Run with us in Webster

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Hello runners – We rarely send posts or emails to folks, but we are really hoping to get some more folks signed up with us to race the Webster Trail Classic this September 4th.

Registration is open at this link https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=83109

Numbers are low this year and this is one of our fundraisers for all the trail work we do!! Some information is below – The rest can be found here http://www.trailsroc.org/wtc

DESCRIPTION:  The Webster Trail Classic will take place in three neighboring parks in Webster, NY. Each park has a different style of trail building so each offers a unique running experience. It is an excellent trail system that we have been so lucky to get permission to use. Thank you to the Town of Webster, Friends of Webster Trails, and the Genesee Land Trust.

Webster Park:

The race will start and end near the Valley View Shelter in Webster Park. The course will stick to the west side of the park. Those running 10 miles will use a connector trail leading to Whiting Road will give runners access to the Whiting Road Nature Preserve.  Those running 3.5 miles will return to the finish through the south portion of the park.

Whiting Road Nature Preserve:

WRNP is a beautiful park with a widely varied trail system. Runners will cover open fields, wooded single track, bridges, and the most elevation changes on the course. A connector trail will lead runners to Pellet Road and the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve.

Gosnell Big Woods Preserve:

The last of the three parks is one of the highlights of the course. The Big Woods Trail is one of several old growth forests we will pass through during the race. We have been given special permission to use this section of trail by the Genesee Land Trust, the holder of the permanent conservation easement. After running the beautiful section we will loop the Big Field and return to Pellet Road via the Meadow Trail. The course then returns to WRNP and Webster Park on the way to the finish.

DISTANCE DISCLAIMER: This is a 10ish or 3.5ish mile race  –

Water: There is water available at the start/finish line.  There will not be “cups” available. We will also have 1 aid station with very basic needs for the 10 milers.

Changes are coming

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A few months back we announced there would be some changes to the #TrailsRoc leadership team and the general direction of the organization. It took us some time to make sure we got it right, but we are finally ready to let you know what this looks like.



Eric and Sheila: This is the surprise here after our earlier announcement that they would be stepping down – Eric and Sheila have decided to stay on in their capacity and are excited to see many of you out in the woods with our group runs, races, and trail work days. They will continue to lead group runs, Co-Direct our races, and introduce new folks to the joys of dirt.

Jeff McBeth: Mr. Code himself is sticking around to offer up the support of our app and all things that go beep-boop in the night. Jeff is instrumental in our web design, scoring of the TROY series, helping out at every single event and supporting runners in the best possible ways. We are excited to spend more time in the woods with Jeff!

Michael Valone: Back for another trip around the sun with us supporting all of the runners he has come to love over the years. Valone will manage our merchandise which will include a newly launched store front as well as day of sales of some of our classic orange shirts. You can purchase our classic #TrailsRoc orange shirts directly from him at any event his is selling, and other gear will be purchased from our new store front!


Laura Howard: Our Special Events Coordinator. Laura was responsible for raising the funds that got us our amazing trailer, organized TROY, and managed our sponsored runners. Laura will remain involved in so many other events in the area so she will never stray far from us and we are sure we will see her at some group runs and races in the future! Thank you Laura for all you have done for us.

Amy Lopata: Our Trail Learning Crew coordinator. Amy has been responsible for showing so many new runners the joys of trail running every Sunday. It has been so great to have her with us. She will be missed, but we have a feeling you will see her volunteering at road crossings, rocking aid stations, mixing up some soups at WTF,  and out enjoying time out on the trails. Thank you Amy, your energy will be missed!

Dave Storie:  Our Trail Steward Coordinator. Dave is responsible for miles of new trails and so many bridges and walkways, making otherwise non-passable locations into beautiful, sustainable systems. Dave has led projects in Powder Mill, Ellison, Black Creek, Durand, Letchworth, and more. If you run trails locally, chances are Dave was part of the building or maintaining of that trail. Dave is leaving a legacy that will span generations, thank you Dave for all you have done, we know we can count on you to join us in the future for projects.


