Colonial Greenway

Colonial Greenway

In my post of yesterday, I referred to the Paine to Pain trail race. (The “Paine” is Thomas Paine. New Rochelle gave him a cottage after the Revolution, and it sits at the bottom of Paine Boulevard. Paine Boulevard is a wonderful road on which to do hill workouts; it almost is too steep to run normally, i.e., a little steeper and you’d have to get up on your toes, and my old club did hill repeats there. That hill appeared twice (at 2 and 12) in the old New Rochelle Half-Marathon, and for those keeping score the New Rochelle HM was the race in which I finished second to John Treacy in 1984, which is the race I mentioned in my “From Last To First” review.)

Anyhow, the trail race starts one block over, up a decent enough hill. That stretch and the final half mile are the only paved portion of the Colonial Greenway course (except for road crossings). So I decided to drive over to see the start and then do my own trail run. And that’s what I did.

View from Twin Lakes Trail

View from Twin Lakes Trail

The race had a very nice turn-out, with over 200 entrants (the race was capped at that). Since one of my former clubs, Sound Shore, is a sponsor, I saw a bunch of my old teammates, either working the race or running it. A musket was fired (in keeping with the colonial theme) and the race headed out, and it was interesting to watch the mass of runners heading up the hill.

I then put in my run, discovering that work had been done on the Twin Lakes trail, including the removal of a bridge (to be replaced) that led me to cross the Hutchinson River (really a small stream at that point) on a plank. The course was nice and wet from yesterday’s rain, but it was in good shape and I ended up getting in 50 minutes or so with lots of mud on my shoes, socks, and legs.

I watched the race finish, although the absence of a volunteer at a key point led me to head out to the course for race-direction purposes. This was interesting. With our humidity, the top finishers were bathed in sweat. And the various running styles was educational as you had your super-smooth guys and those who looked like they couldn’t run twenty yards, let alone 13 miles.

Afterwards, I was tempted. Maybe next year? That would in part depend on the Grete HM, which I would do if I had to choose. But if this race is a week earlier, I might well take it on.

Special kudos to Eric Turkewitz who is the driving force behind this event, as well as the SSRMC members who worked the course and the other volunteers. Last year had a smallish field, and I wondered whether it would expand on its toe-hold. This year it may have crossed the threshold, and the suggestion is that the field might be expanded to 350. Given the paucity of trail, as opposed to cross-country, races in the NYC area, with the others being in the Spring, this may become a quite popular event. 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.

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