The fifth annual "Paine to Pain Half Marathon" was held Sunday, hosted and organized by the NewRo Runners. The main focus of this race was a fundraiser to improve the quality of many Westchester trails and give runners an “off the paved road” experience to compete on various inclines, terrains and trails.
In 2008, when this race was established, only 50 runners signed up. Through word of mouth, social media and the distribution of flyers over 700 runners registered to participate in this year’s race.
There were countless first time runners who showed much enthusiasm toward their decision to participate.
"I decided to participate in this race through the recommendation of a friend," said Valerie Miller from Harlem, New York. "I did a 10-mile run last week, so I’m just continuing to train for other races."
"I didn't prepare any differently really," she said. "I just knew there were going to be different inclines and terrains and prepared for that through my miles."
The runners were separated into four wave groups all starting within a five-minute interval of each other. Wave group No. 1 sprinted off at 9 a.m. after a gunshot was fired from the event's very own costumed Thomas Paine.
Eric Turkewitz, who helped organize the race, announced to the runners that this was becoming one of largest trail races on the East Coast.
For the first time since this race was established, kids were able to compete and win medals as well. Quickly after the half marathon got underway, kids lined up on the New Rochelle High School track to compete and have fun with each other through their own running events.
Sponsors such as Robek’s Fruit Smoothies and Healthy Eats, Fairway Market, Vita CoCo, NewRo Runners, Walgreens and many others pitched their tents alongside the high school track and supplied water, fruit, protein bars and many other treats to the runners and their families.
Prizes were given to the top three runners from age groups ranging from 16 to over 60 years of age. Many records were broken categories but the big prizes were awarded to the top three overall men and women.
Richard Marsico from Mamaroneck was the first male to finish with a time of 1:23:26. Morgan Thompson from Long Island City finished in second place and Nicholas Pampena from Kings Park finished third.
The women’s record is 1:39:29, and Deanna Culbreath from New York City, who was the first female to finish, sprinted through the finish line with a time of 1:31:39 crushing the record by eight minutes. Caroline Mullen took second place, followed by Shannon Sawyer in third place. Marsico and Culbreath, along with the main prizes were also awarded a $50 gift certificate to Westchester Roadrunners and a one-year subscription to Trail Runner Magazine.