INVITATION: We would like all of you to join us at our Winter Trail Festival in Powder Mills Park as we thank Laura, Amy, and Dave for all they do before the start of our 15 mile race. The community is better for having them in it and we would love to give a large thank you from a sold out race for them. Join us December 7th – Sign up here



Advocacy – We will begin to focus a lot of our efforts into educating trail runners about proper and sustainable use while advocating for public lands to always remain public. This will mean working with land managers to only allow sustainable races and hopefully move all race organizations towards a model that includes volunteer trail maintenance on the systems they run on.

Races – We will continue to offer the Webster Trail Classic in the fall and the Winter Trail Festival in December. These events will be the cornerstone of our fundraising. We believe joining us for these is one of the best ways to help build and maintain trails in the area. The Trailfecta Series will go away at the end of this year as we will only have 2 races next  year.

Trail Work Coordination – We will continue to build new trails, maintain existing ones, and develop plans to ensure that trails are sustainable and usable in all seasons. We, as always need and appreciate your volunteer service on these projects. We will grow our partnership with organizations already committed to these events and hopefully can begin to develop more trail runners in to trail builders as we go.

Speaking of Trail Work– – – Katie Gailey has signed on to be one of our new Trail Steward Coordinators. Katie has been at a number of our work days over the years and spent time in South America with the organization Conservation Volunteers International learning how to build sustainable, quality trails in Chile, specifically in Patagonia.  We are excited to have Katie join us and can’t wait to see what plans our new stewards come up with!

 – – Todd Beverly – a staple at our trail work events and a  Golden Axe award winner has also joined our team. Todd  brings some serious skills as a wood worker – bridge builder – and trail maintainer to the board and we cannot wait to see the new projects he thinks up for us!

Tuesday Trail Workout – A group run open to all levels of runners. We are either doing speed work or hill repeats. These will stick around and anyone is welcome to learn how to run fast with us

Wednesday Morning Club– An early morning east side of the town group run. Get those miles in and be refreshed before heading off to work!

Trail Runner Of the Year series – TROY will be back and scored again. Look soon for an announcement on what races are part of the series.

The App – People love it, we love it, it will still help you find trails, learn trails, and stay safe on trails!

Merchandise– We will be moving almost everything online https://shop.spreadshirt.com/trailsroc/all and items will ship directly to your house. This will include hoodies, tech shirts, tanks, many color options, and even race shirts if you want them. Our classic orange t-shirts and sleeveless shirt will be sold on site during our races. We will only take credit for these items so come prepared!

Aid Stations: You will still see us at Cayuga Trails 50, Twisted Branch, and more as we volunteer our best people to make sure you finish that goal race you trained so hard for!




0SPF – But don’t you worry, the race will live on. Robin Hood Racing and the Rochester Running Company are going to take the mantle and run with it. This event has been around a long time and we wanted to ensure it continues. Look for information very soon from RRC regarding events that we have abandoned.

Ready Set Glow – It was already moonlighted (see what we did there)….. but Rochester Running Company has plans to bring it back. Pay attention for those details soon.

Our Ambassador program – We have helped 20 runners compete at races out of their comfort zones over the years. From Prem running all the way across Haiti to Scott winning the War Hammer 100. We will leave the adventure recaps on our website, but will be focusing that cash and energy into our local trails and races around here. Thanks to all of our ambassadors for all you did to highlight our organization.

Some group runs – Since our start, this community has spawned group runs that cover every single day of the week for every single pace of runner around. We are all about this community and want to see you all engaging in those other runs and bringing that energy to support our local stores and groups.


So there you have it – Some changes, but we will still be the same trail focused organization that we have been for almost a decade now. As we head into our 9th year this gives us a bit more sustainable approach while still allowing us to have a large focus on the trail community around us. Thanks for being along for the ride, we can’t wait to see where it goes next!



Trail closures and advocacy

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We think Spring is finally here. It was a long wet winter for our local trail systems and they are in pretty rough shape in some places. We urge you to all take consideration with where you run and what the conditions are like. If you are leaving footprints, it’s a good idea to find a drier place to run. This is also a good time to remind everyone to stay on approved trails when out and about.

Locally, at least 3 places have recently lost trail space.

