I got an email a few days ago from Mike Arnstein telling me about a trail marathon he and Mike Oliva were putting on in Van Cortlandt Park on Thanksgiving morning. I rejected the idea at the outset, having just run a 60K on Saturday and needing a recovery week. But I felt good on runs during the week, so I decided to go for it.
The marathon consisted of four 6.5-mile loops incorporating parts of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, the South County Trail (Old Put), the flats and the back hills. There were also a 10K (one loop) and a half marathon option (two loops). The trails were beautiful, leaf-covered and in good shape. It was generally flat, but did have a few fairly steep ups and downs, and some rocky sections.
This race was firmly in the fatass tradition - no entry fee, no aid stations, no t-shirt, just run. There were, however, finishers "medals" in the form of forks, which could be used for Thanksgiving dinner. There was a standard table fork for 10K runners, a medium fork for half marathoners and a large serving fork for marathon finishers. This no doubt was part of the appeal for the runners, and the reason about 200 people showed up for the three races, despite it having only been planned two weeks ago and making its way around by email and Facebook. About 100 of them were doing the 10K, an estimated 20-25 running the full marathon.
The weather was cool and cloudy, but good running weather. Without pushing too hard, I was happy to run consistently about 53 minutes per loop, and finished in 3:33:33, good for fourth place. Oz Pearlman, who had trouble at JFK on Saturday and DNF'd after 31 miles, won in under three hours. Mike Arnstein, who finished JFK, got third in 3:08. (Second place I don't remember the name.)
Frank C. and Emmy S. showed up for the 10K before going on to family events. Grant M. also ran, for the first time in about six months. Sal, Lucimar, Elaine were there, too. A lot of fun and a great way to justify overeating and watching football later in the day!