Name: Lyndsey B
Location: Bear Mountain, NY
Results: 01:15:21, 338th out of 574 runners
Strava Activity Link
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
1. Great logistics – As my first time racing a North Face Endurance Series event, I was honestly super impressed by how well thought out and organized everything was, especially for such a popular/large trail event. There was ample parking, plenty of shuttles to the start, never a line for the bathrooms, on-time start, great start/finish area. Honestly the easiest race from a logistics standpoint I’ve participated in ever.
2. Challenging course – From a trail running perspective, this course is a dream. Plenty of steep uphills to get your lungs working, rocky downhills and deep mud flats to test your footing, and lots of fast, flat stretches for picking up speed and passing. This course really makes you work for it.
3. Beautiful location – Bear Mountain/Harriman is just an awesome place in any type of weather, and has lots of options for sticking around after to picnic or hike if you have the time.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
The only aspect that was a bit of an adjustment for me personally (and not necessarily a bad one), was that the North Face Races are now officially cupless, which just meant making sure I didn’t lose my handheld in some unfortunate twist of fate on the course and be SOL at the finish!
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
This was the first race I’ve ever run where I came to run hard and see where I could push myself to. I’m not a fast runner, but I wanted to see where I would land with the training I’ve put in so far. It was a pretty technical course a lot like the trails I train on regularly in NJ, but with a little more vert, and a lot of mud and rain. I was able to approach the uphills with a mix of running and strong hiking without getting winded, and really hit my stride on the downhills and flats where I was able to build speed and practice footing while passing other runners. It was wonderful to just get outside, move my body strongly, and meet lots of other runners all having fun on the trails!
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
The 10K distance was pretty big by trail race standards with over 500 participants. While they sent folks out in smaller waves at the start, the course doesn’t really open up until after mile 3 after the last of the big climbs. Be patient on the initial climbs – the back half of the course is a great place to push the pace for a fast finish.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
There’s a lot of runners out there, and a lot of mud (even when it hasn’t poured for the 24 hours leading up to the race!); be ready for both and be patient/courteous when passing other runners.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
This year’s race took place after a lot of rain, and so everything looked really magical with the contrast of dark, rain-soaked wood and trails to new spring growth. Kind of like running in Narnia.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
This course is definitely challenging and you will be slowed down in places by steep climbs, slick rocks, and ridiculously deep mud flats, but it’s runable if you approach it with a smile and a lot of energy!
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This race was very laid back and everything went off like clock work.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Again, this race was a dream from a logistical perspective. Packet pick up locations were clear and easy to get to (one in the city, and one in Westchester, plus the option of race morning, too). It was an easy drive from the tri-state area (just under an hour from NYC), with more than enough parking, plenty of shuttles to the start, and ample amenities. If you’re coming from elsewhere, the North Face sends emails in advance with lodging and travel suggestions, making planning a breeze.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
This is a cupless race, so make sure you bring your own handheld. The race also provided runners with HydroFlask cups to carry, as well.
Weather and typical race conditions
It rained heavily for 24 hours leading up to the race, and was still drizzling when the race started, making for tricky/muddy/slick conditions along the entire course. Temps were cooler but humid, hovering around 55-60 degrees. Honestly, a great day for trail running.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Be prepared for the mud and wear your grippiest trail shoes, if you have them. Otherwise, be ready to slide!
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
For the 10K, the only spectator viewing area is at the start/finish, which is kind of a bummer.
How’s the Swag?
From what I could tell, the 5k and 10k runners received non-technical North Face sleeveless tank tops, and the longer distances got tech shirts. Everyone got a ninja star medal for their distance, plus there was a beer tent for finishers hosted by Sierra Nevada and free medal engraving offered.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
5 stars for a challenging, muddy, ridiculously fun trail race to get your blood pumping and quads burning. I definitely recommend the race/distance for anyone looking to try their first trail race as well as folks wanting to get out there and bring some heat!