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

No RefundsUpdated for 2022:

Paine to Pain does not permit the sale or transfer of numbers. 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 just 40 bucks. Yet it costs us more than that to put the race on.

So why sell entries for $40 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.  (Our no-show rate for this grouping of super-duper early birds has been about 38%.) 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 when he couldn’t run it due to injury or because it 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, 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. 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

How Fast (Slow) Is the Race Course?

If you are wondering how your time will stack up to a 1/2 marathon road race (and wondering if you will finish under 3 hours) then you can use this rule of thumb: Add 15 minutes to your expected road race time to guesstimate your finishing time here.

The trails vary in their complexity, with the Leatherstocking likely adding 2 min/mile to your regular time. Other trails have a few wide flat stretches that can move you almost to road pace. Not many, mind you, but they exist.

The 15 minute rule is based not only on my years running these trails, but on a comparison last year of people who ran both P2P and the Westchester Half the following week.

Welcome Sound Shore Medical Center As Sponsor

Sound Shore Medical CenterWe’re pleased to let you know that, as our little ramble through the Westchester woods grows, we’ve brought in some professional medical talent. Just in case.

Personnel from Sound Shore Medical Center, located in New Rochelle, will be on hand at the finish line and at a mid-point aid station for those that need it. They happen to be pretty experienced in this sort of thing, having helped out at the US Open at Winged Foot and the Westchester Triathalon, among other events.

And we hope that, on race day, they go home with all the bandages they arrived with.

Registration is now open for 2010!


Sunday, October 3rd. Gunshot at 9 am.

We’re looking at a field capacity of 350 this year, up from 191 finishers last year and 50 the year before. Come one, come all.

We opened registration this morning at Active and already have people signed up, even as we shake the cobwebs of winter off this site and tinker with the content.

It didn’t take long.

And the reviews come pouring in…

Some comments about the race on Sunday…

From Joe Garland at Run Westchester (Marathon PR, 2:29, NYC, 1983):

These are wonderful, varied trails of which the communities through which they pass are justly proud. This race can become one of the highlights of the Westchester running world.

Stephen Quirk (Happauge, NY):

It was really well run and brutally fun. I enjoyed the trail, other runners and the great job the volunteers did.

Matt Patrick (Larchmont, NY) 2nd place overall:

You put on a good show today.  Really good course and excellent staffing.  I (and everyone I saw) had a really good time.  When you feel like you’re going to puke with 6 miles to go and still finish with a big smile on your face… that’s the mark of a good event.   You’ve done a remarkable job getting this race off the ground and making people really psyched for it every Fall.  Double the size next year…..

Brian Vanderheiden (Bethel, CT), 3rd place, 30-39:

Thank you for putting on such a wonderful event! Although I’ve run on all of the trails in the race at one point or another, I’ve never run them in succession like that. It was much more challenging than I expected it would be with the rocks, the mud, the slippery cat walks, stream crossings, etc., but all part of the experience that a trail race should be. The trails were in very good shape as well despite the heavy rain on Friday night and Saturday.

Dan Tower (Eastchester, NY):

It’s a gem of a course and it was a well run, fun, small-ish race.

Carol Sebastian (Greenwich, CT)

It was my first trail race and it was pretty hard but I did enjoy it.  Great training for the marathon!

Katie Williams (New York, NY), 2nd place 20-29:

I enjoyed the raced tremendously; it was my first trail race.

Tom Liptack (Larchmont, NY):

Great race … one of the toughest runs I’ve participated in .. would do again …. one caution I would alert potential runners on the treacherous, hilly terrain … this race is not for the average street jogger …..  It is a trek for people who are in shape and know what they getting into ….

Dennis Noskin (Greenwich, CT):

An unbelievable trail run!!!  Well done!…I look forward to running it again next year!!  Thanks for all your efforts.

Mark Maritzen (Rye, NY), 3rd place overall:

Great event…Well done and thanks for organizing.

Zach Katz (Bronx, NY) 2nd place overall 2008; 1st in age group, 20-29, 2009:

the race was once again a ton of fun.  I just need to learn how to hold back on the first half so I dont bomb on those rolling hills near the Hutch.  I think having my name on the bib made me wanna push the pace and lead the first half….Thanks again for organizing a rockin trail race


Oscar Fernandez (New York, NY):

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect when the taxi dropped us off at the registration site last Sunday. I’d never been to New Rochelle, I’d never raced before, and I’d never run on trails before…. The trails were no joke. I thought I was going to die 30 minutes into the race! …living in Manhattan I only trained on flat surfaces; I will definitely be better prepared for next year’s race!

From an organizational standpoint, you and your staff really covered all your bases. The check-in crew was very helpful. The fact that our bags were moved from the starting point to the finish line was big. The IONA volunteers provided plenty of moral support. Their smiles and cheers really helped me psychologically. The refreshments provided after the race were a big hit. The massage therapists, the awards, the stories behind some of the award recipients, etc….

I will make every effort to participate in next year’s Paine to Pain trail race. Once again, thank you.

From the blog Wanderlust Runner:

It was challenging, exhilarating, fun, and, yes, painful….this course was waaay more challenging. Hills, mud, roots, rocks, people, catwalks, and on, and on. But then I would remember to look around me and with the fall colors just starting to creep in, everything clicked. One runner on the trail called it “running Nirvana.”

 I was a bit nervous about making the trek up to Westchester by myself, but before I even got on the train at Grand Central I found fellow racers. I met people before, after, and even during the race, and by the time we were all saying our post-race congratulations I felt like I had 50 new friends.

I will add more when they come in.


Paine to Pain 2009 Results Are Up!

The results are up for the 2nd annual Paine to Pain, and a big congratulations to all that finished. A number of people indicated afterwards that this was a hard race, which was of course, the reason we gave the race this name.

Finish line volunteers got a special treat with a close men’s finish, with Ricardo Santos beating Matt “Wrong Way” Patrick by 17 seconds. This was no blow-out.  Congrats to Lisa Marie Gleeson, our woman’s winner, taking the winner’s tankard with a solid three minute lead.

We had 192 finishers out of 237 registrants, right by our goal of getting 200 finishers to the end. (And a hell of a jump over the 50 runners we had for our inaugural event last year.) Since your registration forms indicated that the most common way people heard about the race was “friend,” I thank those that passed on information about the race to others.

As I mentioned to a number of people, we hope to expand the race next year to 350 runners. I think the trail can hold that capacity without having wave starts and chip timing, but I would love to get feedback from others on whether you think the trail can support double the volume.

Of course, if we do expand, we will need more volunteer assistance. Those that have an interest in helping with next year’s race, please let me know. While one job we need to fill can be from anywhere (webmaster, anyone? This site needs to be updated and improved.), others we seek are local. This includes such things as trail marking, flag pick-up, water station management, finish line logistics and assistance, and other nuts and bolts logistical issues. So if your spouse, friends, kids, dog or goldfish want to help out, we would be grateful.

You can contact me at Eric [at] TurkewitzLaw [dot] com.

Online Registration Closes, Some Spots Still Open

Online registration has now closed, as has mail-in registration. We are still taking a few more runners as we try to determine our capacity, and judge accordingly.

Interested runners should sign up at Westchester Road Runners in White Plains at the packet pick-up times:

  • Friday: 5-8 pm
  • Saturday: 10-4

Shirts can no longer be guaranteed due to higher than expected demand for the race.