2019 John Jay Trail Race

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On April 7th, the John Jay community hosted its annual Spring 5k Race. Parents and other volunteers from our community woke up very early on Sunday morning to get this event ready. The race began shortly after 9am, but a nutritious breakfast, including bananas and bagels were served to all runners on the Contest Field beforehand. The school was already packed at 8am. The breakfast line was the long, there were barely any parking spots, and the middle school was packed with runners registering last minute (like myself) and other runners who were picking up their race numbers.

People of all ages eagerly gathered at the starting line at around 8:45. Just before the race began Rob Cummings, race director and facilitator, addressed the community. He thanked all the runners, volunteers, and sponsors. Following his speech we listened to a poem by Danny Martin, a spiritual advisor. He emphasized the importance of “[following] the trail of life”. He asked all the runners to chant and repeat. “ We are learning to follow the trail of life” four times. Finally the buzzer sounded, and the racers were off… to follow the trail of life.

The race began with a 300 meter lap around the middle school field. Afterwards, the runners headed into the woods behind the campus. Because it downpours the night before the race, the damp course was filled with mud puddles and other obstacles like fallen branches, not to mention the fact that it was already unfinished. This
made the course much more challenging. One particular runner, Mark Stevens, even got his shoe stuck in the mud and had to forcefully rip it out. While most runners persevered through the muddy hills, I was one of the few runners who slowly and
cautiously maneuvered around the mud piles. On our way out of the woods we ran
through a soccer field, “Upper Q” parking lot and made our way to the finish line on the
Contest Field. Mahopac Native, forty-seven-year-old Luis Francisco won the race finishing in seventeen minutes and thirty three seconds. Not far behind him were John Jay Cross Country all stars: sophomore Thomas Dachik, freshman Max Goodman and Coach Tommy Nohilly.

After finishing the race, I interviewed Aidan McGroary, an elite member of the Cross Country team. Of the race, McGroary said, “[It] [was] not too shabby considering it [was] my first 5k since cross country season. My rhythm was off because I haven’t been training for a 5k in 6 months.However, I had a great time at the race today. There was great weather, and a lot of local people showed up.”

This race raised money for the John Jay cross country team. Proceeds from this event are being used to accomplish our goal to develop a fun and safe cross country trail so John Jay can host a meet during the season. Each year as more and more people begin to participate in the race, our community comes together to “follow the trail of life”.