for those that like math, went like this:

My assumption is the worst section is exactly 1 mile into race when it first becomes single track (a 1/10 of mile into LS). After that it will ease up as runner spread more and more due to running at different paces.

I fully agree with where you started for many reasons , so that needs to stay.

The very fast and very slow runners are not an issue so in my analysis I only consider the center core 3/4 of your runners, which was those from number 21 to 168 or 147 runners individuals who ran form a paces off 7:45 to 11:00 (I use a simplifying assumption everyone runs the same pace for the entire race)

This means after 1 mile these middle core 147 runners had 3:15 (11:00-7:45) or 195 seconds to cross the same point.

Since in this time range a runner runs about 10 feet a second it means on average at the this worst point (1 mile into the race) each runner had  about 13 feet of space (this is calculated by 195 seconds divided by 147 runners times 10 feet a second)

(now as this is just average some will be more bunched)

I would say a runner needs at least 6 feet of space on single track so that means you could at most have double the number of runners or 400, but due to bunching some will have much less then 6 feet – but 400 is the max under the current format.

Now we have seen some improvements in the Leatherstocking the last few weeks, courtesy of an Eagle Scout project. So my feeling was that we could push the number up a little higher toward 400, and in fact, we have registered over 400 for the race. But we have prepared for no more than that, as we line up sponsors, goody bags, shirts, medals, volunteers and a thousand other details we must attend to.

The actual number of folks that will show up will be dependent largely on the weather. But accounting for no-shows, and adding some more for the elites, should put us right in the zone of what I think the trail can handle.

Next year, hopefully, we’ll have electronic timing and see if we can start in two waves of 350-400 each.

I apologize to those that want to run but got shut out. We hope you understand that we’d rather have a great event for 350-400 runners than a crummy one for 600-700. It doesn’t make me feel good to say no to people who just want to have a good time racing down dirt trails with their friends.

If you got shut out, I suggest joining our email list so that you get advance notice (contact Matt Lewis, whose email on the home page) or join our Facebook group so that you also get early notice.

In the meantime, we could always use some extra volunteers. We have zero paid staff, and this thing doesn’t go off by itself. (Which is why we also don’t allow number transfers or refunds, you can see our explanation at that link. We’re trying hard to keep this race simple in its administrative details.) If you can help, please contact Greg Stern, whose email is also on the home page.

Updated, March 2012: Our little race introduced chip timing last year. Runners will be going out in waves in order to avoid creating bottlenecks on the trail.

The No Refund / No Exchange Policy (And Why We Have It)

No RefundsUpdated for 2023:

Paine to Pain does not permit the sale or transfer of numbers, nor do we do refunds or deferrals. But it isn’t because we are money-hungry jerks. This is, after all, a non-profit and all of the race committee, myself included, are volunteers.  These are the reasons:

First off, we offer “Stupid-Cheap” registration right after one race closes, for the next year, at a stupid-cheap prices. Yet it costs us more per runner than the stupid-cheap price.

So why sell  discounted entries if it’s a losing proposition? Two reasons:

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 you seen the reviews?

2.         We know that the best laid plans of mice and runners often run astray, and that many of you won’t be able to make it. (The no-show rate for those that register a year in advance is obviously higher than those that register a month in advance.)  But you want a good deal! And you will try to get to the start!  It’s like legalized gambling! (And having goals is a huge motivation, right?)

Best excuse we ever heard:  Our not-so-humble Race Director signed up for this race (and paid!) a couple of times and then couldn’t run it due to injury or because the race got too big to both run and direct. And…he didn’t give himself a refund.

Of course, if folks violate our rules and give unused bibs to friends at the last minute, then there’s no reason for us to continue the stupid-cheap bib program. Basically, we’d lose money (which sucks for a non-profit) and there would be less to devote to trail improvements or local charities, and we’d have to raise our prices (and hire someone to track transfers. Blech!!).

Men’s 2017 champ Arnaud Enjalbert

So you get stupid-cheap in exchange for a bigger risk of no-show due to injury, or conflict with your yet-to-be born nephew’s party celebrating that he’s now 3 months old and big enough for the baby jogger so your sister can race around town with him as she works off the pregnancy weight but won’t be able to use on Paine to Pain because it’s on trails!

We also know that others who sign up in advance of a race — sometimes just a month before — will also have no-shows. There will be injuries, weddings your spouse told you about but you forgot to add to your calendar (sorry honey!), inclement weather and other parts of life that affect our plans. That is one big reason we give bigger discounts for earlier registration, as the later you register the more likely you are to actually run.

Some people will ask about refunds, deferments to the following year, or transfers to another runner, and some might be unhappy when we say no. But if we say no, the least we can do is offer you the reasons:

1.  The reason we can keep the price of the race so low is because we factor in approximately 25% no-shows overall. If discounted bibs are transferred, the whole point of the discount evaporates. And that means charging everyone a higher price to account for the transfers.

2.  When ordering food, medals, shirts and toilets, we account for the no-shows.

3.  We don’t have any staff to deal with the transfer requests that we get — with a couple hundred no-shows each year you can understand the scale of the issue. The race is organized by a non-profit running group, and our race committee is 100% volunteer.

4. Transferring numbers is also a headache, as it messes with the age group results. If a 30-year-old runs with the number for a 50-year-old, that person will foul up the age group standings. In February 2012 a marathon winner was disqualified for running with a friend’s bib. We will do the same, and reserve the right to ban you from future events. But we really, really don’t want to do that. We just want to have some fun racing through the woods and raise money to improve the trails and give to local charities.

So please, please, please don’t use another person’s bib, not just because it’s against our rules or you fear our ungodly wrath, but because those rules were created for real reasons by our little running club. This is not NYRR and this is not the Rock ‘n’ Roll series with huge staffs and massive budgets.

Please honor our honor system.

In essence, we hope you understand our simple-stupid approach meets our desire to do four simultaneous things:

  1.  Put on a top quality event;
  2.  Keep the registration fees as low as possible;
  3.  Maximize the efforts of our volunteers toward race-related duties; and
  4.  Raise money to improve the trails.

If you like reading about how to put on a trail race, and wondering how many people your trails can hold –>This How to Measure Trail Capacity for a Race