Category: News

A Very Raven November

We are planning for a Raven-filled November.

First – we are planning for a return of the 2021 Raven Rocks Run on Sunday, November 14, 2021 starting at 9am – assuming we can get approval and permits from Westchester County Parks. The race will follow all county protocols in place.

Second – we plan to reprise the Raven 100k Challenge we started last year with your enthusiastic support. This will include the challenge “woodallions” (updated 2021 design!) and achievement badges (featuring some new badges for 2021!)

The format of the Raven 100k November Challenge will be similar to last year. There will be achievement badges, a trail hunt, photo ops, plus 200k and 300k tiers in addition to the 100k month goal. This is because everyone likes to run far and get rewards! More details and twists to follow.

We will enable registration for both events at the same time – or you can register for only one. We will announce registration via email and social media. If you want to get on our email list, sign up here.

The events will – as always – be supporting the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation as well as the years-long effort restore the Fire Tower back at its former spot atop the Cross River Mountain.

The Raven Rocks course will be lightly marked from Veteran’s Day Thursday, November 11th through Saturday, November 13th. It will be fully marked on race day November 14th.

More information as we get closer to the Fall. If you have questions, please contact us.

Thanks & see you on the trails!

….Rob Cummings, Raven Rocks Race director

Last Caw

Get your results and badges in — or let us know if you are having trouble getting it to us.

Thanks!

Raven Wrap Up (Almost)

Hello all who participated in the Raven 100k Challenge!

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December

Thanks everyone for making this a fun month-long event. I am currently working on tallying the results and badge claims.

I need your help to finish it up.

Below is how I have things with participants, distances, and badges as of now.

Note: If your name does NOT appear in this list you have to submit your distance to the https://runsignup.com/ravenrocks/results page.

If you are on this list but your badges are not there you have to make your badge claims on this form https://ravenrocksrun.org/raven-100k-challenge-badge-submission-form/

Scroll right >> to see more >> search >> (or download/view PDF here)

So… there are potentially two important things for you to do:

  • If you completed the Raven 100k Challenge and have not posted your results yet to https://runsignup.com/ravenrocks/results yet you are not going to receive a finisher woodallion. That would be a tragedy worthy of an Edgar Allen Poe work.

Thanks for following up with this!

Once we have the woodallions etched we will send them out to you (along with a shirt if you ordered one) via mail, via meetup at a trailhead, or pony express.

-Rob

Last Day to Run The Raven 100k November Challenge!

This November was perfect for running, walking, or hiking! So many possible days to get out and enjoy the outdoors – or stay inside and get a treadmill run in. There was Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, and Election Day. Plus this November had FIVE Sundays for going long. 

Many of you took advantage and then some. Watching the challenge distances get higher and higher I got a bit of vertigo. Wow! 

Some instructions for final steps for the challenge… reporting in your distances, your badges, and some other stuff:

  • Please have your distances entered by December 4th. I have to get the distances to the company doing the custom laser cutting of the Raven 100k Challenge “woodallions” and in order to turn them around so I can get them out to you we have to have a cut off day!
  • If you want your name to appear differently than it shows on your RunSignup results page, please let us know via the badge claim form at http://ravenrocks.org
  • If you are interested in the Wise Owl Badge, thanks to Joe’s suggestion we now have a way to pick your stanza and see if anyone else has picked it too. You have until December 5th to submit a video of you reading a stanza from The Raven poem by Edgar Allan Poe. Visit: www.PerfectPotluck.com/MPPZ7968 (password: 3352) and see what’s available to read. It’s not exactly what Perfect Potluck is designed to do, but it seems to work for our needs here. The words to The Raven poem are here: https://ravenrocksrun.org/the-raven-by-edgar-allan-poe/ (scroll down to bottom of that page for poem text).
  • There are still GPS Challenge Sites available to find in the Rez. If you haven’t requested yours you can still get a location! We set up over 60 challenge items in the park and 18 of them are still out there waiting to be found. Any that are unassigned after the Challenge ends we will have a Raven Recovery Run in December to sweep the park of all traces of this event 🙂
  • If you have already submitted but have updates, it is OK to submit again with your new claims. You don’t need to resubmit previous claims but it doesn’t break anything if you do 🙂
  • If you didn’t order a shirt when you signed up there are two more shirts available. You can place an order at https://runsignup.com/ravenrocks/store. A sample of the shirt is on the purchase page and it features the logo from the below this text on this page. Note the Raven 100k Challenge logo incorporates and remixes design elements from all five of the Raven Rocks Run race shirts from 2015-2019. 
  • If you haven’t joined the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation for the 2021 year you can still do that via the race page here: https://runsignup.com/ravenrocks/donate. The Friends group is a 501(c)3 organization that supports the museum and park in its educational, environmental, and historical endeavors.

Let me know if you have any questions…

See you on the trails! 

…. Rob Cummings 

Raven Rocks Run and Raven 100k Challenge Race Director

Raven Rocks 2020

We are planning for a different Raven Rocks 10k Trail Run this coming November.

The event will – as always – be supporting the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation as well as the years-long effort restore the Fire Tower back at its former spot atop the Cross River Mountain.

The race plan is to have a mix of in-person and virtual combined into one event.

For runners comfortable with an in-person race, we will hold timed starts for groups of up to 25 runners every 15 minutes starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday November 8th and running through 10-10:30 a.m. depending on the number registered.

Runners already registered will get first dibs on the regular 9 a.m. start.

Runners who register from this point forward will get a choice of which starting time to sign up for. Or runners can sign up for the virtual option.

The course will be set and marked from Thursday, November 5th through Monday, November 9th. Any registered runner can run the course, record it with a GPS app or watch, and submit their results as a virtual competitor.

Important note: the 2020 course will start and end from the Meadow Parking lot field so we can have start and end in the same spot for the rolling starts and continuous finishes. If you run the course on your own be sure to start in the right spot!

Maps will be updated and provided with the virtual race packet.

We are also developing the Raven 100k November Challenge. Many of the local runners participated in the Run Like a Wolf 100 Mile Challenge (including your race director) in August. We had a great time pushing each other and checking the leaderboards.

The format of the Raven 100k November Challenge will be similar — but the Raven Challenge will include 200k, and 300k tiers in addition to the 100k month goal. This is because everyone likes to run far! More details and twists to follow…

Thanks & see you on the trails!

….Rob Cummings, Raven Rocks Race director

2020 Friends of Trailside Museum Membership

Join Friends of Trailside

Trail Runners:

The Trailside Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is one of the jewels of the park. You can support its educational mission, exhibits, and programming by joining as a Friend of the Trailside Museum.

Fifty-eight Raven Rocks runners who ran Raven Rocks Run in 2019 have joined already.

If you haven’t yet joined for 2020, now is a perfect time to become a new member or renew your membership — and Friends of Trailside membership also makes a perfect gift!

Sign up for 2020 Membership online here
https://runsignup.com/ravenrocks/donate.

Your membership donation gets sent directly to the Friends of Trailside and can be made in your name or in the name of a person you designate. The Friends organization is a 501(c)3 charity and contributions are tax deductible.

You can join at any contribution level and get membership benefits including the quarterly newsletter and notification of programs during the year. Joining at the $100 membership level (aka “Wood Turtle”) or above gets you a parking pass for Ward Pound Ridge Reservation for the year.

We support the Trailside Museum and the Friends of Trailside and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. We hope you will support them as well.

See you on the trails,
Rob Cummings, Raven Rocks Run race director

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 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: https://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!)