Rock the Ridge: A “Race” Like No Other
By L.A. McMahon
In early May, Rock the Ridge rocked the Ridge again. It’s a 50-mile endurance challenge running course in the Mohonk Preserve and the Shawangunk Ridge. The course has four legs and is run almost entirely on carriage roads. For interested parties, it’s time to start thinking about 2020.
Those who only want to run part of the course are welcome, along with seasoned endurance athletes who may be looking to make a good time or even set a 50-mile personal record.
Although there is a significant amount of elevation change, the roads are wide and level in most places, with gradual slopes, creating a manageable course for those who choose to make just completing the distance their primary goal.
One regular Rock the Ridge participant says, “It draws in all kinds of people, no matter their fitness or training level. You have serious ultra-marathoners and people who walk it with a three-foot Subway sandwich stuffed in their backpacks— and everything in between. We’re all just people who want to enjoy the outdoors and challenge ourselves on an adventure. It’s truly a great experience.”
To sum up the great experience, here’s a description of the four legs:
Leg 1: Up The Ridge
(9.8 Miles) This starts at Mohonk Preserve’s Testimonial Gateway Tower; continues up Lenape Lane, over Guyot Hill, past Bonticou Crag for a breathtaking “Million Dollar View” of the Catskills; and finishes at the Spring Farm Slingerland Pavilion aid station.
Leg 2: Across The Ridge
(14.8 Miles) This leg leaves Spring Farm and enters the Mohonk Mountain House Grounds; climbs to Skytop Tower to take in views of the entire ridge line; returns to Preserve lands on Forest Drive, Home Farm, and Overcliff Carriage Roads; crosses the newly renovated Trapps Bridge; and finishes at Lyons Road aid station.
Leg 3: Summit The Ridge
(12.5 Miles) Participants leave Lyons Road and head into Minnewaska State Park Preserve, pass Awosting Falls; climb to Lake Minnewaska; continue climbing to Castle Point—the highest point on the course—descend past Lake Awosting; and finish at Lyons Road aid station.
Leg 4: Rock The Ridge
(12.6 Miles) This final leg leaves Lyons Road aid station, crosses Trapps Bridge and takes Undercliff Carriage Road, passing by the Trapps, a world-famous rock climbing area, heads up Oakwood Drive, Kleine Kill Road, and Duck Pond Road; passes Duck Pond; and continues down through the Foothills, finishing at the Testimonial Gateway Tower.
Aside from the copious fellowship and the natural beauty, what’s also great about this type of event is the ability to eat huge quantities of food while training for it and not have to worry about the calories!
There are volunteer opportunities every year, and Rock the Ridge could not be a success without a strong corps of volunteers. Whether it is acting on a committee, supporting runners at an aid station, being a course marshal, helping with event setup and breakdown, or any of the many other important roles, these are all open for local and not-so-local residents.
An event T-shirt, food, and other amenities are provided free to all who volunteer their services to Rock the Ridge. They’ll also provide a volunteer certification document to any volunteer who plans to participate in an ultra-event that requires one.
To volunteer at the event in any capacity in 2020, email email@example.com or call 845-255-0919. They guarantee that if you do, people will love you.