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…
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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!
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.
Awaiting runners at the top of the climb was our very own Raven RockerChris 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.
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.
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!)
To: Everyone who is registered for the 2018 Raven Rocks Run:
Thanks for signing up to run the fourth annual Raven Rocks Run at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation on November 11th, 2018. 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:
Traffic backing up at the entrance near race time – arrive early to avoid a jam.
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! Your Race Director 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 have two special guests as our official starters. Then we will start the runners.
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. Day of race registration is $45.
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 2018 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.)
This year 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 rock 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!
Second change is a re-routing of the Blue trail around mile 4.75 around 1/2 mile after the fire tower water stop. The new trail cut avoids some of the worst eroded parts of the blue trail downhill and is super smooth with good footing. The two changes actually slightly shorten the course from the original 6.3-6.4 mile (depending on whose GPS watch used) range.
Depending on the rainfall in the week leading up to the race, the Michigan Road swamp trail cut-through may have to route through the main Michigan Rd access trail. This change, if needed, adds back in about 0.1 mile to the course.
I wanted to mention a new trail race – Next Saturday Nov 18, Conquer the Forest 5 miler at Clearpool in Carmel, NY. Clearpool is part of Green Chimneys. Green Chimneys is recognized as a worldwide leader in animal-assisted therapy and educational activities for children with special needs. The course is hilly and challenging – a true trail run. I am registered and will be there next week. Hope to see some of you there!
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 and returning them to the finish area for you to pick up at the end of your race.
The course carries hazards. The leaves can be slick in spots. We did some course “grooming” over the past few weeks, but leaves and 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 yellow caution tape to keep you going on the right trail. The course was pre-run by Joe, Lee, Peeter, and Jeff. I am quite sure they scared the bear away that was seen checking the course yesterday near the fire tower.
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 start:
Ciorsdan — thank you for helping with the whole event. She had BIB #1 last year and is always #1 in my heart. I love you!
Shout out to Tony and Judy Godino – I feel like I have attended graduate school at the Godino Institute for Trail Race Studies. Still working on my thesis topic. Possibly a comparison of high and low course markings and runner attention.
Lee Willett – Leads the Sunday Run group of Leatherman Harriers 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
Trail Mix race directors: Tony, Lee, Barry, Mark, David, Brant, Geoff. (Almost all races in series represented here?) Fourth year of the Series. Each year it keeps getting better. After today over 100 Runners are in line for the well deserved automatic selection in the Loop Lottery 2018! if you don’t know what the Trail Mix Series is, check out trailmixseries.org and take a trail mix card from the registration table. If you don’t know what the Leatherman’s Loop is, ask the person next to you!
Shout out to Charlie Vaccaro who is the only runner to finish all Trail Mix races to date (19! over 4 years – this will be #20). Eric Foxhall and Jerre Skeats have done 17 & 16 each!
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.
Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps (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.
Race volunteers – BLACK t-shirts – thanks to them we get to have a race!
Introduce My parents: John and Pat Cummings, our official starters for today’s race:
-Bib #1 for each!
-They came to my little league games and come to my kids games. They still love coming to see all of their 7 kids and 14 grandkids compete & perform. Don’t forget your thank you pie!
Also I wanted to give a shout out to the trail race I mentioned at the race start today – This coming Saturday November 18 – “Conquer the Forest” is a 5 mile trail race put on by the folks at Green Chimneys at their Clearpool camp facility in Carmel, NY. It is a great race for a great cause! Hope to see you on the trails!