2021 Raven Rocks Run Recap

2021 Raven Rocks Run start in the Meadow Field at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

On Sunday morning November 14, 2021, over 300 runners ran the sixth annual Raven Rocks 10k Trail Run at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

Race Day Recap

The weather was chilly upon organizers arrival, with temperatures in the high 20’s. However, the sun soon came out and the sun warmed up the day.

The main event tent was set up on the Wednesday before the race, but fierce storms with high winds on both Friday and Saturday put an end to that plan, knocking over the tent and damaging some of the rigging. A crew was on standby ready to to an Amish Tent Raising at the crack of dawn on Sunday if necessary. But we ended up not needing the large shelter on race day due to the sunny weather. We had registration underneath some pop up market tents and the food and drink was open air.

Over 300 runners finished the 6th running of the Raven Rocks 10k course. Thanks to everyone who came out to run, volunteer, and cheer.

Runner Recap

Edmond Dee of New Rochelle, NY came in first in the men’s division with a time of 49:45. Christopher Irwin of Cortlandt Manon was close behind at 49:52 after coming in 3rd in 2019. Jacob Benesch of New York, NY was third with a time of 50:49.

Edmond Dee celebrates as he reaches the finish line.

Joelle Reeves of Brooklyn was first overall in the women’s division with a time of 51:38. Madeline Villalba (55:14) of New York, NY was second and Lindsey Felling (57:24) of Fairfield, CT came in third.

Joelle Reeves smiles as she gets to the finish line.

Kase Atkinson of Cross River was the youngest male runner at 11 years old.

Miriam Wilson of Pound Ridge was the youngest female runner at 13 years old, finishing in 1:15:20 as a first-time runner in this race.

Youngest female finisher Miriam Wilson (13) flanked by her brother Byron and her dad Jack.

Rob Fryer (1:20:44) of New Caanan was the oldest male finisher on the day at 74 years young.

Kelly Heller of Rockville, MD was the oldest female finisher at 68 years young.

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 from 9am-2pm!)

Prize table showing off the Dutch Desserts pies.

Essential Helpers

At the start line of the race during pre-race announcements, parks superintendant Jeff Main was awarded Bib #1 for his help at the park with all things race and trail related. Especially the post race amenities like the fire pit and picnic tables among MANY other things he gets accomplished for this race and the Leatherman’s Loop.

Dave Cope, Tony Godino (Leatherman’s Loop founders) with Jeff Main, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation park superintendant.

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

The Cobweb Crew

The Cobweb Crew is our early race morning volunteer run crew who know the course and 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!

The 2021 edition of the Cobweb Crew™ – making courses safe and correct for 3 years running!

One member of the 2021 cobweb crew – Jacob Benesch (red jacket in photo above)- ran the course TWICE before the race. And then came in 3RD OVERALL in the race itself. Then Jacob continued as we were awarding runner prizes and ran the course two more times for a total of 5 Raven Rocks 10ks on the day. Jacob earned his “Raven Rockstar” badge that day — and established it as a new badge for the November Raven 100k Challenge.

Start of the 2021 race – view from above.

Course Recap

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.

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.

The Trail Mix Series – Back in 2022!

The Raven Rocks Run 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 including links to all of the races shown above.

Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

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

Ninety-three participants to date joined as members raising over $7,900.00 for the Museum in the form of memberships. The most popular membership level runners picked to join at was the $100 Wood Turtle level with 51 memberships at that level. Wood Turtle and above comes with a parking pass for entry into the park for all of 2021.

You can still join the Friends of Trailside and Ward Pound Ridge for 2022 through the Raven Rocks race website which will be processing memberships through January 15, 2022! (click here!). Your membership $ goes directly to the Friends group and is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Leatherman Harriers Sunday Runners

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!

Many of the Leatherman Harriers Sunday Runners (sundayruns.org) at Raven Rocks 2021. The group is a welcoming one with running abilities spanning the full range from a Rookie Runner program to the speedy 2021 race winner (Edmund Dee, shown pre-race with his bib on!)
Bib & shirt pickup registration volunteers

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.

Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps crew at the 2021 Raven Rocks Run – BIG Thank You to all of the volunteers who spent their time with us on race morning.

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

Thanks again for coming out to run and volunteer! See you on the trails…

….. Rob Cummings, Raven Rocks Run race director

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