Month: November 2019

2019 Recap

2019 Raven Rocks Run start

On Sunday morning November 10, 2019, nearly 250 runners ran the fifth annual Raven Rocks 10k Trail Run at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

The weather was a bit cold at the start, with temperatures in the high 30’s. However, the sun was out and the crowd was feeling the warmth.

Runners who had done Raven Rocks before knew they would soon be warmed up by their race effort, especially the early climb. Finishing runners were welcomed back at the tent with hot coffee, hot chocolate, bagels, bananas, and s’mores over a hot fire.

Overall men’s winner Justin Lubeley at around the 4 mile mark climbing up the fire tower hill.

Justin Lubeley of Darien, CT came in first in the men’s division with a time of 46:21. Justin came in 2nd in the 2018 Raven Rocks Run and improved his time by around 1:40. Chris Sina-Jessiman (46:48) of Brooklyn was second after coming in 3rd in 2018. and Christopher Irwin (47:20) of Cortlandt Manor was third.

Overall women’s winner Lindsey Felling just before crossing the finish line at Raven Rocks 2019.

Lindsey Felling of Larchmont repeated as first overall in the women’s division with a time of 51:36. Christina Thomson (55:50) of New Canaan was second and Phillippa Keast (56:06) of Tuckahoe came in third.

Youngest male runner Kase Atkinson keeping warm before the start.

Kase Atkinson of Cross River was the youngest male runner at 9 years old.

Youngest female runner Rita Haitoff – for the second year in a row!

Rita Haitoff of Katonah was the youngest female runner at 10 years old, finishing in 1:37:07 lopping nearly 8 minutes off her time from last year. 1:44:57.

Ed Moore (1:14:37) of Cos Cob was the oldest finisher on the day at 69 years young.

A trio of ladies including Heidi Johnston, Trish Gallagher, and Amy Marrazzo tied for the most experienced female runner recognition. Heidi won the F50 age category too!

Some other notable top local finishers include the Randolph twins, Helena and Julia (1:10:27 and 1:22:25) of Mt. Kisco who took first and third in the 14-18 year old age group. Bill Bradsell (52:27) of Bedford beat Todd Henrich (52:57) of South Salem in the men’s 50-59 category and kept his 3 year Raven Rocks M50 win streak intact.

Three pie winners after the finish.

Prizes for the overall winners and age group winners are a range of tart-style pies from local farmer’s market favorite Dutch Desserts (Key information: Dutch Desserts is a vendor at the Pleasantville farmer’s market on Saturdays!)

Lee Willett picking up his Bib #1 for the 2019 race.

The race was started this year by South Salem resident and Sunday Runs Chief navigator Lee Willett who was awarded Bib #1 for his tireless work on behalf of the area trail running community.

The 2019 edition of the Cobweb Crew™ – making courses safe and correct for 3 years running!

Lee also checked the course with the rest of the Cobweb Crew early race morning to make sure the pink course markings were still up and leading the runners to the right places. Many of these cobweb crew runners also ran the race – making their day a 20k!

Coming off of the covered bridge at mile 0.3 on the course.

The course – which is run entirely on the trails of the reservation — starts in the large meadow about a quarter-mile into the park. It follows trails up through the covered bridge to the Michigan Road campground where it delves deep into the 4,300 acres of the park. The halfway point is the east-facing Raven Rocks overlook, where the race got its name.

Runners descend again before climbing back up to the highest point in the park, the location of the former (and future!) fire tower.

Chris Cassone put the Rock in the Raven at the 2019 race!

Awaiting runners at the top of the climb was our very own Raven Rocker Chris Cassone jamming on the six-string. We hope it made your climb more enjoyable. Chris had a blast! You can view yourself and other runners on GoPro video with Chris’ soundtrack in the background.

Runners then head back down on the blue trail to the sledding spot on Pell Hill. The final half-mile is along the Cross River back to the Meadow finish line.

Many runners have called it one of hardest 10k races out there because of the hilly terrain and the narrow trails. The course has over 1,000 feet of elevation gain and features a cliffside run, miles of single-track trails, a rock scramble, plus beautiful meadow runs.

Raven Rocks is part of a series of local trail races called the Trail Mix Series.

Some of the other races in the series are the Leatherman’s Loop (Cross River), Run The Farm (Katonah), the Sarah Bishop Bushwhack (North Salem), Where the Pavement Ends (Ridgefield), A Mild Sprain (Yonkers), and Paine to Pain (New Rochelle). The Trail Mix Series website has more information: trailmixseries.org.

