Castle to River Run Unites Scenery, History and Trail Running

10k, 5k and kids’ races on Oct. 9 benefit Philipstown Rec

By Alison Rooney

On Oct. 9 at precisely 8 a.m. a group of runners from Philipstown and beyond will depart from the grounds of the Philipstown Community Center and follow a course which takes them first across Route 9D, then up a wooded trail up to historic Osborn Castle, where they risk not faring well in the race if they pause too long to look at the spectacular views up and down the Hudson. The racers will circle the Castle, head back down the mountain on a different trail, cross back over Route 9D and head to the Hudson, passing the Garrison train station and gazebo at Garrison’s Landing and finally returning to the Community Center.

A second group of runners will depart a half hour later for a 5K race, which consists of a trail run loop to the river and back to the Community Center. Two hours after that, a third contingent, this one of kids (any age) will participate in a one-mile race on the grounds of the Community Center. The trio of races all fall under the umbrella of the inaugural Castle to River Run, an event put together by the Friends of Philipstown Recreation. A barbeque and fun activities will follow the races.

The Friends of Philipstown was formed this past spring as a non-profit entity designed to fundraise for Philipstown Recreation, with a particular focus on providing non-taxpayer levied monies for capital improvements. Addressing those things which are not necessarily in the forefront or in the public eye, but which need, nevertheless, to get done. Things like improvements to Philipstown Park, from building a shed to installing honest to goodness “real” bathrooms, and providing better irrigation for the soccer fields there.

Plans have already been drawn up for the renovations — plans donated by Michael Bean, another volunteer. For their first real undertaking, the Friends “didn’t want to bite off too much,” said Recreation Director Amber Stickle, “We wanted something achievable, to build confidence.” Enter the Castle to River Run, proposed by Friends member Jeff Dain as a kind of revival of ‘the old Philipstown 10k.’” Knowing that local runners retained a lot of interest in that race and, according to Stickle, “seeing the race as a “win-win” for everyone,” Dain “plotted the race on maps, in fact both races, as the 10k and 5k are two completely different courses, and has been promoting it — “he’s been the force behind it,” says Stickle. The “old race” was run under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce, according to Garrison resident Margaret O’Sullivan, who was involved with it through the years. According to O’Sullivan, the race started at Routes 403 and 9D, where runners headed north, made a right on Snake Hill, ran on Avery Road to Indian Brook Road, turned left, ran along Indian Brook to 9D again, past Boscobel to Main Street, down Main, across the railroad bridge, and ended at the bandstand in Cold Spring. As with the current race, other activities were organized around it, remembers O’Sullivan, “There was a festival, street vendors; for two years I ran the cooking tent at the waterfront. Phil and Esther Baumgarten were very important, storing food etc. in their store, the Hudson Peddler. At one point people registered to race in the old Marathon Battery Plant on Kemble Avenue — it might have been the book depository then. I think it was 1978 when it started, and it continued probably for about 10 years; why it ended I am not sure.”

In putting together the current course, the Friends wanted it to reflect Philipstown itself, as well as Philipstown Recreation, tying in the Community Center along with the Benedict Arnold Trail, other historic aspects, and typical, scenic views. Stickle calls the race “an opportunity to appreciate the views, the history and to support Recreation.” The vast majority of the course does not involve privately-owned lands, the exceptions being one house, which has readily cooperated, and the Castle, the grounds of which are not normally open to the public, but will be so just for this occasion.

Running trail
Already, volunteers have been recruited. Mike Monteleone and Tom Ptacek will be going over the entire trail, clearing it and making it safe for the runners; Allison Jacoby has been rounding up high-schoolers, asking them to man the water stations and also to babysit the children of runners during the race. Overtures have been made to scouting groups and to high school cross-country teams.

There is no limit to the number of entrants in the races. Stickle says that the races will be self-selecting, in effect as “10k racers know who they are, and they will have had experience in the distance — really, 5k as well.” Stickle emphasizes that this is a trail run: “there are hills, it’s considered moderate. People who sign-up know what to do; this is not a road race, it’s a trail race and not perfectly flat.” There will be a clinic for the kids, with an emphasis on stretching and correct running techniques. The kids will be running around the exterior of the Rec Center and will be visible for most of the course, and supervised throughout. They will not be running into the woods.

Prizes will be given to the first, second and third-place finishers in each category. The age brackets are: Male and Female 10K and 5K: Up to 14 years; 15-18; 19 to 25; 26 to 35; 36 to 45; 46 to 55; 56 and over; Kids’ Race: under 10 years; 11-13 years; 14-17 years.

There is an entry fee of $35 for the 5K and 10K races and $15 for the Kid’s Race. The first 100 people to sign up receive a free tee-shirt. Registration can be made through active.com, an independent entity which handles registration for many Rec programs, or directly through Amber Stickle at amber@philipstownrecreation.com, 845-424-4618. It is helpful to the Rec to know the approximate numbers of runners ahead of time, but sign-ups will be taken on the day, as well.

There is no rain date scheduled as of this writing (surely all the rain is used up by now?) and plans are to go ahead if it is merely drizzling, and cancel only in the event of a downpour. Due to the limited parking facilities at the Community Center, overflow parking will take place at the Garrison Metro-North station, where a free shuttle bus will be in operation between the two sites.

Friends of Recreation is hoping to make this an annual event. They are also planning on bringing back the Philipstown Triathlon, which is taking a hiatus this year. Other events are in the works as well. The Friends would love to be joined by more members; contact Stickle for details. Those interested can keep up with details on the Castle to River Run on its Facebook page.


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