On Sunday, August 25, The Mendon Foundation will be hosting the 8th Annual Black Diamond Express Races, which include a 5K as well as our area’s original Half Marathon, and the Mendon community is being encouraged to get out to the Lehigh Valley Trail that morning to cheer the runners on.
“This year’s race is looking to be about a little smaller than last year’s, which means about 200 runners total,” notes Race Director Drew Saur. “Running races are a little less popular this year than they have been in years past. Because of that, we are asking people who can’t run this year to donate if they can, since the race is our single biggest source of funds to keep the Lehigh Valley Trail and our properties in tip-top shape.”
Donations can be made at https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/NY/Mendon/BlackDiamondExpress.
This year’s race continues the tradition of cash awards for half marathon 1st and 2nd place winners ($300 for 1st place overall; $100 for 2nd place overall, both male and female) and Mendon 64 or Cottage Hotel gift certificates for 5K 1st and 2nd place winners ($50 for 1st place overall; $25 for 2nd place overall, both male and female).
Musicians will be playing at Rochester Junction to provide mid-race entertainment for all.
Once again, Mendon’s Geoff Gretton is making custom-designed ceramic medals, to be presented to each Half Marathon finisher.
As with last year’s race, the Half Marathon course is USA Track & Field Certified (NY17052JG), which enables runners to use the Black Diamond Express Half Marathon as a time-qualifying race for other large races, such as the New York City Marathon.
The races are the Mendon Foundation’s primary fundraising event to support its ongoing maintenance duties on the Lehigh Valley Trail, as well as its duties on the six land trust properties it maintains for public use around the town.
Saur notes that the community engagement is ripe to be better than ever: he is encouraging people in the town to come out to support the runners, which should make for a fun Sunday morning for all. “Runners love to be cheered on, and the best races bring out the communities who host them. We’d love people to come out to the edges of the trail – especially near all of the entrances between Chamberlain and Plains Roads – to cheer the runners on along their path. Cowbells and cheering sections will bring a lot of cheer and extra energy to the runners as they compete. But please stay to the sides of the trail and off of the roads to keep out of the runners’ way.”
Half Marathon runners are expected to be out on the trail until noon.
The races start at the entrance to the trail by the Schnacky-Brokaw baseball fields south of Route 251 in the Hamlet, and both are “out and back” races that finish at their starting point. The Half Marathon starts at 8 AM and runs 6.55 miles to the west, turning around just east of the Rush United Methodist Church. The 5K starts at 8:20 AM and runs 1.55 miles west, turning around just east of Chamberlain Road.
Registration for both races is open right up until the start on Sunday morning.
More information about the races, including links to registration forms, can be found at http://www.blackdiamondexpressraces.org/.