In addition to running a race, runners were also able to join the Friends of Trailside when they signed up.

Fifty-seven runners to date joined as members raising over $4,100.00 for the Museum in the form of memberships. The most popular membership level runners picked to join at was the $100 Wood Turtle level, which comes with a parking pass for entry into the park for all of 2020.

You can still join the Friends of Trailside and Ward Pound Ridge for 2020 through the Raven Rocks race website which will be processing memberships through January! (click here!). Your membership $ goes directly to the Friends group and is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

A team of runners known as the Leatherman Harriers Sunday Runners are key volunteers at the race.

Many of these volunteers also meet up to run the trails in northern Westchester year-round. These volunteers set the course, staff the water station, handle registration, pre-run the course, sweep to make sure no injured runners are on the course, and clean up any traces after the run. We could not put on the event without them – THANK YOU!

In addition, The Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation led by Jeff Main at the park and helped by Mike, Chase, Kevin, Bobby and the rest of the crew are essential to the success of the race.

Last but certainly not least, the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps provided a standby team of volunteer EMS personnel and an ambulance just in case they are needed.

In addition the Pound Ridge Volunteer Fire Department had a rescue crew ready to go in case of any trail emergencies. Thankfully there were just minor bumps and bruises this year.

Proceeds go to Friends of Trailside, LVAC, and other local not-for-profits.

2019 Photos

We have posted photos from our fantastic team of volunteer photographers here: https://leathermansloop.smugmug.com/Raven-Rocks-Run/2019

Thanks to photographers Carol GordonLee WillettMichael Rodgers, Michelle Blum, Chris Reinke, John Cummings (my dad!), Gene Leeds, Sawyer Cummings, and Rob Cummings.

There’s plenty of room for more photos if you want to share yours at our runner upload gallery here: https://leathermansloop.smugmug.com/upload/c7Rm4X/2019 — Big thanks to our runners and other volunteers who uploaded photos so far.

2019 Start Line Annoucements

In case you missed them or want a recap, these are the starting announcements (as typed) from the 2019 Raven Rocks Run.

Thank you for coming to the 5th annual Raven Rocks Run! Before we get going onto the course, I wanted to say hello – I am your race director Rob Cummings. I have a few items to cover briefly. 

Happy Birthday to Corrie Pikul (44) and Adam Wapniak (41)!

57 of you joined Friends of Trailside Museum as members – over $4,100.00. You can still sign up through January 15, 2020 at the race website’s Trailside Museum link.

Fantastic News! Just last week we got funding commitments from NY State and Westchester County Officials that will officially begin the return of the Cross River Mountain Fire Tower to the Rez. Thank you to Tom Cohn who has been a tireless advocate for bringing back this tower to the park. Thank you all out there for helping with your words and letters of encouragement over the years. It makes a difference for sure.

LAYERS. If you have layers on now and you get to the campground (about 1 mile in) and you want to leave your outer layer, we will have volunteers collecting them in bins and returning them to the finish area for you to pick up at the end of your race.

  • Start taking your layers off at the sand hill. We will be waiting at the bottom of the meadow to collect them.

THE COURSE. The course carries hazards. The leaves can be slick in spots and the wet fall season and especially rain in the last few days have left some wet spots on the trail. 

We did some course “grooming” over the past two weeks (shout out to Paul Woolley who went above and beyond with raking between Raven Rocks and the Fire Tower climb!). Rocks, leaves, and other hazards are a natural part of the trail. Take care and take those rocky downhills slowly. The uphills you can go fast on.

Course markings are pink flags, pink ribbon, and one spot with yellow caution tape (that’s the RAVEN ROCKS OVERLOOK) to keep you going on the right trail. Pre-run by Joe, Lee, Peeter, Jeff, Jacob, Lars, and many others. I am quite sure they scared the bears away.

SWEEPS. Sweeps will be following along behind the runners. If you can’t continue, stay on the course and the sweeps will catch up to you and send for help if you need it. They have cell phones, sweep maps, and LVAC contact info. 

After runners finish we will have awards near the tent. Please stick around — you may go home with a prize! 

