Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Sleepy Hollow 10k Race Report

This weekend I did the 3rd Annual Sleepy Hollow 10k. In 2010 I participated in the inaugural running of this race and it was really cool to see how it's grown. In 2010 there were around 250 runners; this year there were nearly 900! In 2010 there were 2 porta-potties at the start; this year there were at least 10. The best part is that even with such phenomenal growth, the race has retained it's small town community appeal.

The race t-shirt.
With the New York Marathon just two weeks away, this was a tune-up race, but I was still really excited for it. I signed up for the race with one of my running friends, Helen, who happens to have a car so we got to drive to the start. Living in NYC, driving to any race is a huge luxury and it was sure nice to rock out to quality tunes on the way.

Packet pick-up was a breeze in spite of the larger numbers and they also had a bag check. After changing into our racing flats, Helen and I did a nice warm-up mile through the neighborhood. By the time we got back, the starting line was looking crowded so we hurried to find spots near the front. It looked like a faster crowd than before but I still figured we'd do pretty well overall.

Me, on the final hill.
After the national anthem and an appearance by the headless horseman, we were off. The first mile, as I remembered, has a lot of downhill and it was tempting to go fast--I did, cruising through in 6:06. After mile 1 there's a significant downhill (that becomes an uphill later) before the course passes the Old Dutch Church and turns into the residential neighborhood of Phillipse Manor.

This section, the bulk of the race, is full of turns and hills. Just looking at my splits you can see how steep the hills were. Mile 2 was a speedy 6:08, while miles 3, 4, and 5 were 6:28, 6:27, 6:29 respectively. No matter how much downhill there was in a given mile it couldn't completely make up for the steep climbs.

For much of the race I was running with or near three runners from NYAC, a guy and the two lead females. They were friendly and we chatted a bit, plus I got to pretend that the applause for the lead females was also for me (though there was plenty of cheering for everyone).

By the time we finished mile 5, most of the hills were out of the way. That's how I managed a 6:08 mile 6 (my same pace for that mile in 2010!). Of course, the steep downhill from just after mile 1 becomes a steep uphill at the end of the race as we return towards the finish. I knew this hill was coming and had mentally prepared for it but it still sucked. You could hear the cheers from the finish line, though, which helped a bit.

Just after I crested the hill another runner edged past me. I was having none of it so I surged and managed to pass him again just before crossing the finish line. Good enough for a 39:15 finish, 13th place overall, and 3rd in the my age group.

My friend Helen crossed a couple minutes after me and we headed in search of the delicious donuts I remembered from 2010. There were plenty of them, though we restrained ourselves and did a cool-down along the course so we could see more of the costumes. We even saw a celebrity of sorts:

We both had a ton of fun and I highly recommend this race to anyone looking for a good time (though definitely not a PR). Of course, the caramel apple I had later in morning may have been even better than the race itself.
That's my happy face, I swear!

While the weather was a bit warm for a race, it was perfect for exploring Sleepy Hollow and neighboring Tarrytown. All in all, a great fall day!

Note: The first three photos in this post are from Rivertown Runners; the last two photos in this post are from my friend Helen.


  1. Nice work, Dave! Great tune up race. It is hard not to go all out so close to a marathon, but you did great work.

  2. Nice report; sounds like a fun time. But where's the donut porn?!

  3. Great report! Why do we look like we are standing on kryptonite grass?

  4. Congrats on your great finish! What a fun day!

  5. Great recap and awesome finish time! Awesome that you got a photo with the headless horseman, I only got a picture of him haha