  1. The Doc Lilac Trail in the Crescent Trail system is no longer public access. We have removed it from our app and there will be signs placed to let runners know where the private property begins. Much of the Crescent and Seneca trails are on private land that needs property owner permission. In this case, they decided to revoke the permit for the trail on their land.
  2. The backside of a route in Ellison Park known as the “Coyote 4X4”. The section of trail that was used for this route was never on public land and the new land owner is very serious about runners and hikers not trespassing on the land. Signs and even barriers have been in place on this route educating us as to where public lands end. Please respect the land owner and stay only on public lands on actual trails when at Ellison Park.
  3. The Finger Lakes Trail  Letchworth branch south from Access K-Closed due changing conditions, with major portions of the hillside slumping toward the gorge It has become too dangerous. Explorations are proceeding, but for now we have no trail route down to access L at the river bridge in Portageville.
    To reach trail south of the park, from Access K walk uphill on the paved road to NY 436; turn right onto 436 and drop down to river level to use the bridge, which has NO SHOULDERS. On the south end of the bridge, continue straight past the immediate intersection, then very soon veer left onto the old railbed/towpath and the Genesee Valley Greenway. This is roughly 1.5 miles.
    This section of the Letchworth Trail also appears on map M7.

    These are all great reminders that we must be good stewards of the lands that we run and race on. If we abuse, ignore rules, liter, and in general disrespect the lands, it is likely we will continue to lose them.

    #TrailsRoc is more than just trail running though, we are also a trail advocacy organization. When we can, we work to keep lands open and available to the public. It is important that we respect rules and boundaries if we want to save, or even grow our available outdoor spaces. We really, truly, need your help.

With that in mind – Consider joining us for some trail work days this season! We have at least 5 projects planned for this work season that can all be seen here https://trailsroc.org/trail-stewardship/


Thanks for listening, and we will see you out on the trails!



Join us for our Earth Day Event

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#TrailsRoc Trailgiving day to celebrate Earth Day

THIS SUNDAY – 4/22 From 9am-noon – Open house style

Black Creek Park!

Every time we talk with folks we hear ” Let us know when the next trail work day is” Well you are in luck, we have one scheduled to celebrate Earth Day this Sunday!

Please join us in celebrating Earth Day with a day of events at Black Creek Park:

9:00am Group run/Family hike and fairy 🧚‍♀️ house making – We have some supplies, but feel free to bring your own materials to build your own Fairy House for the occupants of our trail

10:30am Trail work – Bring gloves and clippers, we have everything else for the projects. We will have projects as simple as trail clipping and cleaning to as complex as walkways/bridge building. You can choose when you arrive.

12:30 tailgate potluck lunch – We will hang out in the open air shelter and share our stories and you can hear about all of the amazing things #TrailsRoc has planned this year!

Afternoon of trail work will be offered as needed

Please come and go as you are able. We will meet at the open air pavilion path finder shelter.


This event is replacing our spring race as we felt it was time to let the trails recover and heal after a few harsh springs and race seasons. This is our way of giving back. Please join us and help us continue to create beautiful outdoor spaces for all to enjoy!

2018 Big News and Changes!

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2018  came in with a blast of cold air and in typical fashion, many of you decided to enjoy these cold days with us out on the trails – It was a challenge and you took it on with ice beards and frozen eyelashes! Kudos to you for being inspirational to us!

During those days we kept warm over here by planning out a new year of amazing new trail opportunities for you and we are so excited to share that with you. There are a lot of changes below so please take a look!

Race Information- 

All race registration is open now –

All these races sold out last year, so don’t wait!

0 SPF –  July 14th 2018Our classic summer 1/2 marathon is back and we are excited as always. Join us on with a new start time of 7:30am. Every runner will receive a t-shirt and post race food at one of the best post race gathering locations in all of local trail running!

The Webster Trail Classic: This is where we have some really big news. We have acquired this event and are so excited to bring you the Webster Trail Classic.  A ten mile loop running through 3 parks in Webster, NY.

The biggest change to the event is that we will be moving to the fall, giving the Rochester area a premiere early fall trail event. On September 8th, 2018 join us for a #TrailsRoc rendition of the Webster Trail Classic.

Winter Trail Festival December 15th, 2018. Back for another year of hell on roots, ski hills, and creek side single track. This race is our big fundraiser for the year, so join us and help us raise funds for trail projects!

