Rock The Ridge is a 50-mile race with a 24-hour time limit, which makes it possible for a wide range of people to participate, from elite trail runners to walkers and hikers.
No matter who you are, there’s something special about covering 50 miles, especially when you’re running in the Shawangunk mountains.
But don’t take my word for it. Here are some of the participants’ experiences in their own words:
I enlisted a group of family and friends to do the 2014 relay division with me, and it was an amazing experience. As soon as I finished, I was ready to sign up for 2015. As I thought about it, I told myself that I might as well do the whole thing and thought, “to hell with it! I’m doing 50 miles!”
I was so excited at the start that I ended up going too fast on the first leg, which was a big mistake, and I definitely paid for it around mile 22. That was where I hit the wall, and questioned whether or not I could finish.
I came into the Lyons Road aid station pretty exhausted, and was considering stopping. Then I saw my friends and all the volunteers. I decided to take a 15 minute break and ate some food, including a baked potato, which I am convinced saved my life!
About a mile out, I started up the “big hill,” and that’s when something amazing happened – I started feeling great and pushed through the mental and physical wall. Once I reached the top, I had a revelation – I was going to finish this damn thing! My months of training and hard work were going to pay off.
I never dreamed that I would do something like this.
Walt Disney was a dreamer and visionary who had that “can do” spirit. It was only fitting that I wore my Mickey Mouse t-shirt during the race. Mickey Mouse is a state of mind. It’s about staying positive in the face of challenge, keeping your eye on the goal, and pushing through when the going gets tough and not giving up. And that was Rock the Ridge for me.
I learned…DON’T EVER DOUBT YOURSELF
What did this mean? EVERYTHING! I can do absolutely anything I set my heart and mind to!
Mike and Lisa Kristofik
At mile 26.2 we celebrated my daughter’s first marathon, at mile fifty, her first ultra. She had never ran more than a half marathon in an event or more than 22 as a training run..
Insanity is a prerequisite it seems, or is it?
I have a congenital heart defect called a bicuspid aortic valve. The valve has always had a mild amount of leakage. Three years ago. I was informed that my valve had led to a slight aneurysm and the valve now has a mild amount of narrowing (stenosis). I spent a year feeling scared and depressed. I finally dealt with my condition during a solo swim on a cloudy day in Lake Awosting. I decided to do everything I could to fight this disease I have been born with and prevent or delay the day when I will need surgery both through diet and exercise.
I truly feel at home when I’m exercising in the woods surrounded by nature.
The course was special, passing some places I’ve really enjoyed in the past like Sky Top, Castle Point, and Lake Awosting. I also enjoyed seeing some new places like Awosting Falls and seeing climbers above on the Trapps.
I battled leg cramps and knee pain twice, and I could no longer run after about mile 38. I’m proudest that I stretched out and managed to run the last 5 miles to the finish. I was also pleased to experience a faster recovery from this race than after my first marathon.
My doc says the aneurysm in my ascending aorta has stabilized. He told me to come back in a year instead of every 6 months. I am lucky because many others with my condition have faced serious side effects and/ or surgery at a much younger age than me, because I have no symptoms, and I have no restrictions on endurance events.
Reaching my goals has helped me to be happier, healthier, and have more confidence in other areas of my life.
I’m turning 50 next month and it seemed only natural to walk a “50 @ 50.” I signed up for Rock The Ridge to challenge myself…
My experience was really good. It was a hard thing to accomplish because of the distance, and the biggest discomfort I had was due to blisters (the blisters were more annoying than anything else).
This event made me realize how strong I actually am
After walking 50 miles, my perspective of what’s difficult has changed. This event marked a milestone for me mentally and physically. There was never a question in my mind if I was going to complete the course: I was concerned about the condition I would be in when I crossed the finish line.
I fared pretty well, and now I know “what I’m made of.”
Turns out, I’m pretty hardy!
Crossing that finish line was an incredible experience that I don’t expect to ever forget.
I half heard something on the radio about “Rock the Ridge” while I was driving. When I got home I checked it out. It seemed like something I might be able to complete; on the other hand it was not something I was sure I could do. I liked that uncertainty. So I started to train, adding more and more time onto the treadmill each week and setting the incline to as high as it went.
My goal was to fully walk it, at about 3MPH, but mostly just to finish within the time allowed. I completed it a bit slower (19:15 instead of my goal of 17:00 hours), but I did finish. As best I can tell I was nearly the oldest person to do the full 50 Miles (I am 64)
The most meaningful thing to me was my coming to understand that while I wanted to quit, often, I never “had” to quit. I always asked myself if I really had to stop and I never did – I only needed to keep putting one foot in front of the next (and not trip).
I plan to remember that distinction between “have to” and “would like to” when I feel like quitting at something.
Rock The Ridge was something I felt drawn to do since I heard about it the first year. It took me several years to get up the nerve to actually do it. ( I am turning 60 in a few weeks so this year was like now or never.)
I had a great time during the event the event interacting with the other participants and the volunteers. I hike every Wednesday with the Bob Babb Wednesday walkers and some of the people from that group were volunteering at Spring Farm. It was great to see them and get some encouragement from them.
I tried to anticipate problems that I might encounter along the way, but two things that I didn’t foresee were getting blisters on top of my toes, and having no appetite at all which made it difficult to keep up my energy. I started fading fast around mile 25.
Even though I didn’t complete the entire 50 miles I have a sense of accomplishment for going for 35 miles. Some of my friends want me to be a poster child for baby boomer fitness. I am hoping to participate next year as part of a relay team.
I signed up because I was at a time in my life when I needed to go on a journey.
I went into myself and came out 11 some odd hours later a different person. I needed a little metamorphosis and sometimes pushing myself like that is what brings it about. Prior to this the farthest I had gone was 30 miles. This opened a lot of personal doors for me.
During the event…amid IT band agony, smiling faces, boiled potatoes, and incredible views, I realized why I love to run, I got over a horrendous breakup, and decided the direction I want to go with my career…better than any therapist!
What it means to me? It means I can do anything I set my mind too
Three years ago I smoked a pack a day and could barely run a half mile. Now, I can say I completed an Ultra. It changed everything.