Near the end of the day, I participated on a panel up on the main stage, with Steve Lastoe, Matt Lebow, Joe Garland, and Karla Bruning, who served as our moderator. We did our best to get the seated audience involved, by asking about their experiences and interests. Then we'd take that ball and run with it a bit on the panel. Not only was it good fun, but I'd like to think that we informed and inspired the attendees a bit, and frankly I learned a few things myself.
I wasn't surprised that there was quite a bit of interest in discussing trail running. The first question from the audience was about running trails in NYC. Each of had a slightly different take on this, from me discussing some of the great technical single track available in and around the city, to Matt extolling the virtues of the dozens of miles of trails on Staten Island, to Joe sharing his passion for the great carriage trails in Rockefeller Park.
I won't try to summarize the rest of the hour here, it would take far too many words and it's not like I was taking notes anyway. For those in attendance, I promised that I'd post a list of links to many of the things we were discussing. I'll try to group them in some semblance of order below. It's my hope that you might find something interesting or engaging by clicking through one or more of these links. Enjoy.
Trail Racing (Series, or sites where you can find great races put on by great people):
Western Mass Athletic Club (check out the Grand Tree race series)
NJ Trail Series (I've been enjoying these races lately, really great atmosphere)
Pretzel City Sports (For great trail races in Eastern PA)
Finger Lakes Road Runners (Upstate New York)
Trail Runner Magazine (large race calendar)
New York Adventure Racing Association (for those looking to add some variety beyond "just running")
Races (A few gems - some of the links are to the organizing clubs, check there for race entry info):
Mudders and Grunters (Westchester) March
Urban Environmental Challenge (Van Cortlandt Park) April
Long Island Greenbelt Trail Ultras (Long Island) May
VCTC Summer Series (Van Cortlandt Park) all summer long
Mt. Toby 14 mile trail race (Sunderland, MA) link is to Grand Tree Series, check back later for race site
Conestoga 10 mile Trail Run (Pennsylvania) September
Paine to Pain 13.1 mile Trail Race (Westchester) October
After the Leaves Have Fallen 20k (Minnewaska Park) November
Staten Island Greenbelt 25k & 50k (Staten Island) December
Pete McArdle 15k (Van Cortlandt Park) December
Relays (Not a comprehensive list, but some great races at a variety of distances, many mentioned yesterday):
Green Mountain Relay (Vermont) June
River to Sea (New Jersey) July
Catskill Mountain Relay (New York) August
Ocean to Sound (Long Island) September
Reach the Beach (New Hampshire) September
Ragnar (several races in many states & many months of the year)
Parks (with technical singletrack trails - not for beginners):
Highbridge Park (in northern Manhattan - go to this one as a group)
Get these maps (they cover many of the major trails in the immediate area):
Meet other trail runners here:
Blog posts about our panel (from the Panelists themselves):
If I can think of other useful links, I'll add them to this list soon. Hope that this helps of few of you get out there and enjoy the woods. Remember: ease into trail running by starting with the less-technical stuff, then gradually upping the difficulty.
One last little tip that we forgot to mention yesterday: tick repellent. There are plenty of deer ticks in the woods of the northeast, and you just simply do not want Lyme disease. Use the stuff liberally, and check for ticks immediately after every venture into the woods.
Remember: If it can be hiked, it can be run.