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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
To: Everyone who is registered for (or thinking of registering for) the 2019 Raven Rocks Run:
The fifth annual Raven Rocks Run at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is set for November 10th, 2019. Race director Rob Cummings, his lovely wife Ciorsdan along with many dedicated volunteers have been working hard to set up this year’s event.
Here are some tips that will help you on race morning:
1.) ARRIVE EARLY! The race is set to start at 9am. Please plan to arrive at the park by 8:15am — or even earlier if you can swing it. The regular $10 parking fee is already factored into the Raven Rocks entry fee so there is no need to stop and pay at the entry booth. This speeds up park entry. Park employees will direct you on parking as you arrive.
If the main meadow lot should fill up, we may need to use our backup lot near the entrance to the park. This would mean about 1/4 mile walk for runners arriving late. Another good reason to be early!
2.) DRIVE SLOWLY in the Park! Pay close attention to the staff and volunteers who are directing the parking. Car pool if you can – this helps the environment – and it makes the race more fun! For a helpful overview of the race location (parking, start, bib pickup), check the logistics page of the website here.
3.) LISTEN ATTENTIVELY TO PRE-RACE ANNOUNCEMENTS! We will have important information about the course and safety. You will be instructed about potential hazards on the course and current course conditions.
4.) LISTEN FOR THE START! Following the instructions, we will get the race started.
6.) ALL DOGS MUST BE LEASHED! If the dogs are running Raven Rocks they MUST START NEAR THE BACK with their humans and wait til the start line clears! If you are running with your dog, you must hold back at the start and be certain that your dog or its leash does not interfere with or impede any of the other runners. The county park law requires dogs be leashed at all times while in the park. This is for the safety of your dogs, other park patrons, and other dogs visiting.
7.) SAME DAY REGISTRATION – We will likely have same day registration available from 7:15-8:45am. Earlier is better. Online registration is even better! 😉 Cash or check only on race day please.
9.) THANK A VOLUNTEER! A tremendous amount of volunteer effort goes into making Raven Rocks a special event. T-shirt designers, registration volunteers, carpool helpers, pie buyers, course setters, trail wardens, box lifters, water servers, bagel cutters, coffee brewers, parking coordinators, photographers, videographers, course sweeps, and the clean-up crew—not to mention the Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, and Westchester County Police officers and the dedicated members of the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps!
Many runners have become members of the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation group during registration – We thank you for joining! Volunteers from the Friends group will be there race morning to help cheer on runners, support the race, and have information about joining the Friends of Trailside Museum group.
(Note: this went out as an email to all registered runners for the 2019 Raven Rocks Run. If you did not receive it via email and you are registered, you may want to check your spam folder and set up firstname.lastname@example.org on your address book/white list.)
The course is in good shape now and is just as challenging as ever.
We will run mostly the same course as last year. The start of the course after the Covered Bridge trail will follow a new part of the CB trail which also climbs up to Michigan Road, but it takes a different path. The other changes from last year, including the new “Raven Cliff Trail” (follows the rock outcropping from the Raven Rocks overlook down through new single track trail) and the re-routed Blue trail around mile 4.75 (around 1/2 mile after the fire tower water stop) will also stay part of the updated course.
See map below for old (dotted line) vs. new trail (solid line) over the years.
Depending on the rainfall in the weeks leading up to the race, the Michigan Road swamp trail cut-through may be impassible. Last year we had to re-route through the main Michigan Rd access trail due to significantly higher rainfall. This change, which is a game-time decision, adds in about 0.1 mile to the course if we take the long way around.
Thanks for coming out to run on these challenging trails. Our best advertisements are you — the runners! Please pass this website page on to a friend who might like to know about the race (and the Trail Mix Series).
The weather was chilly at the start, with temperatures at 32 degrees. However, the crowd was in a cheerful mood since the sun was shining and they would soon be warmed up by their race effort. At the finish, the temperature had risen to a much more hospitable 45 degrees. Runners were also welcomed back – after they caught their breath — with hot coffee, hot chocolate, bagels, bananas, and s’mores over a hot fire.
