2023 Race Day Remarks

These are the full remarks prepared for the race start. It was a bit on the cold side so I shortened them for the sake of getting things going!

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

We have two events starting from this field: first we will have the 5k runners go. After they circle back from The Pit, we will release the 4k walkers who will walk the opposite way that the runners are running. This is the first time we are having the walkers do this. We ask that the walkers cheer on the runners as they race, move to the side of the trail to let them pass, and you are hereby deputized as race photographers. Nobody will have a view of the race like yours so try to capture photos as you see the runners come by. This is not a requirement, just a favor. 

When the 5k & 4k runners and walkers are finished on the track, we will have awards. There are bagels, coffee, hot chocolate, and bananas at the finish. 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 JJ 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 Championship Bridge and head up hill 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 35 sponsors this year! 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.

Thank you to APEX Fitness — our premier sponsor! They have sponsored the race in the past and moved up to the top sponsorship spot this year.

Ridgefield Running and Bradsell Contracting are our Finish Line Sponsors, Cross River Demon Shell is our Prize Sponsor, Mid-Westchester Elks Lodge 535 is our Food Sponsor. Jeffrey Keutmann is our water table sponsor.

Gold sponsors include Northern Westchester Hospital, Sage Realty.

850 Degrees Pizza, Dr. Stu Weitzman, Goldbergs Bagels, Kelloggs & Lawrence, Bedford Village Pastry, Gossett Brothers Nursery, Gettinger, Waldinger & Monteleone LLP, La Familia Pizza & Pasta of Katonah, Lily’s Deli & Market, Books on the Common, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. are our silver sponsors. 

Thanks to Bacio Trattoria, Cross River Pharmacy, Horse & Hound, King Lumber, Cross River Eye Care, Katonah Art & Frame, Sushi 22, Mount Kisco Wine and Spirits, Siemers Wine & Spirits, Tazza Cafe, Bijou Fine Jewelrey, and LMNOP Bakery, who are our bronze sponsors. 

Kempo Academy of Cross River, Miss Confident, Toy Chest, and Joy of Movement are valued sponsors. 

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. They have been one of our charter sponsors since the start of the race event in 2018.

Many members of both the John Jay 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 2023 JJTrail Race committee. The Student Race Directors are Sawyer Cummings ’23, Ciara McGroary ’24, Jasper Braunschweiger ’24, Quinn Oates ’24, Lucas Mongiello ‘25, and Emma Barniv ’26. Thank you to parent committee members as well: Dennis & Sheila McGroary, Ciorsdan Conran, Coach Dave Bradford, and Debra Barniv. 

Thank you to our student t-shirt designer, Chloe Jaffe ’25!

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 $52,000 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 the many runners and families who donated to the development of the John Jay Community Trail. We are in the tail end of our “Wayfinder Fundraiser” drive has raised nearly $3,000 to finish the signage, benches, kiosks, and finishing work. Trail Donations will remain open online through May 15th. You can also mail trail donations via check using the online form at jjtrail.org to John Jay Boosters Club, PO Box 586, Cross River NY 10518 and be sure to write JJTrail donation on the check. We also accept Venmo to @JJBoosters – write in JJTrail donation on the venmo transaction please.

Thank you to Spencer Hadlock who built the kiosk near the JJTrack and installed a welcome bench at a pretty spot

The John Jay Cross Country teams will continue to host home meets on the fully developed course. 

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 we have determined we need a “bonus boardwalk” or possibly two — that were not in our original plans. If you are interested in helping out as a volunteer, send us an email at jjtrailrace@gmail.com.

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.

As race director I get the perk of choosing who gets “bib #1” for the race. This year I picked some of the unsung heroes of the JJTrail Race: the Student Race Directors already mentioned previously. They worked behind the scenes to get the race organized and sponsored. There are a lot of moving parts for an event like this. Many hands make light work!

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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