Today was the 5K Trail Master Killah race in lovely Van Cortlandt Park (just north of Manhattan in the Bronx). I mostly signed up for the cool t-shirt, but was delighted that two of my former Ragnar teammates joined me in the race festivities. I say “festivities” because they ran like 7 minute miles while I ran almost double that pace, but they waited for me at the finish line and we all went to the post-race party afterwards for our free beer and bananas (but water was cash only).
Getting a little ahead of myself – the race itself was pretty pleasant. I had done a trail race in Van Cortlandt Park (through NYRR) years ago and my friends asked me if there were any hills. I said it wasn’t very hilly, and if there were some hills they were very short. The first thing my friends said to me after I crossed the finish line, before I even stopped gasping for air, was “No hills?!? How could you say there were no hills?!?” I do have a weirdly terrible memory about some things, and apparently the endless hills on the trails in Van Cortlandt Park fall under that category. In my defense, the hills are not so bad when you walk them (cough cough like I did) versus when you sprint them (like my friends did).
The course starts on a flat, crushed gravel track, then heads into the forest trails featuring a lot of short and sometimes steep up and downs. The path itself is not rocky but there are some wooden “steps” set into the path that you have to navigate, and occasionally the path got narrow (one or two people wide). Ample volunteers made sure we didn’t get lost in the woods for eternity. Despite pushing myself fairly hard for this race, and really, really pushing on the last half mile on the flat path, I finished with an abysmally slow time, but on the upside I have lots of room for improvement.
The post-race party was a short walk away next to the golf course (and a pretty lake, pictured). We were some of the first to arrive so we got our cups of beer and snacks and sat in the shade enjoying the view and weather. We had to leave relatively early so we missed out on the DJ dance party and what looked like a big BBQ they were setting up just as we left. While we only had one cup of beer they wrote your bib number on the cups and it seemed like you could get free refills, so even though it was a bit of a spendy race ($38 for 3 miles?), it was worth it for all the extras (and let’s not forget that great race shirt).
I looked everywhere online for the results (they offered bib chip timing) and couldn’t find them, but I just got them emailed to me directly – good stuff. Some runners complained the course was .1 to .25 miles too long, but at my pace it didn’t really matter. I’d definitely do this race again next year, assuming Vert will do it again. I’d also try to take more advantage of the post-race party next year, and I’ll try to remember those hills.
What’s your weekend running plan? Are you watching the fascinating train-wreck that is Bachelor in Paradise? Have you had any really good candy lately? Share in the comments!