Warm and muggy, with copious sweat and exhaustion. Yup. That is exactly the image any trail runner wants memorialized in a photo for the wall or Facebook. I know I would. Except that I didn’t run it because I was sitting on a lounge chair being fed grapes and fanned by scantily clad servants. You think it’s easy being Race Director?
OK, I digressed, but that image was worth it, no?
Lucky for you we got the real deal on images, as our race photogs from Sport-Memories were out there on the course again for the 4th year in a row. They came armed with hi-res digital cameras, as you would expect from any quality shop, and they’ll pretty much make anything you want. Though printing your image on a servant may be asking too much. (I tried.)
And yes, a portion of the proceeds will go toward maintenance of the trails.
We had the photographers at the following places, hoping to catch as much of the drama (and facial expressions) as possible: The start line, the Leatherstocking Trail, Saxon Woods, the finish line, the pre and post-race gatherings and the awards.
Most photographs are indexed by bib numbers, but there are some in the “lost and found” since some numbers weren’t always visible: because they weren’t on yet, had already been removed, were covered mid-race, or they’d been eaten by a hungry runner. Yeah, another image.
The Rock Club — the top rock climbing gym in the NYC area;
New Rochelle Chevrolet — whose Corvette pace car burned rubber up Broadview;
Westchester Road Runner — the top running store in Westchester; and
Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital — there when you need it.
If you see me on the trails, don’t forget to say hi.
I always like doing this post, because the idea of a little running club putting on a big trail race is a rewarding challenge, and the reviewers let us know if we’ve pulled it off.
This page is not static. The comments are open, I’ve added additional selections that came via email (with permission), and I’ll provide links to other blog posts if I find them.
Having already done my own race recap, let’s see what other folks had to say, without being overly narcissistic about it:
Thank you to all of the volunteers, staff, sponsors, community members and racers who came together to make this event happen again.
After hearing about Paine to Pain for years, I am so glad I finally got to run it.
It’s the most organized and communal feeling running event I’ve ever been to and the organizers should be proud.
See you all next year! (Bobby Asher, Mens’ 2014 Champion)
The trails were perfect, the walkways so new and great, and the support along the course was a 10 out of 10! Ending in the stadium is always a blast! You did a fantastic job! Next year please work on the humidity . . . (Caroline Goldmacher-Kern, via email)
Such a wonderful event! A hard race, but loads of fun! Will be back next year. (Zhen Liu, via Facebook)
Boy! That was my first half on a trail and I struggled, a lot, but I had so much fun and enjoyed every bit of this experience. Big thanks to all the volunteers who patiently waited to cheer all the runners, and to those who worked tirelessly to organize this race. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do the unthinkable and scream my heart out at the finish line. (Arpit Gupta, via Facebook)
I just wanted to take the time to thank you for making my first half marathon the greatest experience! This was one of the most challenging things I have ever done but also the most rewarding. You guys are awesome and just wanted to let you know! Hearing my name called crossing the finish line was an amazing experience so thank you for that! (Ashley Lepino, via email)
Once again, I would like to thank you for a wonderful event. There isn’t another race on the planet – let alone a half marathon! – that I would consider entering having run only 4 days following a 6 week injury layoff. Ultimately the fact that I hadn’t run over 1 hour since June came back to bite me from mile 9 (ish) to the finish (ish), but I still had a great time.
I ran this race for a variety of reasons. First and foremost – you have always been exceedingly welcoming and accommodating to me. During my 2 years in Flagstaff, AZ, both you and Matt Lewis made sure that a.) I was aware when the race would be and that I was more than welcome, and b.) you went out of your way in 2012 to send me a race shirt and my number. When I left New Rochelle in 2011 as the course record holder I certainly felt proud; when 2012 came around I felt like family. Gestures such as this aren’t lost on me… (Matt Walsh, 2011 champ, course record holder, profiled in Runner’s World)
Best. Race. Shirt. Ever.
As usual, an A+ event.
Thanks Eric, your team, ALL the volunteers, and runners. (Dan Tower, via Facebook)
I had great time at race today. My 1st trail 1/2 marathon. Thank you all! (Annica Lin, via Facebook)
thanks for a great run today! it was our first time doing this trail race, but it won’t be our last:) we loved everything about it from the challenging, beautiful course to the amazing volunteers, and the fun finish around the track. wonderful organization. this will be on our yearly calendar as long as you have it!!!! (Charlotte Johnson, via Facebook)
Always the toughest, most fun, race of my running year. And, oh, my aching Achilles! Carried off the infield of the NewRo HS track on Sunday, hobbling on two crutches the next two days, down to one crutch for the two days after that, now (Friday) with the swelling starting to subside, sign me up for 2015! (Damon Maher via email)
Congrats on another great year. You and your staff and volunteers absolutely get it right. (Gerry Sullivan, 2008 Champ, 2x runner-up, who ran a warm-up lap before the race.)