Rob Kehoe won the men’s 2018 race, repeating his 2016 performance.
Rob Kehoe, originally from Katonah and a John Jay graduate, came in first in the men’s division with a time of 46:52. Rob also won the race in 2016 and said he’d definitely be back for more. Justin Lubely (48:08) of Darien was second and Chris Sina-Jessiman (48:18) of Brooklyn was third.
Lindsey Felling won the 2018 race and also clinched her 2018 Trail Mix Series victory with the win.
Lindsay Felling of Larchmont finished first overall in the women’s division with a time of 52:12. Louise Mullan (53:18) of Hastings was second and Emily Bocklet (1:00:58) of Katonah came in third.
Youngest Runner Rita Haitoff runs with her mom Karen in the 2018 Raven Rocks 10k run.
Rita Haitoff of Katonah was the youngest runner at 9 years old, finishing in 1:44:57. James McGough (1:32:35) of Mahopac — and a regular runner at the Reservation — was the oldest finisher on the day at 72 years young. Some other notable top local finishers include Sydney Bieber (1:10:45) of Bedford who won the 14-18 year old age group as well as Bill Bradsell (53:41) and Gregory Fleming (53:49), both of Bedford, who finished eight seconds apart to take first and second in the men’s 50-59 category.
Official starter Tom Curley on the course in 2018.
Awards for the overall winners and age group winners are a range of pies from local farmer’s market favorite Dutch Desserts. In addition this year the first place age group winners got custom Raven Rocks ultimate frisbee discs. The race was started this year by South Salem residentTom Curley who launched one of the Raven prize discs downfield in front of the starting line to kick off the race.
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 over 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 fire tower. Runners 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 — plus this year added some wet spots where prior years have been dry. The course has over 1,000 feet of elevation gain and features a cliffside run, miles of single-track trails, a rock scramble, and 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. Forty-seven runners joined as members raising over $3,800.00 for the Museum. 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 2019. Membership information for joining the Friends of Trailside is here: friendsoftrailside.org.
A team of volunteers known as the Leatherman Harriers Sunday Runners help put on 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.
In addition, The Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation led by Jeff Main at the park and helped by Mike, Chase, Kevin, 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. Thankfully there were just minor bumps and bruises this year. Proceeds from the race go to Friends of Trailside, LVAC, and other local not-for-profits.
Mike Lubchekno was also out there. Mike is a freelance professional — not affiliated with the race in any way. He has some great shots of runners and the day.
Big thanks to a few of our runners and other volunteers who uploaded photos so far. There’s plenty of room for more photos if you want to share yours at our runner upload gallery here: https://bit.ly/2JLh09C
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.
NOTE: Course is wet (lots of rain this Fall)! Bring a change of shoes for the ride home!
Race organizers are at the park today doing the final prep work and fine tuning the course for our Sunday morning start.
There is Last Minute Online Registration available until 6pm 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 at 7:15am.
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 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 two slight course changes — First change is an extended tour of the Raven Rocks overlook with the newest trail in the Rez which opened in early 2018. The new trail — I have given it the name “Raven Cliff Trail” — follows the Raven rocks outcropping down through new single track trail. If this trail had existed in 2015 when we set the course it definitely would have been part of the race — and now it is! More rocks and more ravens! (There is actually a pair of ravens that live just south of Raven Rocks, they must be able to read…)
Second change is a re-routing of the Blue trail at around mile 4.75 done by the park. This change is around 1/2 mile after the fire tower water stop. The new trail cut avoids some of the most eroded parts of the blue trail downhill and is generally super smooth with good footing.
These two changes actually slightly shorten the course.
Because of the rainfall in the week leading up to the race (and the generally wet fall weather), the Michigan Road swamp trail cut-through is flooded with standing water. We will route through the main Michigan Rd access trail instead. This change adds back in about 0.1 mile to the course.
So in all a net shortening of the course – but not by much. I expect everyone’s times to be faster! 😉