Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Inaugural Old Croton Aqueduct Trail Run

What an absolutely amazing day we had on Monday for a group run of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, a 160 year old trail that was New York City's major source of clean drinking water for many years (it was built between 1839 and 1842 and was used, along with later water tunnels, until 1959), and follows the path of the original Croton Aqueduct where it traveled through the Bronx and Manhattan.

A group of 14 met at Metro North's Croton-Harmon train station at around 7:30 AM - me, Silke, Steve, Brennen, Kate, Eric, Peter L., Wayne, Herb, Rick, Susie, Shannon, David and Susan.  Steve immediately headed South, wanting a head start from the rest of the group.  He actually did an amazing job of navigating his way through Van Cortlandt Park until we finally caught up to him.  The rest of us went North to the Croton Gorge Trail.  We had planned on crossing Quaker Bridge (built in 1894) and taking the OCA Trail up to the Croton Dam.  However, we instead wound our way around to Croton Gorge Park, arriving at the Croton Dam and some spectacular views of the dam and the New Croton Reservoir

View of the New Croton Reservoir

The picture and viewing session was followed by a steep climb (lead by Brennen) to the top of the dam, and then it was South on the OCA Trail. We traveled in Westchester County through Cortlandt, New Castle, Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Scarborough, Archville, Mount Pleasant, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Irvington, Greenburgh, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson and Yonkers, arriving at the Westchester County/Bronx County border.  By this time we were a group of 5 (me, Eric, Peter L, Susan and Herb).  The snow was getting a little deeper on the trail.  For most of the run there was a nice, packed portion of trail that was, although uneven, fairly easy to traverse.  We decided to take the plowed South County Trailway through Van Cortlandt Park and met up with Steve.  With night falling, our route diverged a bit from the OCA Trail, crossing into Manhattan via the Broadway Bridge, then running parallel to the trail on St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (two block off the actual OCA Trail which runs down Amsterdam Avenue) until we hit Central Park.  Exiting Central Park on Fifth Avenue put us right back on the actual trail, straight to its end at the Public Library.

Reminds me of one of those Rave Run Photos from Runner's World

Everyone had their own plans as to how much of the OCA Trail they would run (the trail runs just a few blocks from a bunch of Metro North train stations, making it very easy to run only a portion of the trail). In the end, 6 of us would reach the end of the trail at the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets, covering about 44 miles in all - Me, Steve, Eric, Peter L., Susan and Herb (Eric is not pictured at left, he took it).  It was a fantastic day, a great training run, and I got to make some new friends.  We are already talking about another go at it in the spring/summer.


  1. I can't thank you enough for yesterday! What an amazing journey--to start at that incredible dam, and 10 hours later to be running through rush hour on Fifth Ave in NYC...so cool! It was so much fun and I am grateful to you for putting it together, carrying the maps and being able to figure out what they meant! See you soon, I hope.

  2. Great day Tony. Definately in for the next one. Peter L. is in the picture. It was me who took it:)

  3. It was a pleasure to run with you guys. Thanks again for putting this together. Can't wait to return to the OCA.

  4. Tony,
    I had a great time and want to thank you so much for putting this together. I really like the photos you took.
    I look forward to running with you again soon.

  5. Great pictures, looks like it was an awesome time! Thanks for sharing it!!

    :) Dusty

  6. Gorgeous photos. And amazing that you used Manhattan and trail run in the same sentence/paragraph. Who knew it could include both.

  7. This looks like it was great fun. Let me know when the next one is. I'd love to join you all.