The Filthy Formal – Previously known as Mess The Dress. This race has been retired. We will replace this race (one that created considerable damage to the park trails) with a special trail day in Black Creek Park – Check out special events below for more information. We know that even with all of the trail work we do, the message of responsible trail use could not hold weight if we did not act appropriately. Instead of wrecking the trails this spring, we will repair them and we hope you and you families will join us.

Ready, Set, Glow! Has been placed on hold as we evaluate the sustainability of the event.


Special Events –


#TrailsRoc Earth Day Redemption Event – Join us on Earth Day (April 22nd) for a special trail event day. We will have a schedule of events soon to include a potluck lunch, great trail project, family hike, and an opportunity to make more Fairy Houses for the Fairy House trail that we built this past fall. Stay tuned for details. After 5 years of thrashing through Black Creek at Filthy Formal, this is our chance to give back and really care for the park in a fun family friendly event.

TROY Series – Back for another year with a few twists. We have added an ultra to the middle of the schedule (Many On The Genny) and we have moved the Webster Trail Classic to September, and changed the distance on the Mendon Trail Run to the 20k.

Take a look at the series. These are all races that consistently give back to the community in terms of trail work, volunteering, group runs and the keeping true the spirit of our sport. We hope that when you choose races for the year, you choose local, independently operated races that fulfill the spirit of trail running and keep the sport simple and to it’s roots. We wanted to highlight races that will continue to keep our community grounded as corporations move into the world of trail running.

Group Runs We continue to offer 3 unique runs each week. Our Trail Learning Crew meets on Sundays and explores our local parks. Our Trail Workouts are hosted on Tuesdays, consisting of hill repeats or speedy loops. Our morning midweek run is staying on Wednesday, and will have a rotation of locations. We love seeing all of you out at our always free, and totally fun group runs!

The App – If you have not downloaded our smartphone app yet, you should. We have added some great functions including  a “share location” and the ability to send stickers via messenger. In addition we have added hundreds of points of interest that include water stops, bathrooms, and shelters. You can plan out your long runs and bring the app for emergencies!

You can now also access the app via a web browser at https://map.trailsroc.org/ 

2018 is shaping up to be an amazing year on the trails. Our goal is to continue to share our journey with you in the woods. We are thankful for all of your support over the years and we cannot wait to see you where the pavement ends!

Mud Season

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It’s mud season and we felt the need to address an issue that has been on our mind for a few years now in regards to our spring race. The Filthy Formal, formerly Mess The Dress is sold to you as a mud fest. We run through the swamps at Black Creek Park and we get completely, head to toe, covered in mud. The trails are usually a mess – and look like this


At the same time, as an organization we preach “responsible trail use”. How is this possible given our spring race? How can we possibly address these issues?Does this make us hypocrites?

In a word yes. However, let us explain why we are OK doing what we do.

  1. The trail matters. Black Creek Park never drys out in some places – The mud pit you run through in the middle is just that, a mud pit and it stays that way year round. It is not a trail and is not designed to be a trail. It is a cut through. There is a floating bridge that connects two drier areas over swamp land. The pit leads up to the bridge on both sides.We are already planning to evaluate and restore any damage we may have caused.
  2. We built sustainable trails to use for the race to stay off of sections of the park that would become damaged due to a race.
  3. The underwater sections are wide, flat, road sized grass paths. They are not damaged during the race and never show signs we were there. Again we will evaluate and adapt as needed.
  4. We remain vigilant the rest of the year, even moving some group runs (as we did in the past few weeks) to roads.
  5. We are committed to always, immediately fixing any issues created from our race.

In Black Creek alone, led by our Trail Stewardship Coordinator Dave Storie,over 48 hours of trail work was completed leading up to this years race. Post race we will match those numbers, stamping out ruts, leveling out pitches and leaving the park in BETTER condition than we found it.

This is a process we wish every race organization in our area would embrace. As an organization that builds and fixes damaged trails, we know the impact races and large groups have. We did not host any preview runs the past 2 years realizing our footprint on race day would be more than enough.

At our heart, deep down, we know the message sent by the FF10K is not one of complete respect for the trails. We ask and we would hope you see the work we do, the park we chose, and the reasons for what we do as true.

