Tag: race

2021 Pre-race Speech

[These were the prepared remarks for the pre-race announcements for 2021. It was a bit on the cold side so I shortened them up. Here for your enjoyment are the complete thoughts of your race director on the morning of the Raven Rocks Run 2021…]

Thank you for coming to the return of and 6th 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. 

No registered runner birthdays today, but Joe Kapp’s birthday was yesterday and Jimmy Woods’ birthday was yesterday — Happy belated and early birthday to you! 

89 of you joined Friends of Trailside Museum as members – over $7,100 raised. You can still sign up through January 15, 2022 at the race website’s Trailside Museum link

Fantastic News! We received 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 two days have left some wet spots on the trail and a few “water crossings” and “mud flats” features for your enjoyment. 

We did some course “grooming” over the past two weeks. 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, Veronica, and many others. 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 HERE! (edit: some didn’t show but that’s OK! It was cold!)

  • 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 (Past BIB #1!!!). The record is officially paused for 2020-21. 
  • 2018 — My parents John and Patricia Cummings – who are here today!
  • 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. 

THE Trail Mix race directors: Tony, Lee, Barry, Veronica, Eric, David, Brant, Megan, and Nancy. (Almost all races in series represented here?). Each year it keeps getting better — although the series was sidelined in 2020 and 2021, some races in the series (like this one, Pavement Ends, and Paine to Pain) were able to return this year. If you don’t know what the Trail Mix Series is, check out trailmixseries.org.

Youngest Runners:

  • M – Kase Atkinson (11)
  • F – Emilia Veroude (12)

Oldest Registered Runners:

  • M – Rob Fryer, John Kiselak, Ed Moore, Murray Rosenblith 
  • F – Kelly Heller

Leatherman’s Loop – returns in 2022 — 3 years after last Loop in 2019. Big Things Planned!

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 2018 and 2019 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 – RED t-shirts – thanks to them we get to have a race!

OK, now for the start! 

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

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.