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.

Changes in Water Stops!

We made a last minute change to our 2nd and 3rd water stops (miles 7.5 and 11), in order to speed the re-filling of water bottles. Last year we filled from jugs but, with 4x as many runners this year, we foresee potential congestion (and lost time) as runners come to a halt for water.

This year, therefore, we will fill 16 oz paper cups with water to be placed on tables. These are not the small cups you gulp from during regular races, spilling half down your face.

The objective is for runners to re-fill their bottles on the fly as follows:

  1. Remove your water bottle top in advance of the water stop (a volunteer or sign will alert you that it is coming);
  2. Grab water and dump into bottle;
  3. Immediately discard cup at waiting garbage can 50 yards down the trail.

Please don’t take cups further down the trail and discard them in the woods.

Our first water stop, at mile 3.8, was only lightly used last year. This will remain a hose. There are no cups at this stop.

Pre-Race Instructions

Paine to Pain is now around the corner. These are the pre-race instructions that were sent via email today:

1.         Start: Gunshot is 9 am sharp on October 4th, rain or shine. Only a severe storm could alter plans. If you don’t pick up your packet beforehand, please leave ample time before the race for parking/packet details.

2.         Number pick-up: We encourage runners to pick up race numbers, shirts and packets 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

            The first 50 runners to pick up their packet will also get a free copy of Trail Runner Magazine.

            The store will also recycle old running shoes, so bring in the old ones that are stinking up your closet.

3.         Parking: is available in four areas. If you are unfamiliar with the start, print out an online map to assist. The High School is next to the twin lakes that appear on some maps:

                        A.        In the New Rochelle High School lot on North Avenue across from Broadview and the start. Space is limited in this lot.

                        B.        Limited street parking on North Avenue.

                        C.        In the High School lot behind the school on Clove Road.

                        D.        Next to the High School track on Flandreau Avenue. This, however, is also our finish area, so if you park here you must exercise extreme caution when leaving due to later finishers coming down the street to the track.

4.         Public transportation from NYC:

            There is a Metro North train out of Grand Central at 7:37 then pulls in to New Rochelle at 8:08. A taxi from the station should be about $7. We expect about 30 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 and 12:33.

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: at the start, the 7.5 mile mark (Saxon Woods golf course clubhouse) and the finish.

8.         Water: will be available at only three spots during the race, in addition to the start and finish. These stations are designed to re-fill water bottles or hydration packs. Water will be miles 3.8, 7.5 and 11.

9.         The course closes: with a sweeper discharging police and volunteers and picking up flags, 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: we will have food and fluids, smoothies and massages.  We expect an awards ceremony at 11:30 that will also include some raffles.

Feed-Back: We started with 50 people last year, will have 200 this year, and depending on trail capacity and parking, hope to expand to 350 next year. 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
Breaking the Tape Productions, LLC (Harrison)
JanMar Trophies (New Rochelle)
Cafe Mozart (Mamaroneck)
Robeks (New Rochelle)

Jessie Solorzano, Licensed Massage Therapist (Rye Brook)

Race is filling up

Paine to Pain is rapidly filling up. We have 200 slots available and 70% of those are gone to pre-registrants. While difficult to predict since we are such a new race, it now appears likely that we will sell out in advance of race day.

And my apologies to those that left comments in the past. I’ve never used WordPress before and was unaware the comments had been left.

Fun on Foot – Tons of local trails visited

funonfootI was sent a copy of Fun on Foot to review. Why? Because despite the Colonial Greenway being just one year old, it has already entered the literary sphere.

Is it a stretch to call a book on trails literary? Perhaps. But whatever you call it, you should know that it is chock full of great information and maps on trails throughout the New York metro area. The book covers everything you would want to know about the trails, from transportation to them to available nearby services to, of course, the distances and terrain to be covered.

But it isn’t only filled with useful and up-to-date information, it is also laid out well. As anyone who has ever used a guide book knows, having good information is one thing, and finding it is another. Fun on Foot handles both and handles them well.

So if you are looking to run new trails — or to just take the kids on a local hike in the woods — you’ll find this to be a valuable addition to a home library on things to do and places to go.

And on  bonus note, author Warwick Ford has sent me several copies to raffle off at the end of Paine to Pain. Gotta love that.

Paine Race Track — After the Rain

I ran the Paine to Pain loop both this past weekend and the weekend before as part of Boston prep, both times after a good rain. And the verdict? The trails have some drainage issues, but not enough to keep a runner off them so long as you don’t mind getting a little dirty.

All of the trails that are part of the official race course are navigable after a good rain. The Leatherstocking has some drainage issues in the New Rochelle section that need attention, but small side tracks generally take you around them. The Mamaroneck section is good.

Saxon Woods is almost all good, though it has two notable mud holes where we want to run the race this year, but nothing terrible and easy to skip around. Twin Lakes and Nature Study Woods have the same problems.

So if you were worried that rain would make the trails impassible, it is an unfounded worry. When the trails are dry, they are magnificent. When wet, merely good. And a hell of a lot better than training on the roads.