Lets shake the dust off of this blog, bog, log, hog and talk about venturing into money making Manhattan for a trail race.
First off, yes you read that right in Manhattan, the Big Apple there was a 5k trail race that had some of the most intricate single track i've ever run.
Let me start form the beginning.
I picked up El Presidente Mark Vogt, and Lady Diane Sassone and we drove into jersey, over the GWB into upper Manhattan. We drove around for a few minutes and found a spot around 178th st. off of Amsterdam Ave. Hold on, I want to make sure you saw that it was 178th st. not 78 stone the Upper East Side, no this is another 100 blocks up. Way Way north of Staten Island, and the Greenbelt but we ventured out for the adventure.
We got there, signed in and then we went for a little warm up run ie. scout out the course run. Right away I noticed that the locals, who were already setting up for their picnics in the park full grills, warming trays, etc. etc. looked at us like we were insane running through their park. Not in a bad way just in a " what are these people doing here?" kinda way.
We shuffled our way back to the start and waited for the race to officially start. As we lined up to start we learned that half the course was on paved path, and the other half would be trail.
And were off! the race begins, we bound down the paved path, through the cooks preparing their feasts and past two guys who were a derelict Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They stood there, leaning on each other in their ragged attire with looks of disbelief on their very worn faces. As we continued down the course we turned into the woods. These trails are tight, twisty, and incredibly fun. I bounded through the best I could thankful for my new Salomon SpeedCross 3s that tore into the course. I watched a lot of other runners slow down, and slip out in the switchbacks while i dug in and pushed ahead. As we ran through this part of the course our friends Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum had taken their own footpath into the wood and again stood there in stupefied wonder as we yet again ran past them. I assume they were headed into the woods to do something illegal, but they could have been in their to remove invasive species, or something else beneficial........Probably not. Out of the woods and back onto pavement, but only for a short while as we were directed back into the woods for a second go round. this time we really had a lot of fun. The trails were steeper, with sharper switchbacks and more natural obstacles such as roots, rocks, and fallen tree limbs. The path got really tight and twisty and I saw a backlog of runners ahead of me. I saw why, instead of running we were now climbing up a steep rock wall to get back onto the paved path. I started out slow but eventually picked up a nice pace on the paved path since it was nice and flat. Past the water table was the famed High Bridge. Recently restored and looking amazing it was a quick run down to one end and back and the race is over. NO! NO, it isn't. Once you finish the bridge there is one little, teensy, thing left to do. 97 steep steps to the finish. Running a tough 5k is not a new thing but finishing the race by running up 97 steep steps is not a standard way to finish and that's kinda expected in when Matt and George put on an event.
To sum up I will list pros, and cons
This race was amazing, a mixture of fast paved paths, and very intricate trails.
Overall this race was a smashing success
This gripe has nothing to do with the race directors, or the NYC parks dept.
the course had a lot of broken glass, due to Tweedle dee, and Tweddle Dum, and their band of Merry men.
I know there was a concerted effort to clean up the trails and i'm sure they did all they could.
Who knows maybe this race will create a renewed interest in hiking the trails of High Bridge Park and Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum will have to either clean up or move on.
We shall see how things look next year when we do it again!