With that said – A reminder as we navigate this tricky time of year for our trails.

  1. Never go around puddles/mud. This turns single track in to double track and has a long standing often unfixable environmental impact on the trail.
  2. Choose wisely – If the trail is a mess, head elsewhere.
  3. Get involved. We host 1 trail work day per month and many other unofficial work days. Get involved with us!
  4. Encourage others to follow the “through not around” mud policy and talk to other races and groups about putting time in on the trails that they run and race on. We all benefit when we take the lead like this.

At the end of the day, we know as an organization we are committed to the health and sustainability to our local trail systems even if Filthy Formal doesn’t pass the eye-ball test. Need proof? Come on out for one of our trail work days and let us show you.

Until then, stay dry and run on!

The #TrailsRoc crew

The State of The Trails

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2016, The State of the Trails!

“…..It is in every friendship that has made me who I am today, distancing me from the shell of a person I recall. It is in all the kindnesses and laughter and the realization that the more I give, the more you return to me tenfold…”

-Michael Valone.

#TrailsRoc was formed with the thoughts of that quote at our core. It was random, it feels organic, and now it is growing. Our home is in the woods and our thoughts are constantly on the community. How can it grow? How can it come together? How can we support you? How can we give back? Because the more we give back, we realize just like Valone did,  the more is returned to us.

I can’t tell you the energy I feel after an event of ours starts starts. Seeing you all finish with a high five and smile makes the anxiety of race day melt away. I can’t explain the pride I feel when after hours in the woods creating a new route, a group of people go run one of our new trails and report back how fantastic it was. I certainly can’t explain the friendships that I have seen grow from this little organization and the groups I have watched become families over time. It’s been amazing to say the least. It’s sort of explained a bit here in a video by Ron Heerkens Jr, owner of Goat Factory Media!

The Rochester running community is vibrant and full of life and we are so happy to be a little part of that. As Chris O’Brien from RunningInsideOutPodcast likes to say, “There is a great big pie out here. Some people are concerned with how big of a slice of pie they can get. What makes this community so great is that so many people are adding a piece it”.

Below are some of the ways that #TrailsRoc has tried to add to that pie this year.

The #TrailsRoc App – We had growth in both users and in it’s content. We currently have over 35 parks with over 250 miles on 125 trails mapped. If you see something missing, send us an email with your GPX data and we will work to include it in the next version of the app.

The app has been used by countless runners, first responders, race directors and more. It’s a powerful tool that we plan to keep improving for you.

Group runs: We host 3 group runs every week. They are always free and always fun. We will never charge for these events. We meet on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday. Keep  your eyes open for some special runs that we host as well.

Over 1,500 runners joined us at a group run in 2016. We would love to see you at one of our runs in the future.

Races: In 2016 we hosted 5 races. Each race was capped to bring what we believe is a sustainable number of runners to the trails. We would love to see 500 folks race it out at 0 SPF or 342 of you roam the woods at night in Dryer Road Park at Ready Set Glow but we believe (as do local land managers) that races of those size are detrimental to the health and condition of the local trail environment. We love the energy each and every one of you brings to our races and we are happy to continue to offer our 4 core races moving forward!

Trail work:With that said we know each race, even when capped at under 200 runners has a negative impact. We serve each race course we step on with 1 pre-race trail work day and 1 post race clean up. Too many races have been leaving course markings, food packets, ruts, footprints, and erosion in their wake. We plan considerable work after Mess The Dress to ensure the park looks better after the race than before.

All of this is in addition to the monthly trail work projects we put in place at Durand Eastman Park and Black Creek Park. In 2016, led by Dave Storie, we had almost 50 different volunteers put in a combined 200 hours of service to your local parks.

We completed 2 bridge and boardwalk projects, fixing long compromised trails and allowing the surrounding ecosystem to heal without our footprint continuing to degrade the area. We built new trails in both Black Creek and Durand. We built connector trails to fix poorly routed sections and we hauled out countless pounds of trash and debris.

