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

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.