[These were the prepared remarks for the pre-race announcements for 2023. I shortened them a bit for the runners sake due to the cold temps. Here is the unshortened version for your warm inside reading pleasure.]
Thank you for coming to the 8th annual Raven Rocks Run! Welcome to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation! Before we get going onto the course, I have a few items to cover briefly. I am Rob Cummings, race director for the Raven Rocks Run.
No birthdays today??? How about yesterday? Tomorrow?
89 (!!) runners joined Friends of Trailside Museum as members – over $5,600 raised. You can still sign up through at the race website’s Friends of Trailside Museum link for 2024 membership.
IMPORTANT — 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 hide some obstacles like roots and rocks. Tread carefully. The course has dried out over the past few days but there are still some muddy spots.
We did some course “grooming” over the past two weeks. Much of it seems to have survived. But rocks, leaves, roots, and other hazards are always 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. Pre-run by Lee, Peeter, Jacob, Scott, Alix, Greg, Steve, Madie, Brett, and other Sunday Runners. I am quite sure they scared the coyotes and 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…. PAST BIB #1s – ALL BUT ONE ARE HERE?
- 2015 — Ciorsdan thank you for helping with the whole event. Always #1 in my heart. I love you babe!
- 2016 — Tony and Judy Godino – hiking the course today? Reverse direction?
- 2017 — Charlie Vaccaro. Mr. Trail Mix – up from Florida for this event.
- 2018 — My parents John and Patricia Cummings – could not be here today but cheering you all on from their home!
- 2019 — Lee Willett – SundayRuns.org keeper of the maps, the compass, and the plan.
- 2021 — Jeff Main, superintendant of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Without his guidance and support, the race does not happen. Jeff is a quiet leader and has a deep history with this park and the Westchester County Park system.
- 2022 – Ed Dee, who won Raven Rocks Run 2021. An always-enthusiastic regular in the sunday runner crew. Ed loves the trails.
- 2023 — Eamonn Sullivan, won this race last year. He keeps getting faster!
THE Trail Mix race directors: Eric, David, Brant, Megan, and Nancy. (Almost all races in series represented here?). Each year it keeps getting better — I will update the Trail Mix website with the 2023 results. If you don’t know what the Trail Mix Series is, check out trailmixseries.org.
Youngest Registered Runners:
- M – Wyatt Nable & Christian Piddington (8)
- F – Julia Scheffler (16)
Highly experienced Runners:
- M – Ed Moore, John Kiselak, Murray Rosenblith, James McEvoy.
- F – Patricia Richards
Leatherman’s Loop – returns in 2024 — For the 36th year — on April 28, 2024. Big Things Planned! Loop Lottery is January 5th-8th – check leathermansloop.org for details.
Final Thank Yous & Acknowledgments:
- Tony and Judy Godino – El Copadre & Comadre “the godfather and godmother” of the East Coast trail racing scene. I wouldn’t be here without their work and enthusiasm. If you look at the roots of the eastern trail races, many trace their roots back to their events from the 1980s.
- Sunday Runners, many are volunteers here. Thanks for keeping the trails well traveled!
- Parks department – Jeff, Chase, Mike, Michael, Jake, Bobby, and the rest of the crew who are so supportive of what we do.
- Tom Cohn – 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 – Thank for your support of the Museum and Park!
- Cecilia Soprano – amichiart.com – designed the t-shirt. And she designed the 2018-2022 shirts 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 are ready to help.
- Race volunteers – CORAL COLORED t-shirts – thanks to them we get to have a race!
OK, now for the start! (JIM – is the timer ready?)
Introduce Todd Henrich – Pinhoti 100 mile trail race finisher last week (in Alabama) who will do the starting honors and give me 30 seconds to get into position at about 100 meters downfield to photograph this magnificent crowd.
—Ready, Set, Go! ………. And they’re off!