We just wanted to clear up any confusion or ‘rumors’ about the Hook Half marathon and the course that we’ll be running this year. As we all know, Sandy did some real damage to much of the tri-state area and our beloved Hudson River was not spared from the power of this storm. The route from Nyack Beach to the Hook Hill has been shut down and probably won’t re-open until late spring. Our parks department is faced with an expensive fix and state budget cuts that have affected all of the state parks. So, we’ve decided to run the northern route of the Hook Half course – a course run for a few years in the late 1990’s. And, a course preferred by most of the folks who have run both. So here is a brief explanation.
The course starts by the north parking lot in the same place, goes around the lake on the inside path for about three miles, then heads back on the outside of the lake road back around the lake just like it always has. When we pass the Firehouse it is about 4.5 miles and we head down the ‘big’ hill to the Nyack Beach to Haverstraw trail. Because of the damage Sandy did to the Nyack Beach southern route, we will be taking the original course trail north for about three miles towards Haverstraw. The views along the Hudson are spectacular and it is in pretty good shape. It is a bit ‘up and down’ but no roots and very few rocks. When you do get back on the trail (it doubles back the same way) and climb the big ole hill, you’re already at 12 miles and can smell the finish line – only a mile or so away! The Nyack Beach route brought us up the Hook Mountain hill at 10 miles and then we had to run around the lake again. We wouldn’t want to miss the Hook Mountain hill however, now would we!
So, to recap, we will be running approximately 6 miles on the trail north to Haverstraw. What is it like to those who haven’t run on it? Unlike the Nyack Beach trail it is elevated and didn’t take the hit that the Nyack Beach trail did. It is narrower in places and undulates more (not flat) and there are some brief sections where you’ll need to mind your p’s and q’s – does anybody say that anymore? – with some rocky areas. It follows the original road to Haverstraw and if you look closely you’ll be able to see remnants of the old amusement park down by the river. Also, for you history buffs, you’ll run close to the area that the plans for West Point were handed from Benedict Arnold to Andre. Now Andre was later hanged in Tappan but that’s a whole other story.
So you may not be looking at beating the PR you had in Brooklyn or Bangkok, but you will be enjoying one of the most scenic and challenging half marathons in the world. But not the flattest! Happy training.