[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.
- M – Kase Atkinson (11)
- F – Emilia Veroude (12)
Oldest Registered Runners:
- M – Rob Fryer, John Kiselak, Ed Moore, Murray Roseblith
- 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 Soprano – amichiart.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!