New Paltz Challenge Racers Break in River-to-Ridge Trail

Grab your sneakers and get running. 

The first annual River-to-Ridge race was held on Saturday, Nov. 11. The race is a part of the New Paltz Challenge races.

For the past 10 years, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a half marathon and a 5K on Father’s Day. Jen Roe, executive director at New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce and Dr. David Ness, chairman of the chamber board of directors, came up with the idea for the new River-to-Ridge race, because of the River-to-Ridge trails opening up this past September.

“We at the chamber were so excited when the River-to-Ridge trail was being developed we knew we wanted to host a race there,” Roe said. “We also wanted to expand the New Paltz Challenge into a handful of races throughout the year and Fall was next on our list.”

The Chamber of Commerce reached out to the Open Space Institute (OSI), who oversee the protection of the trail, with the idea of the River-to-Ridge race. 

According to the OSI website, OSI’s president and CEO Kim Elliman said, “These projects [trails] will deepen the public’s connection with stunning landscapes and create a world-class network of interconnected trails.”

With the new addition of the trail in New Paltz, the community now has the opportunity to see more scenery when running the race. This is the first time that a race is being held on the River-to-Ridge trail, so community members could experience the new challenge encased with the atmosphere. 

“This race is an opportunity for members of the community to share an experience on privately protected land, which might empower them to get involved in local and regional conservation efforts,” said Wil Nieves, Land Steward at OSI. “I also hope that while folks are on the trail, they will connect the beauty of the land protected by OSI through the years.”

The River-to-Ridge race trail started at Springtown Road near the Wallkill River. Racers proceeded up to the Shawangunks, seeing views of the Mohonk Tower. 

“Before the River-to-Ridge Trail opened, there was no off-road route from the Village of New Paltz to access the extensive network of trails on and around the Shawangunk Ridge,” Nieves said. “Since its opening in September, the trail has proven to be very popular with people from throughout the New Paltz community.”

In honor of Veteran’s Day, veterans received 20 percent off  of the registration fees. Sponsors for the event included: Vaz-co, Stevens Realty Group, Hudson Valley Credit Union, J.T.S Design, Inc., All State, Mohonk Preserve, Performance Sports & Wellness, Bruderhof, M&O Sanitation, Huguenot Strength and Conditioning, Arrowwood Farms and Hannaford. 

Arrowwood Farms also hosted #bibsforbeer after the race, where runners brought their race bib to Arrowwood to claim a free beer.