Though it might seem odd to hear it first -- in a city that's home to more than 8 million people and perhaps the largest concentration of skyscrapers, buildings and concrete anywhere in America -- New York City will play host to a trail marathon, half marathon and 10K running event on the 4th of July in 2011, the first and (so far) only trail race of its kind anywhere in the city, organizers say.
Set to take place in the Bronx's Van Cortland Park, the race features an out-and-back trail route that winds through much of the western and central sections of the park, and along parts of what is known as the Old Putnam Trail, which once served as the rail line for the Putnam division of the old New York Central Railroad. Today, the railroad has since been converted into a 30-mile trail that combines both paved and dirt surfaces that wind through the park all the way north to Westchester County.
A rarity among either road or trail races -- one might say an extreme rarity, in fact -- this race is completely free. No registration fee is required and runners don't have to sign up in advance to come out and take part -- you can simply show up on the day of the race and go out and run it, organizers say. They do encourage participants to consider a donation to the event on race day, as it will take some money to put on the event (the suggested donation is $10 per runner).
As for the race course itself -- and runners won't be timed at this event, nor is it USATF-certified -- runners will start and finish the race along the western edge of Van Cortland Park, whose 1,146 acres lie between the Bronx and Yonkers, and just blocks north of the Bronx Zoo. From there, the course makes what is basically a counter-clockwise loop along a combination of long stretches of the Old Putnam Trail as well as other trails inside the park, along both sides of Van Cortland Lake near its southern end and then back to the starting line, where those running the half marathon will start the second of two loops to complete 13.1 miles.
The course is reportedly a challenging one, the organizers add, and while much of it features flat terrain through the park -- especially in the early miles -- it's around the middle part of the half marathon that the biggest hills occur, as runners make their way along the mile 5 and 6 sections in the park's northeast corner. The race begins at 9:00 AM, while those running the half marathon will run the course twice, those running the full marathon will need to run four loops to complete 26.2 miles.
Weather & Climate
Located in New York City just a few miles north of Central Park, the Bronx typically sees its warmest and wettest weather of the year in July, when the borough's average monthly temperatures range between 85°F and 69°F, and rainfall amounts average just over 4.4 inches for the month. On the day of the race (July 4), the average high is 84°F and the average low is 68°F.
Free -- there is no requirement to sign up below, but the race organizers ask entrants to indicate whether they are coming or not, so they'll know how many runners to expect on the day of the race.
To reserve your spot in the Independence Day 2011 running of the Bronx's July 4th Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay or 10K race, register online at the event website
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