2019 SRT Run Race Director’s Report

The sixth edition of the SRT Run is now in the books.  The event celebrates the values of self-reliance and endurance, and we congratulate every finisher…

In terms of speed, there were some incredible performances in 2019.  Ben Leese set a new male course record for the 70-miler of 16:28:16, eclipsing the previous time by almost two hours, and edging out Justin Kousky who finished in 17:00:01.  Jami Landy won the female 70-mile division in 24:56:20.   We had two new 50-mile course records, with Joanna Mrowka winning the female division in 13:47:54, and Przemyslaw Strokon finishing in 11:29:32, a full hour ahead of the previous male record from 2016.  Jake Stookey won the male 30-mile division, for the second year in a row, this time with a new course record of 4:25:11, while Kate Shumeyko was first female in 7:15:12.  Elaine Jaworski won the female ½ marathon division in 2:39:14, while Yural Zarai was the first male in 2:01:20.

While fast times are cool, they are only one measure of the experience.  Jessica Velez and Michael Merner pulled into checkpoint #6 with only a few minutes before the cut-off, blistered, strained, and sopping wet.  Then they went back into the woods and made their way to Rosendale, finishing the 70-mile course in just over 29 hours.  We recognize them for personifying the spirit of determination.  (We highly recommend Jessica’s race report.)

We created this race to promote the preservation of the Shawangunk Mountains and celebrate the work of NY-NJ Trail Conference volunteers who created and maintain the magical trail that traverses this unique ridgeline environment, which has been called “one of Earth’s last great places.”  During the last six years, we’ve hosted 703 unique registrants from 23 different states, as well as France, Canada, Brazil, and the Philipines.  36 individuals have completed the entire 70-mile traverse of the Shawangunks.

The east coast naturalist John Burroughs once wrote, “to learn something new, take the path you took yesterday.”  Three-time 30-miler runner Jake Stookey made this point in his race report, when he commented that “memories of previous years carried me along.”  Your race director, who’s run the 70-mile course three times, would like to recognize Mark Moroge and Ben Leese, who’ve completed the course twice, Jason Berry, who’s completed it three times, and Raymond Russell, who’s run it four times.

4-time 70-mile finisher Raymond Russell.  Steve Aaron Photography
70-mile starters at High Point State Park.  Photo:  Tom Bushey Photography
Running through the night.  70-miler Jami Landry.  Photo: Tom Bushey Photography
70-milers moving through Shawangunk Ridge State Forest.  Photo:  Steve Aaron Photography
Up and over Castle Point.  Photo:  Steve Aaron Photography
50-mile winner Przemyslaw Strokon, running through Mohonk Preserve.  Photo:  Steve Aaron Photography
1/2 marathon winner Yuval Zarai en route to the finish.  Photo:  Tom Bushey Photography
1/2 marathon runners Erick Salazar and Osa Willis crossing the Rosendale Trestle.  Photo:  Tom Bushey Photography
30-mile finishers Peydon Wright and Kristen Gonyaw at the finish

Thank you
We were delighted to have Bob Anderberg from the Open Space Institute as our VIP guest to present the awards.  Over the last 25 years, OSI has acquired over 32,000 acres in the Shawangunks to create the continuous greenway which our runners experienced, as well as renovating the railroad trestle which they ran across.  Bob and his colleagues continues to scout for land parcels to enlarge the greenway and protect the trail.  We thank OSI for their great work.

Bob Anderberg of OSI presenting the first place prize, a Navajo Tomahawk, to 1/2 marathon winner Elaine Jaworski

A special thank you to the volunteer search and rescue teams who supported the event:  New Jersey SAR, Sam’s Point SAR, and Catskills Mountain SAR.  Congratulations to NJSAR member Barry Bassin, who completed the 70-mile event.

We’d like to thank race staff including safety officer Kathleen Rifkin, finish line manager Sona Mason, checkpoint boss Don Cohen, and Dave Castner, night ops.

A huge thank you to all of our volunteers, including Pat and Kathy Mahady, Jason Berry (former 70-mile winner), Yvonne Nedbal, Jordan Bower, Melanie Mueller (former 50-mile and 70-mile winner ) and Vladimir Diaz, Zach Price (former 70-mile winner), Anna Pettersson (former 70-mile winner), Sheena Lillis, Kevin Bukowski, Cindy Wagner (SRT volunteer maintainer), David Miller (SRT volunteer maintainer), Evelyn Heinbach, Dane Groszek, Derek Doran, and Sal Trupia.

Finally, thank you to High Point State Park, NY Department of Environmental Conservation, Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Sam’s Point, Wallkill Valley Land Trust, Mohonk Preserve, Town of Rosendale, Town of Wurtsboro, and private landowners for permitting the event.

Next year
We are planning the 7th edition of the SRT Run for September 11-12, 2020.

2019 SRT Run Race Director’s Report

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