This was the most organized, well communicated race I ever ran. I loved all the prerace emails. Even the signs as I pulled off the ramp from 95 were so helpful. Then I thought the course must be easy because so many people were running. It wasn’t easy! (Lorie Sheinwald, in the recap comments)
Thank you to all the police officers and volunteers who kept us safe! And made me laugh, I’m talking to you volunteer in the sombrero!! (more at Meggies Journey blog)
Another great race is now in the books. Thanks, again, for adding the whole rain forest theme on top of the challenging terrain. And, thanks to all of the volunteers and sponsors! (Jay Radner via Facebook)
I know I say the same thing every year, but here it goes one more time. Nothing but thanks and admiration to everyone involved in putting the Paine to Pain Half on. The volunteers, the sponsors, the local communities and the police. What a great, “small” race. The hometown feel from the local restaurants to the New Ro cheerleaders really makes it feel like home. Eric, take a well deserved rest. You put on quite the event again. I’m already looking forward to next year. Just let me know when we register. (Jim Aiello, via Facebook, who is first to register every year and has already done so for 2015)
thanks for a great race yesterday! i grew up in westchester and never knew abt those trails-i’ll be back! (Kimberly Behrman, via Twitter)
From the Preview Run two weeks before the race: even though it was my first time on those trails, i run on the roads that bisect the course practically every weekend. to say it was an eye opening experience to see what great trail running (a good mix of hills, single track, and technical terrain) was literally just a few feet off the main roads would be an understatement. (Run Dangerously blog)
Awesome race! First half marathon…first trail…still on a high!! Loved the personal touches throughout! (Suzanne Dolan, via Facebook)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is my favorite race. Many thanks to you Eric and to all the volunteers.(Jason Kelly via Facebook)
I’ve been struggling to get this race on my calendar since 2008! First time today & I couldn’t be happier; challenging but fair course, fantastic volunteers, unmatched post-race festival. Can’t wait for next year (Tim Guscott,via Facebook)
But this was an amazing course! It reminded me about why I love running the trails every once in a while and the fact that these trails are in my neck of the woods is a huge bonus.
I run many races that give the finishers medals and while I have earned every one, there is that occasional medal that holds more weight and this is one of them. (Scoops on the Run blog)
Thanks for another great year! My favorite run out of the 100s I run regularly. This year the wave starts were terrific and worked out well. Volunteers are always awesome. Thanks so much for doing this each year. (Carolyn Murphy, in the comments)
As always, the best local race I’ve ever run. Can’t wait for 2015 in not 90% humidity. (Josh Lieberson,via Facebook)
What an amazing event. It was different, hard and I had a blast. See you again next year. (Erika Rodriguez, via Facebook)
Great race! Thank you to Eric and all those that helped make this event so great. The challenge and camaraderie can’t be found anywhere else. (Neil McClure, via Facebook)
Thanks to all the volunteers who help to make this a success every year! It was a great race…hard, but great! (Heather Metz, via Facebook)
The comments here are open if you’d like to add more…
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”
So said the Tom Hanks character to the Geena Davis one in A League of Their Own as a player wanted to quit the game.
Was this year’s edition of Paine to Pain hard with the 200% humidity? Well I didn’t run it this year, I watched you.
But 2x Badwater champ Pam Reed came up to me after the race. “That was hard.”
It made me smile. We didn’t call this the Buttercup Classic, after all.
But the question is why? Why would we race through the woods to the point of exhaustion, and perhaps beyond? Isn’t sitting on the couch with a beer and chips quite a bit easier?
Is it the little kid in all of us that wants to run with abandon through the forests?
Or is it because running is an exceptionally primal activity, particularly in the woods? Is this, perhaps, a couple million years of evolution at work? Sleep, make babies and run through the woods to catch our food? Are we seeing a little bit of that whole Born to Run thing in action?
And it makes us feel alive. Invigorated. With a pounding heart, screaming legs and sweat pouring off the body. Part of the living breathing world. Very much a counterpoint to the day-to-day, artificial air environment in which so many of us work and live.