THANK YOUS at the start:

“Little things, big impacts”

Wanted to pause for a bit to recognize our friend Mark Vincent who passed away over the summer. Mark was there the second week of the Sunday Runs group in 2010 before it even had a name. At the time I had only started it to be a 9 week training group leading up to the 2010 Leatherman’s Loop

At the last run before the Loop in 2010 Mark pulled me aside and said “Hey are you gonna continue the sunday runs?” It was a small thing at the time and I said I thought that was a great idea. I said I’d keep it up — as long as people kept coming. Here we are TEN years later. Mark was the catalyst – he asked a simple question, and many many races, runs, and good times, were born and continue to emerge from that group and the members’ enthusiasm for trail running: Sarah Bishop, A Mild Sprain, Raven Rocks, Kisco 5k, Running Goddess, and others. The Trail Mix Series itself probably would not exist without that question. 

Little things can have big impacts. Try to spread good in the world. Do the little things. Be the catalyst.

PAST BIB #1s – ALL HERE!

  • Ciorsdan thank you for helping with the whole event. She was a past BIB #1 recipient and is always #1 in my heart. I love you babe! 
  • Shout out to Tony and Judy Godino (Bib #1s too!) – they will be hiking the course today. Reverse direction? 
  • Shout out to Charlie Vaccaro (Past BIB #1!!!) who is the only runner to finish all Trail Mix races to date (32! over 6 years – this will be #33). 
  • And my parents John and Patricia Cummings – who are our fourth past bib #1. They are always making time for their kids and grandkids events and accomplishments and they are here today!

Lee Willett – #1 BIB for 2019

  • Lee leads the Leatherman Harriers Sunday Runners group on weekly runs, night runs, snow runs, make your own course runs, all over Westchester, and occasionally farther afield.
  • If you have a trail running group, get in touch — we could be convinced to make a field trip to your favorite spot or race! Sundayruns.org
  • Cobweb crew founder – thanks to Lee, Peeter, Joe, Jeff, Lars, Jacob, etc. for making sure the trail is still well marked in the pre-run dawn.

THE Trail Mix race directors: Tony, Lee, Barry, Eric, David, Brant, Megan, and Geoff. (Almost all races in series represented here?) Sixth year of the Series. Each year it keeps getting better. After today nearly 100 Runners are in line for the well deserved automatic selection in the Loop Lottery 2020! If you don’t know what the Trail Mix Series is, check out trailmixseries.org. If you don’t know what the Leatherman’s Loop is, ask the person next to you!

Youngest Runners:

  • M – Kase Atkinson (9)
  • F – Rita Haitoff (10)

Oldest Registered Runners:

  • M – Ed Moore ; Tony Godino
  • F – Carrie Barratt ; Judy Godino

5 runners have done 6 RACES TO DATE in the Trail Mix 2019 and all are signed up for Raven Rocks (are you all here?): 

Jacob Benesch, Bryan Wujcik, Gerard Mattia, Andrew Chasen and Charles Vaccaro — who has never missed a Trail Mix race!

Final Thank Yous:

  • Sunday Runners, many are volunteers here. Thanks for keeping the trails well traveled!
  • Parks department – Jeff, Chase, Mike, and the rest of the crew who are so supportive of what we do. 
  • Tom Cohn – past president of the Friends of Trailside and THE driving force behind the newly energized “bring back the fire tower” effort. Big supporter of this race and runners.
  • Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation – Thanks for your support of the Museum and Park!
  • Cecilia Sopranoamichiart.com – designed the t-shirt. And she did last year’s shirt as well as all of the Run the Farm shirts since 2014. 
  • LVAC – Volunteers all of them. What a great group of community members. They will take care of you if you should need it. Hopefully you meet them after you have crossed the finish line and are having a bagel & coffee.
  • PRVFD – All volunteers as well. If you get into trouble on the course they will be there to help.
  • Race volunteers – BLUE t-shirts – thanks to them we get to have a race!

OK, now for the start! 

—LEE is our official starter (hand off mic)

Ready, Set, Go! ………. And they’re off! 

2019 Results Posted

We have posted the 2019 results here: http://ravenrocksrun.org/results/2019-results/.

Thanks runners for making this a great day and thanks to our volunteers for pitching in and making it happen.

We are working on a recap of the day and have started to get photos and video organized and uploaded. Check back at this page later tonight for the recap link and refresh the 2019 photos link to see more as we upload.

Our photographers do a great job! Today Michelle, Chris, Ciorsdan, Carol, Lee, Sawyer, Gene, and Michael, took photos and video — plus thanks to all of the runners who submitted photos and share them online. (upload yours to this album!)

Race Day 2019 Is Here!

 Welcome to the 5th Annual Raven Rocks Run!

Same Day Registration starts at 7:15am under the tent.

Cash or checks only please.

