2022 Starting Line Welcome Remarks

[Race Results are Here.] [Link to 2022 Race Photos is here.]

Good morning! My name is Rob Cummings – I am the race director for this event. Welcome! 

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We have two events: first we will have the 5k runners go. After they are in the woods, we will release the 4k walkers. When the 5k & 4k runners and walkers are finished on the track, we will start the 200m Kids Jay Dash, and then have the awards. There are bagels, coffee, hot chocolate, and bananas at the finish. And the prizes are tasty too so run fast!

Let me tell you a bit about the course & trail.

RUNNERS will begin here and head towards the pit field. Runners will do a circuit around the pit field and head back this way and then head into the trails. You will head downhill from there onto the main part of the Community Trail including most of the bridges and boardwalks. After you have gone through the main loop you will head back up to the pit field and then once more over the middle school field. This time when you enter the woods you will turn onto the brand-new Championship Bridge and head up the final link trail to the JJ Contest Track & Field for the finish line. 

Follow the pink flags and ribbon. Course marshals are out there and can help in case of injury or getting lost. We also have course sweeps. If you are injured you can wait for a course sweep and they will help you out.

Thank you to our sponsors – over 50 sponsors this year. Highest participation ever! Sponsors help to underwrite the race and we are very grateful to have all of them as supporters of the new trail system and the race. Northern Westchester Hospital is our premier sponsor. Ridgefield Running is our Finish Line Sponsor, APEX Fitness is our Volunteer Sponsor, Bijou Fine Jewelry is our Results Sponsor, Cross River Demon Shell is our Prize Sponsor, Mid-Westchester Elks Lodge 535 is our Food Sponsor. 

Gold sponsors include Sushi 22, The Farmer’s Grind, Sage Realty, AP Farm, and the Handler Family

850 Degrees Pizza, Bradsell Contracting, Dr. Stu Weitzman, State Farm Katonah, The Neu Group, Kelloggs & Lawrence, Bedford Village Pastry, Corey Glass Inc., Dirty Canvas, LLC, Gossett Brothers Nursery, Keskes Printing, LLC, Shapiro, and Gettinger, Waldinger & Monteleone LLP are our silver sponsors. 

Thanks to Lily’s Deli & Market, Bacio Trattoria, Cross River Pharmacy, Horse & Hound, King Lumber, La Familia Pizza & Pasta of Katonah, Learning Resource Center, Pizza Station, Charles Department Store, Bedford Village Cleaners and Tailoring, Browne Goetz Miraglia, Bubble and Tweet, Goldberg’s Bagels of Katonah, John Jay Prep, Katonah Dental, Kempo Academy of Cross River, Mount Kisco Wine and Spirits , Siemers Wine & Spirits, Tazza Cafe, and Tengda Asian Bistro, who are our bronze sponsors. 

Weinstein’s Pharmacy, Miss Confident, Bella DMH Hair Salon are special sponsors. 

The Frame Shop of Ridgefield and Books on the Common donated gift cards as prizes. 

Green Way Markets, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Dunkin Donuts, Salsa Fresca, Empire Bagels, La Famiglia Cross River, and Tzen Asian Bistro pitched in with food and supplies donations for the Grand Opening Celebration yesterday.

Special shout out to the Horse & Hound Inn in South Salem which served as our planning base of operations as we met nearly every Monday nights since January (we skipped Valentine’s Day). It has been one of our charter sponsors since the start of the race event in 2018. Owner and cook Sue Vales also is a key member of the Lewisboro Lions Club and helped us plan and stock the grand opening event yesterday that many of you attended.

More information on sponsors is here: https://runsignup.com/Race/Sponsors/NY/CrossRiver/JohnJayCommunityTrailRace

Many members of both the high school and middle school track & field and Cross Country teams are running and volunteering today. Thanks for coming out athletes, teachers, and coaches.

Thank you to the 2022 JJTrail Race committee. The Student Race Directors are Maeve McGroary ‘22, Ciara McGroary ’24, Max Goodman ‘22, Sawyer Cummings ‘23, Lucas Mongiello ‘25, Jasper Braunschweiger ’24, and Emma Barniv ’26. Thank you to parent committee members as well: Dennis & Sheila McGroary, Ciorsdan Conran, Coach Dave Bradford (t-shirt designer), Debra Barniv, Shep & Kelly Goodman, and Mike & Kristin Mongiello.

Thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers — if you volunteered ONE hour or HUNDREDS of hours you have helped to move the project forward and helped make the race happen. The donors – over $49,000 raised since 2015 — have completely funded the course building including eight boardwalks and three big bridges. All of the labor has been supplied by volunteers from the community and school. If you are here for the first time prepare to be amazed at the extent of this cross country trail. It might be the finest trail in the section — but I may also be a bit biased. I can tell you there is no trail like it and we are lucky to have the community support and district support that made it possible. 

Thank you to our trail donors! Without your support the trail would not have been created.

Thank you to the many runners and families who donated to the development of the John Jay Community Trail. We are in the tail end of our “Final Link Fundraiser” drive has raised over $5,000 to finish the final link boardwalk and trail. The price of wood has gone up over 50% in the past year and we are feeling the pinch of that. 

Next year John Jay Cross Country teams will host home meets again – this time on the fully developed course. Trail Donations will remain open online through April 30th and you can also mail trail donations via check using the online form at jjtrail.org

We will be working during the summer to put the finishing touches on the trail and structures. There is still work to be done, and with the recent heavy rains we have determined we may need a “bonus boardwalk” or two that were not in our original plans — if you are running the race, let us know where you think that should go. If you are interested in helping out as a volunteer, send us an email at jjtrailrace@gmail.com.

Chris Winter, Tim Farrow, Mike Surdej, and Jim Berenson on the “Causeway Boardwalk” on its completion day in Fall of 2019.

Thank you to notable volunteers here and not here: Mike Surdej, chief of planning. Jim Berenson, hardest worker on the trail. Tim Farrow, aesthetics guide and dedicated volunteer (and last year’s t-shirt designer!). Chris Winter, tool-master and expert craftsman.

David Gordon, JJHS class of 2015, is the catalyst leading to where we are all here today. The course was his idea as a freshman cross country runner in 2012. He presented it to the coaches and then the school board. He helped convince everyone that the course was achievable and necessary. He has travelled up from Philadelphia on a number of occasions since graduating JJHS in order to volunteer not only on the trail building effort but also is an EMT member of the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps. This is all while attending Medical School.

As race director I get the perk of choosing who gets “bib #1” for the race. This year the choice was very clear – he has been a 4 year varsity starter for the John Jay Cross Country and Track & Field teams. He has competed in the NY state championships  has had many amazing races I have had the privilege to watch and photograph: Max Goodman!  It’s Hammer Time!

There are many more people I can think of to single out for thanks and recognition, but if I mentioned everyone who has helped so far we’d be here all day! There is a donor recognition page and a volunteer photo page. There is also a sponsor page for each race year. 

A big thank you to everyone here and everyone who has helped along the way. 

OK — Lets get this race started!

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