Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Race Preview : Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k

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The 2008 edition (6th annual) of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k race takes place this Saturday, May 10. The race is organized by the Greater Long Island Running Club and race director Nick "where's my $^&$%$#@ soup" Palazzo. Since last year, the event also offers a 25k race. The 50k starts at 7:30 AM, the 25k at 8:30 AM. The entry fee for both events are relatively cheap - $40 for the 50k and $35 for the 25k until May 3, after which each entry fee is bumped up $5. I have run this event twice (this weekend will be my third), thus I am very familiar with the course.

In the 50k, Glen Redpath set a new course record in 2007 (4:18:17) in finishing almost 20 minutes ahead of Byron Lane (4:37:34). On the women's side, Annette Bednosky (4:48:35) took top honors besting second place finisher Jodi Kartes Heino (5:33:41).

The course is a double out-and-back (once for the 25k runners). With the addition of the 25k event in 2007, some have said that the course has become a bit crowded. Last year 72 runners finished the 50k and 45 runners finished the 25k. After an approximate 1.5 mile stretch on rolling paved road, runners enter the Greenbelt Trail at the Sunnyside Boulevard trail head. Runners take the trail to the turnaround in Cold Spring Harbor where they are treated to a gorgeous view of the harbor. There are several instances where runners must leave the trail to cross roads. Be alert - there is no traffic control for this race. Especially when crossing the 4 lane Jericho Turnpike, you may get feeling as if you are playing a game of Frogger, only you ARE the frog ! The course contains several steep, rocky climbs (see elevation profile below) which, although not too technical, are challenging. After completing the second out-and-back (the first and only for the 25k runners), the course heads back to the roads for a short trip to the finish line at the Greater Long Island Running Club.

The biggest issue with this race has always been course marking. Pre-race materials suggest that all runners carry the course guide with them during the race.....and you should. It is very easy to get lost on this course (I did in 2006). In fact, I have posted below a few links to prior race reports, almost all of which mention course marking issues. Aid stations are generously stocked and the volunteers are helpful and pleasant.

Elevation Profile (taken with a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS unit at the 2007 event) :

Links to race reports from previous years :

Annette Bednosky's 2007 Race Report
Frank's 2007 Race Report
RunNYC's 2007 Race Report
Hurricane Bob's 2004 Race Report


  1. Have a good race! wish i were there!

  2. great preview anthony! see you saturday! i had forgotten about the frogger road crossings!

    meredith, we're going to miss you this weekend :(

  3. Have a good race -- it looks challenging!

  4. Is this thing going to kick my ass? My butt is still bruised from TNF ass-whooping..

  5. Staci - It won't be nearly as bad as Bear Mountain.

  6. Somehow that doesn't quite reassure me ;) I read those race reports - people thought it was the hardest trail they'd ever run....

    Then again, they'd never run Bear Mountain :)

  7. Sounds hardcore. Can't wait to hear about it. Good luck!!!

  8. Hey, that was my first trail ultra! The first time I had leg cramps, got lost, dehydrated...and fell in love:) Back in my days we ran 1 bigger loop/out-backs...Nick rocks! Have fun out there.

  9. Hey, sounds good - this will be my first time at the race. Should I REALLY carry the course description? Sounds like that's the consensus on the race reports, but really? Great elevation profile - thanks. See you Saturday!

  10. Hey Jim. I carried the description the first year I ran it, and it did me no good at all. Now I simply try to stick with one or two people that are running at my pace and follow them. See you Saturday.

  11. Anthony, I may have to try to keep up with you in order to avoid getting lost!

  12. Hey Anthony, Do you know if there are any places to have your crew meet you or do they frown upon that?


  13. Randy -

    There are a few spots where you can have crew meet you. There are two located as street crossings (Jericho Turnpike and Stillwell Woods), so those would be easy meeting spots. The turn-around at Cold Spring Harbor on Route 25A is another spot where crew can probably get to.

    I would not think that they would frown upon having crew members at all...worse case, ask Nick prior to the start, but you should be fine.

    If you didn't get a mailing with the course description, let me know and I'll bring mine for you (just in case they don't have extras - which they will).