Some helpful links:

Logistics

Directions • Course Map

Photos • Upload Your Photos

And if you haven’t yet joined the

Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation,

you can do it now by clicking here:

https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/NY/CrossRiver/RavenRocksRun
Fire tower returning! Read more about it here.

Replica of the Fire Tower commissioned by Tom Cohn five years ago to help generate interest and enthusiasm in the project.

Raven Rocks 2019 Set for Tomorrow!

Click or press image to go to registration page.

The Raven Rocks Run is set to go tomorrow at 9am. See our Logistics Note for advice on getting to the park and getting oriented once you arrive.

Race organizers are at the park today doing the final prep work and fine tuning the course for our Sunday morning start.

Register

There is Last Minute Online Registration available until 6pm today if you are deciding late to run – sign up now and make tomorrow morning easier for yourselves and us! 😉 If you want to sign up for the race on race day, we open same day registration from 7:15 – 8:45am.

Note if you are running tomorrow and want to have an extra layer for the start but then want to peel it off (after that first big hill!), we will have volunteers at Michigan Road (1 mile into the course) who can collect your outer layers in a bin and will return them to the finish line area under the tent for you to pick up after you finish.

This year the Raven Rocks Run will feature one course change — Runners will head out from the start as usual, but will cross the Covered Bridge heading up Michigan Road and run up the meadow on the left side of Michigan Road which is part of the new CB (Covered Bridge) trail loop. The trail goes left into the woods near the farmhouse where the Westchester County Wildlife Conservationist office is. It joins up with the remaining Raven Rocks course at the Michigan Road sand hill. From there the course is the same as last year.

This change does not affect the the course distance by much, but it eliminates some elevation change so it will potentially be a faster start (and race). Everyone gets a course PR on Sunday!

See you on the trails!

–Rob

The Fire Tower is Returning!

We have some fantastic news to share: Funding has been secured to begin the design and engineering work needed to bring back the Cross River Mountain Fire Tower in Pound Ridge, NY! (See course map for location of tower – near Water Stop.)

Many of you know the original name of this race was the Fire Tower 10k, but we changed the name to Raven Rocks Run after it was brought to our attention that approval might not be given for a race with that ambitious name 5 years ago. 

Photo taken in 1970 of the Aeromotor Company Model #LS-40 Fire Tower in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

The Raven Rocks Run was conceived and founded to help bring attention and resources to the effort to bring the Fire Tower back to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Nine years after the fire tower effort began, and five years after the race was founded, these efforts have paid off.

The credit is mostly due to the persistence and passion of Tom Cohn, former president of the Friends of Trailside Museum, who was our official race starter 2 years ago. Tom has not wasted an opportunity to bend any willing ear to share with  them his dream project. 

Peter Harckham announces the state and county funding for the fire tower restoration project State Senator Peter Harckham on October 29, 2019 at the WPA Gallery at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, NY. He is addressing the crowd about the Cross River Mountain Fire Tower project and the funding he and others have secured at the state and county level. Behind him, left to right, is Westchester County Film and Tourism Director Natasha Caputo, Fire Tower evangelist Tom Cohn, County Executive George Latimer, and County Legislator Kitley Covill. Seated in the front row are Supervisors Kevin Hansen, Peter Parsons, and Chris Burdick from the towns of Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, and Bedford.

New York State Senator Peter Harckham was at the Rez on Tuesday, October 29th to announce NY State funding of $100,000 for engineering and design work to bring back the Tower. Westchester County Executive George Latimer was also there along with District 2 Legislator Kitley Covill — they announced a matching $100,000 from Westchester County to keep the project moving. Town Supervisors from Bedford, Pound Ridge, and Lewisboro were also in attendance and in support.

Check the News12 video story on the announcement here: http://westchester.news12.com/story/41244751/state-grants-dollar100k-to-build-new-fire-tower-at-ward-pound-ridge-reservation

The design and engineering phase will start early next year after 2020 budgets have been passed. Design and engineering will take about 12 months before anything can get started with holes in the ground — but the project finally has the blessing, funding, and public support from the state and county to move forward and get it done. 

Replica of the Fire Tower commissioned by Tom Cohn five years ago to help generate interest and enthusiasm in the project.

We are excited to have the Raven Rocks Run go by the restored fire tower in a couple of years. I hope you are too!

In the meantime, get ready to run the trails next weekend – Race Date November 10th! And good luck to any of our runners who will be running the NYC Marathon this coming weekend!

….Rob, Ciorsdan, and the rest of the Raven Rocks Run Volunteers