A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Some Pics From the RVRR Train Run

There were basically 3 groups, or "Trains" that started at Trenton the morning of June 1. Thanks to RVRR Member and professional photographer Oleg Shpak for the photos of the run itself. He was able to initially drive the 9:30 min/mile paced group to its start at Trenton and took photos of their start. I was in the 8:30 min/mile group so I wasn't in these intial pics.
The 9:30 min/mile "train" group, ready to start.

The person second from the left is Chris Lehman, he was the whole reason for the start of this event. He was preparing for an ultra 15 years ago and decided to do the entire main section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath. That very first run happened in mid-July, if I remember correctly. I ran part of the trail with him that first year and it was beastly hot! Oh God.

The second year of this event was moved to the first Saturday of June, National Trails Day, and that was when I first did the entire 34 miles.

Notice the mix of young and old members in this club. This is  the indication that RVRR is a thriving club.

The best part about the people who started from Trenton is that over half of them already have done an ultramarathon! That is a far cry from that first year when ultrarunners were few and far between.

The 9:30 min/mile "train" getting to the first "stop" about 8 miles in from the start.

Ah, here comes the 8:30 min/mile train, and there I am in the middle! Laura, the other ex-president of the club, and the pacer of the group, is the one on the right.

Look ma, no stomach! I worked damn hard to get into shape this year; I might as well appreciate it in photos!

These photos were still taken about 8 miles in from the start.

Ah, here is the the 10:30 min/mile group, led by pacer Judit Hajnal Ward. This I think was at Blackwells Mills stop, about 12 to go to the finish. The heat of the day has just started at this point!

At about 4 miles to go, all three of these groups would merge as one if everyone stood on pace, and then we come in all together as one large group. It's a great format.

The 9:30 min/mile pacer Molly MacLeod showing off her tutu. I don't think you'll catch me dead wearing this. It does work well for Molly though, and that's fine. :-)

The 8:30 min/mile group coming in to Blackwells Mills. Everyone is still looking good at this point.

Thanks again Oleg for these photos!

RVRR Member Robert Tona took the next series of photos, from the end of the run to the picnic afterwards.

Ray Petit is the mover and shaker of the entire event. He's the reason for the continued success of this annual event. Here he is blowing the train whistle at the end of the run.

Everybody is gathering at the end of the towpath to come in together. Ray has his train whistle in hand here.

I just want to mention that there were a few hardy runners who actually started from Frenchtown 70 miles out the night before the official start. As I said before, running 70 miles was largely unheard of before, and now it's starting to become frequent. It was great to see them finish also.

Run done, time to party. And eat! Keep your grill hand strong Robert Tona!

Some massage services at the picnic also. All well deserved after a long hot run.

The picnic is always a hit after the event! A lot of people attend this run every year, and it's great to catch up with old friends!

Ray giving out "100 mile" mugs out to those who have completed a total of 100 miles or more in this event over its history. We had a lot of people get that distinction this year. Hopefully I'll be looking for my "300 mile" mug at next year's event!

Ray also gave out magnetic decals to those who did the 34.1 distance (or more). Here I am skipping up there like I was still energetic. Yeah, I was tired, but didn't want to show it. :-)

I just love to talk fitness and coaching. I found myself doing this multiple times during the picnic.


The obligatory ex-presidents photo-op. From left, Bob Townley, Ray Petit, Peter Priolo (Me), Doug Brown, Laura Swift, and current president Tom O'Reilly. Gene Gugliotta was at the run and picnic but left before the photo was taken, so Tom extended his arm out as if Gene was still there. :-)


I'll be back to do this run again next year guys. Thanks for another successful run this year, and it was great seeing all of you again!

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