We built and stained a new picnic table at the trailhead of the Seneca Trail at Valentown and we helped to  blaze trails that had long ago lost their blazes. In short we have taken our core mission about sharing these trails to another level by caring for them. We welcome any race organization in the area to do the same and we would love to offer our resources to them should they decide to start with trail work days.

Donations: In 2016 we donated over $5,000. We made major donations to the Victor Hiking Trails, the Crescent Trail Association and the Monroe County Parks system. We have donated to first responders in 4 different volunteer fire/ambulance companies. We made a major donation to the Willow Center to support women of domestic violence and we have donated man hours that add up to almost $2,000 dollars of labor that does not even include the time the #TrailsRoc board members have volunteered.

Aid stations – We have made ourselves present at almost every local race as we see folks in our shirts at aid stations all over. This is never more present than our long standing tradition of manning the buttermilk falls aid station at the Cayuga Trails 50 in Ithaca. We often ask of volunteers to give time to us and this is one of our ways for giving back

Give back – We sponsored athletes to take on dream races in 2016 and have already begun reviewing sponsorship for athletes in 2017. Last year we gave out $1,000 to local runners and can’t wait to do so again!

The #TrailsRoc Executive Board: I would be remiss if I did not point out the members of the #TrailsRoc board. This board has selflessly given of themselves to help foster a community that cares as much about the people as it does about the environment. When I see these folks gathering on a Monday evening to plan the next trail work day, or discuss the next organization we will donate to, or decide how early they will need to arrive for a race and how late they will stay when it’s done I am in awe.

This is not a job. No one on the board at this organization is paid a penny and they give so selflessly to all of you. From our website to our races to our group runs to the trails we build, these men and women treat #TrailsRoc as if it’s a career and I am thankful to be along for the ride with them.

We are entering our 5th year as an organization. None of that happens without committed volunteers on this board.

I am as excited as ever to see what year #5 brings us and to see how many of you we can help. We have goals in 2017 of maintaining all we have done and introducing new runners to bigger dreams and outlandish adventures. We want to encourage people to find some dirt even if  it’s just a mile or two at first. You will be surprised to see where it takes you.

The community we are surrounded by is a powerful place and The State of the Trails as you well know, is strong.


September/October Newsletter 2016

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Fall is finally here and this is my favorite season. The perfection of a crisp fall run in Western NY can’t be matched. We are lucky enough to live in one of the most stunning places in the world when it comes to fall foliage I suggest you take advantage of it. My go to place is Durand – Eastman park. The trails are still clear of soon to be falling leaves but the views you get are some of the best in the area.

Durand lake in Durand Eastman Park

The other reason I love the fall so much is all that #TrailsRoc offers the community this time of year. Ready Set Glow is our fall race and is always one of the most anticipated events of the year. A low-key, 5-mile trail run in the dark on the winding trails of Dryer Road Park. Trails will be marked with glow sticks and things that go bump in the night. Finish the race and celebrate with a glow necklace/bracelet, food, and a blacklight party where you can decorate your shirt with highlighters. Please register here and consider buying our race shirt! is open now get in before you can’t.

October is a chance for us to give back as well. We will begin accepting applications for the #TrailsRoc Sponsorship on October 1st – Last year we gave away $2,000.00 worth of sponsorship awards. Anyone can apply to run a race of their choosing with our support. From a 5k to a 100 miler to your next solo adventure, we would love to hear about it. Fill in an application and we will see what we can do.

The TROY series is winding down with 2 more events (sign up now) and then the TROY Party will be held at Medved on November 12th starting at 6:30pm. We will name our TROY Champions as well as name our Trail Steward of the year. Come on out for snacks, food, drinks, and more!

Until then – We will see you on the trails!

Eric and the #Trailsroc Crew


Group Runs: Always fun – Always free!

Tuesday Trail Trots – 6:00PM. An easy 4-5 miles. You should be able to run 4-5 miles consistently and we will lead you through the parks. We always have at least 2 pace groups available. Check our website for more details.

Wednesday Morning Runs- 6:00AM. We will post the schedule on our facebook page each week and the website is updated as we go.

SAS – Slow and Steady – These runs are on weekends and are for those who are just learning to run. We go, as the name says, Slow and Steady. Check the website for times and updates as these may be on weeknights

Please join us for our upcoming trail work days–you use ’em, so help us to build/clean them up (and get in some nice cross training in the process!).