I waited at the finish line for you after sending you up Broadview on your journey. The Rock Club tent was chock full of climbing gear and fun. Massage therapists (Thanks Tony!), local restaurants, Hudson Milk, New Rochelle Chevy, REI…waiting…waiting…waiting. We watched the young ‘uns come tearing into the track from their one-miler, led by a crew of kid pacers from the Tailwind Track Club, to finish in the same place you would. I got continued updates about where you were from our WECA ham operators out on the course.
And then we heard the roar of the cheerleaders! Our winner, Bobby Asher, flew from the woods into the home stretch, made the turn into the stadium, swooped through the final turn and took top podium honors. He was followed closely by Miguel Cuaya and Luis Francisco taking second and third respectively. (All results)
Incredibly, despite the warm temps and soupy humidity, Francisco set a new course record in the exceptionally deep men’s 40-49 group with his 1:24:18, besting his own prior record by over two minutes. And Kevin Shelton-Smith seemed to scalp 8 seconds off the course record for men’s 50-59 set in our first year — though it was actually more impressive than that since the course that first year was a few hundreds yards too short and was subsequently lengthened.
Trail newbie Hope Sanders took top prize for the women, with strides that looked effortless. Easy. Though we knew otherwise. She was followed to the Fin-ish line banner by Bethany Brown and Clare Marsigliano. And we saw a new course record for the women’s 50-59 group, with Jennifer Darnell besting the old course record by over five minutes.
And then I watched you all chow down on gazpacho from Roasted Peppers, fresh baked bread from AJ’s Burgers, pasta from Modern, sandwiches from Cafe Mozart, and fruit from Stop & Shop. And maybe the water from DeCicco’s and soda from Zevia went down a little bit quicker yesterday than usual?
Sanders and Asher both get, in addition to their engraved tankards, and some incoming top-end hydration vests from Salomon Sports, a free ticket to Paine to Pain for as long as I am Race Director. All others that were awarded tankards — either overall or in age groups — should keep an eye on their mail in the coming weeks for a package from Salomon.
It started with Jillian Perrius turning a cartwheel down the home stretch in 2010. In 2011 Kristin Iversen Koch flashed me a big smile over bloody knees when I saw her in the finish area. In 2012, it went to Todd Esposito who flew in from Ukraine for this race. And in 2013 to Erica Weisberg who gave up 15 minutes of her time mid-race to help another runner who’d become injured.
While it’s tempting to give a couple of unnamed runners the award for their fashionable bloody-nipple addition to their race shirts, those efforts were merely second best to this year’s winner, Michelle Robotham. But you won’t find Michelle, a veteran P2Per, as a registrant this year due to a knee injury. She volunteered, but then came through in a most unexpected way.
It seems traffic had not been blocked on one of the local streets leading to the home stretch, and cars were pouring through onto the course. Knowing the neighborhood well, Michelle just took charge, blocked traffic with her body, and stared down some pissed off drivers while directing them to use an alternative side street until a properly appointed blue uniform with badge and actual authority came to take control.
I love the unexpected. And I love to see the injured get back on their feet and out on the trails again. If her doctor gives her the A-OK next year, Michelle comes back as our guest.
And if you’d like to see what others have written about the race, see this page of collected reviews and comments.
This year four local restaurants will join us at the finish line, so you are not stuck with rubbery bagels after you’ve cooled down:
- Modern Restaurant (New Rochelle) – cold pastas
- Roasted Peppers (Mamaroneck) – gazpacho
- Café Mozart (Mamaroneck) – sandwiches
- AJ’s Burgers (New Rochelle) – freshly baked bread
This, of course, is in addition to the fresh fruit coming courtesy of Stop & Shop.
Do we treat you right, or what?
Our food sponsors join another new sponsor, Salomon Running, who will have some extra race day swag for our more talented runners.
And don’t forget the kids’ 1-mile race (and shorter for the smaller ones), coordinated by Tailwind Running Club while P2P is in progress. This is a family affair. And there ain’t no charge!
Haven’t registered yet? Waiting for the Wussies Penalty Rate to kick in?
You can also follow ongoing details on Facebook and Twitter (@PaineToPain).
NewRo Runners, the group that organizes the Paine to Pain Trail Half Marathon, will host a preview run of the course on September 23rd at 8 am. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early so that we can start promptly.
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, at the Saxon Woods Golf Club, which has bathrooms as well, and 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 marked.
- 10 miles — Stay with the group until we head south down the Hutchinson River Trail (after passing the water stop) and then bail out when at Pinebrook Boulevard. This is the same street we started on, but two miles away. Then run 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.
And our thanks again to our gold level sponsors: