Saturday, May 28, 2011

Race Report: New York Pioneer Memorial 100 Mile Trek

Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30, saw the 16th biennial running of the New York Pioneer Memorial 100 Mile Trek. It's a three-day stage race, 33 1/3 miles each day, that has been held every two years since 1981. The race honors the members of the Pioneer Club, who were true pioneers in long-distance running, going back to the 1950's. As race director Rich Innamorato says, it's the only thing Ted Corbitt ever asked him to do. The first day's winner would receive the Abe Fournes, John Sterner and Al Williams Award, day 2's winner gets the Nat Cirulnick, Aldo Scandurra and Kurt Steiner Award, and the third day's winner receives the Ed Levy and Harry Murphy Award. The overall men's winner receives the Joe Yancey Award, and the women's overall winner gets the Ted Corbitt award.

The first day's stage, along the old Vanderbilt Motorway in Alley Pond Park, was held in conjunction with a separate 50K. The 50K winners were Byron Lane and Jodi Kartes-Heino. The additional runners on Saturday made for a fun event on a hot day. The motorway, a 3.45-mile out and back, has some real ups and downs, and despite being mostly shaded, was a tough go in the heat.

I wasn't sure if I should enter the 3-day only two weeks after my 48 hour, but this race has such historical significance, and significance for running in New York, that I knew I had to try if I thought it was at all possible that I could finish. A week before the race, I was feeling pretty good, so I sent in my entry. The only lingering pain I was really feeling from the 48 was some strain in my left foot. But I really wasn't sure if I'd even be able to get through the first day. But I thought if I took a relaxed pace I might make it. I got through the first day in one piece, and even was the first day winner, ahead of Derrell Janey and Andrei Aroneanu. For the women, Hanna Ben-Shoan had the day's lead over Gail Marino.

The course for day 2 was moved because of downed trees on the intended course, so it took place instead in another section of Alley Pond Park, a course that had been used for the three-day at least a couple times before. The temperatures again rose into the 80's and was making life tough for all the runners. 1997, 2001 and 2003 winner Dave Luljak passed me a little over halfway through, but I was able to pass him back soon after, and finished only about 5 minutes ahead of him for this stage. Hanna again won the women's stage.

The final day's (today's) course was my home away from home (away from home), Crocheron Park. The forecast called for temps of 90 degrees, so Richie, with unanimous consent from the runners, agreed to move the start from 9:00 am to 8:00 am. Unexpectedly, a storm came through between 6:30-7:30 or so and dropped quite a bit of rain on the city. It let up in time for the start, but the skies remained overcast and sprinkles kept falling for two hours into the race - a very nice start! But the sun did come out, and the temperatures and humidity went up and up. I managed to take the stage again, and the overall win for the third time in a row, with a total time of 14:00:19, much better than I thought I'd do! Derrelle finished slightly ahead of Dave today, but Dave had a few minutes on him coming into today, so overall Dave took second and Derrelle third. Lucimar Araujo ran an excellent race, winning the women's stage and moving herself into second for the 3-day. Hanna got the women's win and Antana Locs took third.

Overall, there were 21 starters and 16 hardy finishers (in order by bib number): myself, Lucimar, Sal Carretta, 4-time winner Frank DeLeo, Derrelle, Bruce Kacen, Hiroshi Kitada, Antana, Dave, Gail, Frank Pellegrino, Al Prawda, Lydia Redding, Andrei, Hanna, and Jay Lustgarten. Congrats to all!!!!! It's really quite an undertaking to participate in this race, not just for the runners, but for the volunteers, who did an amazing job as always, and especially for Richie, so a big thanks to him! He says this was "definitely" the last edition of this race. Some have mentioned that he's said that before, but it really is a lot of work, and he's been doing it since 1981, so I can't say I'd blame him. But I can still hope for a 2013 edition.

Pics: 1. Dave Luljak, Derrellt Janey and me; 2. Hanna Ben-Shoan and me with our trophies; 3. Lucimar Araujo winning day 3; 4. Bruce Kacen with his trophy; 5. Bob Falk and Tim Ryan at the scorer's table

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