#TrailsRoc: The App: Updates coming soon! Stay tuned!

Know a good trail that is not in our database? Send us your GPX data and allow others to share that trail with you. Contact TrailsRoc@Gmail.com with GPX or comments.


September/October Runner Spotlight


Tom Reding

Tom has been a very welcome face in the trail community in the last few years. He has completed some of the areas most difficult trail races in the Muddy Sneaker 20k and ultras like Can Lake 50 miler and continues to work toward some pretty amazing goals. Here Tom shares a little about himself and what the community means to him.

I was never athletic and short stints in basketball and baseball each ended after only one season. In short, I was typically overweight and inactive throughout my life. My running experience consisted of attempting to run with my sister, who ran track and cross country, and running the 1-1/2 mile run required every year in high school. I went out too fast and determined that this is not for me. By the time I was married with two kids, I was obese. Add to that bodily damage done by a lot of partying and bad habits in my young adult years. I had some minor issues with my knees and would be out of breath merely running to grab the phone at home.

After taking our Border Collie for 3 mile walks for a couple of years I began to grow tired of the routine. I have no clue where the idea of running started but part of the plan was to cut the walking time in half. Little did I realize back then I would eventually spend much more time running then I ever did walking. I began my running journey in 2006.

I looked online and saw a simple plan to use a run/walk program. This plan basically started off with a minute of running followed by a minute of walking. I progressed through the program, then spent the next year or so doing nothing more than running 3 miles 3 times a week on the Canal between Clover Street and South Clinton. In winter I did the same on a treadmill at the JCC. With healthier eating and portion control, I also managed to drop about 30 pounds.

After talking to a few people I began exploring the spur trails off of the canal in the village of Pittsford, behind MCC, and near Genesee Valley Park. This required me to increase my mileage. I soon discovered that I really enjoy going out for a couple of hours and zoning out while I run. I eventually managed a couple of road marathons.

I remember telling Ben Murphy back in 2012 that I did not think I could run trails because I am not Agile enough. At the time my idea of trails was the rocky traverses that are typical of an Adirondack High Peak hike. About a year later,  I had run one too many times on the canal. It was time to try something different. I started exploring the Crescent trail and Mendon Ponds. In 2014 I signed up for my first 0SPF and Mendon Mauler.

I also blame Ben Murphy for my entry into ultras. He signed up for the CanLake 50 miler in early 2014. The course looked beautiful, so I signed up for the 50k shortly after. By now I was running all of my long runs on trails to get some shade in the hot weather and get some hill sin my training.  I enjoyed the CanLake 50k so much I signed up for the 50 mile the next year.

My first trail ultra was the Mendon 50k in the fall of 2015.  It was there I had my first DNF due to IT band issues that could have easily been taken care of earlier in the year. Live and learn I guess. Palmers Pond, a fat ass 50k, is the only trail ultra I have completed so far. (I highly recommend it for building mental toughness.) My other four ultras were on pavement. I intend to eventually complete more on trails as I gain more experience with elevation.

There are obviously a few things I need to work on with my running. Right now I struggle with getting on trails and getting in some elevation during the week due to work and home. I also tend to not keep up with any type of intervals or hill repeats. Yet I do fine with keeping up with my long runs. It is just where I am right now.

Running seems to solve a lot of issues. I used to get frequent back aches, suffer from mild depression, and had a general lack of energy. These issues are virtually non-existent today and I generally have a better outlook on life. I like to say that running takes the edge off of day-to-day stresses of life.

I have met a lot of people and have learned a lot from everyone. I feel really lucky to live in an area that has a lot of trails and an organization like TrailsRoc.


-The Colonels Corner

Reading Tom’s story above, and listening to countless others this past year, has allowed me to reflect a little on my own story. How I went from unhealthy and reclusive, to embracing this community and reaching heights I never thought possible. Since I became a part of #Trailsroc officially last year, I feel even more connected to the people that comprise this unique and supportive group. Here’s to another year of racing, running, friendship, and more importantly, supporting each other as we achieve things beyond our imaginations. Thank you




March 2016 Newsletter

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March 2016

Hello and a Happy Birthday to #TrailsRoc. We turn 4 in just a few short days. From a simple meeting at Red Robin to 5 races, 3 weekly group runs, an app, and a dedicated trail work and volunteer crew, this organization has grown leaps and bounds in these 4 short years.

