2024 Race Day Recap – Pre-race Full Remarks

These are the full remarks prepared for the race start. Working on race recap with some highlight photos!

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

We have two events starting from the field (5k race and 4k walk) and one event at the track (Kids Jay Dash).

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 same way that the runners are running – but look for a “4k walk” arrow sign after the first big bridge. 5k runners there is a 5k sign pointing the other way. Runners follow the flags and ribbons.

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. WALKERS you will stay put and I will give you instructions after the runners have started.

RUNNERS will begin here and head towards the pit field. Runners will do a circuit around the pit field and head back to this field 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 trail loop you will head back up to the pit field and then once more over the middle school field (this field). This second time you go through this JJMS field you will enter the woods on the other side and you will turn onto the Championship Bridge and head up hill the final link trail to the John Jay Contest Track & Field for the finish line. 

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

Thank you to our sponsorsnearly 40 sponsors this year! Sponsors help to underwrite the race and it would not be possible without them. We are very grateful to have all of them as supporters of the new trail system and the race. Chestnut Market is our premier sponsor. APEX Fitness, Ridgefield Running and Bradsell Contracting are our Finish Line Sponsors, Alysa DiMarco State Farm Bedford Hills is our Prize Sponsor. Lize Lubbe Physical Therapy is our photography sponsor. 

Gold sponsors include Northern Westchester Hospital, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp, Green Way Markets, and ImprintCX.

Sage Realty, Dr. Stu Weitzman, Goldbergs Bagels, Kelloggs & Lawrence, Bedford Village Pastry, Gettinger, Waldinger, Monteleone, Gushue, & Hollis, LLP, La Familia Pizza & Pasta of Katonah, Lily’s Deli & Market, Books on the Common, are our silver sponsors. 

Thanks to, Bacio Trattoria, Cross River Pharmacy, Horse & Hound, King Lumber, Cross River Eye Care, Sushi 22, Mount Kisco Wine and Spirit , Tazza Cafe, Bedford Village Cleaners & Tailoring, Charles Department Store, Blue Dolphin, Bedford Pilates & Fitness Studio, Shawn’s Personal Fitness, and Jewel Corner who are our bronze sponsors. 

Bubble & Tweet, Kempo Academy of Cross River, Katonah Valet Cleaners, Bedford Village Hair Design, Bedford Gourmet, and Golf on 6 are our valued sponsors. 

Special shout out to the Horse & Hound Inn in South Salem which served as our planning base of operations as we met every other Monday night since January. They have been one of our charter sponsors since the start of the race event in 2018.

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 2024 JJTrail Race committee. The Student Race Directors are Ciara McGroary ’24, Jasper Braunschweiger ’24, Quinn Oates ’24, Chloe Jaffe ’24, Ava Koch ’25, Lucas Mongiello ‘25, Emma Barniv ’26, Penelope Wein ’26, and Ainsley Graham ‘27. Thank you to parent committee members as well: Dennis & Sheila McGroary, Ciorsdan Conran, Michael Graham, and Debra Barniv. 

Thank you to our student t-shirt designer, Chloe Jaffe ’24! Second year designing!

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 $55,000 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. 

There are a couple of spots you can’t help but notice today after the heavy rains we’ve seen over the past few weeks. There is need for at least one additional boardwalk and some trail work to get the course to the next level. The fundraising will go towards purchasing the wood and hardware needed to construct these boardwalks.

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 April 30th and you can also mail trail donations via check using the online form at jjtrail.org.

The John Jay Cross Country teams will continue to host home meets on the fully developed course. Since 2020 there have been approximately 15 meets on the trail system and athletes can use the trail system for practice every day.

We will be working during the late spring and summer on the trail and structures. There is work to be done. 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 past t-shirt designer!). Chris Winter, tool-master and expert craftsman. 

As race director I get the perk of choosing who gets special bibs for the race. This year the graduating Student Race Directors will get their very own “2024” bib. 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!

I wanted to announce this will be my last year as race director. Next year I envision students leading the race organizing – they have been learning how to make an event happen. I will be available as an advisor, but I have to step back — it has been a challenging 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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