Breakneck Point Trail Half Marathon, Beacon, New York
Elevation Gain: 4600'
April 16, 2016 - After climbing up the Priest and Three Ridges in Virginia less than 48 hours
earlier I was still weary as I toed the line for the second part of my weekend adventure.
Having raced here in the Hudson Highlands last year over the marathon distance up and down
Mt. Beacon with temperatures reaching 80 degrees, I opted for the half marathon this time
as a sensible alternative to enjoy this technically challenging beautiful course.


No matter where one chases up and down rocky trails in the great mountains across this
land one could fairly argue that it would be hard to find a trail race that is more rigorous
and challenging than this one.  It has everything a rock jock in running shoes could ever
dream of.  The race goes up from the start for the first two miles with little break from
rocky climbing.  Then the real fun begins with even steeper descents and ascents that
hammer the knees and quads without reprieve, challenging even the best of trail runners 
to a test of their keenest skills of balance and agility, avoiding slips and slides in loose
rocks and leaves that could end the day in disaster.

The climax of the day is the hand-over-hand climb up to Breakneck Point, straight up an
un-runable ascent with stunning overlooking views of the mighty Hudson River.  Approaching
the top we were allured by the siren call of a bagpiper laying down highland echoes of a
bygone era.  I came to race, but paused often to enjoy the views and the feels and the
sounds and the cameraderie of those of my tribe.  Above, I paused long enough for a photo
with Rick Mazzeo, from the Syracuse area, who I shared the trail with for much of the day.

While I started weary and a bit sore from my previous effort, by the time the rest of the
field became weary from a sustained up and down rocky effort I slipped into my strength
gear and powered beyond many in the second half to finish comfortably in 3 hours and
43 minutes.  It was not a speedy effort, by design, but a sustained performance that left
me invigorated and less weary than when I began.  It was a good challenge to demonstrate
my level of fitness at this stage of training.  Overall I am pleased with how my body is
responding to my current regimen of preparation for some hard events coming up.

I enjoyed seeing some folks that I know and meeting some new members of my growing
tribe.  Finishing earlier this year I was able to enjoy three hearty Newburgh brown ales
and some post-race victuals before bugging out for a five-hour drive back to my old
stomping grounds in Sigel where I proceeded to get out for an additional seven miles in the
evening before calling it a day.  Even after racing, my legs and feet were good - not a bit
of soreness from the rocky pounding I had sustained earlier.  It was a good shag down
with another thousand feet of climbing on familiar trails in the waning light of a good day.



the straight up climb to Breakneck Point

with my pal Charlie Gadol pre-race (courtesy Elizabeth Azze)