If you asked me what my favorite #TrailsRoc moment was I would have an almost impossible time deciding. From a crew of us hiking an aid station up Greek Peak mountain for the Virgil Crest Ultra aid station to the “Sea of Orange” that we have noticed at many local trail races to the board meetings that have gone hours too long because we are laughing and drinking together or to the early morning runs with headlamps and ice beards, how could I pick just one memory? The common theme across all of it though has been community.

When we started this organization we had no idea what to expect, we just wanted to talk about trail running, but the theme that has become the most important to us through all of this is you. Our community. In the past few years we have seen an explosion of trail runners in Rochester and many of you have been at group runs, competed in our races, or cleaned/built trails with us. This community would not be the same without all of your stories, your triumphs and yes, even your failures.

We have something special here in Rochester. Out of town runners always tell me this. They ask how we did it. How can they do it. Why is it so awesome here? I just respond and say we didn’t, you did. So thank you. Join us Sunday March 6th for our 4th birthday run. We will supply different pace leaders, great trails, and even some amazing cake. Sunday March 6th – 9am at Kreag Road Park. We will run some of the 0SPF course and have a chance to tell stories and hear from you what your favorite #TrailsRoc memory is!

Thanks for an amazing 4 years – Let’s bring on the future.


Eric and the #TrailsRoc crew


Clean up: 

Our first scheduled trail work of the year is at Pick Up The Parks day. Saturday April 23rd. We could really use a large crew so get it on your schedule!

We are busy taking care of Black Creek and Durand-Eastman parks – We encourage you to get out in the parks near you and clear some debris. Make it easier to run, navigate, and enjoy. Look for our trail work days to be setup soon via the website.

We have partnered with the county and “adopted” 2 parks and will be announcing major projects in both of them:

  1. Black Creek Park host of Mess The Dress, Cast A Shadow, a Dirt Cheap and a few XC races. We have already designed some beautiful new single track that we use in our races and we are sure you will use in future events in the park.
  2. Durand Eastman Park host to our Winter trail running kick off and completion picnics as well as home to some Orienteering events and a Dirt Cheap. We have assessed the sustainability of trails at Durand – Rerouted a few trails and have planned a major trail building project to add miles of new single track in one of the most scenic parks in the county.

Both of these parks are vulnerable to overuse and/or poor trail use etiquette. Please remember to stay on trail, especially during races, and consider joining us as we repair damaged trails, build new sustainable trails, and create parks you will love to be in for years to come!

Group Runs: Always fun – Always free!

Tuesday Trail Trots – 6:00PM. An easy 4-5 miles. You should be able to run 4-5 miles consistently and we will lead you through the parks. We always have at least 2 pace groups available. Check our website for more details.

Wednesday Morning Runs- 6:00AM. We will post the schedule on our facebook page each week and the website is updated as we go.

SAS – Slow and Steady – These runs are on Sundays and are for those who are just learning to run. We go, as the name says, Slow and Steady. Check the website for times and updates.


Mess The Dress: On April 9th take on our 3rd annual Mess The Dress trail run. Runners get fancy to get muddy on this 5 mile (or 1 mile fun run) All proceeds from this event will go to the Willow Domestic Violence Center here in Rochester to prevent domestic violence and ensure every survivor has access to the services and supports needed along the journey to a safe and empowered life. Help us help others and have the most fun you have ever had at a race!!

Registration AND shirt orders are open and this event does sell out http://www.trailsroc.org/messthedress

Mighty Mosquito Trail Relay and Ultra : On August The Mighty Mosquito is simple really – 30 Teams of 6 runners (or a limited few solo runners) will tackle a 3 loop course with each runner running each loop once. You will run trails the entire time -You will camp with your friends -You will listen to great music -We are planning on a showing of a trail running film festival at night -You will have as much fun as you have had at any relay before -Teams are already registering!!!!!!

Registration is open at http://www.trailsroc.org/relay/

#TrailsRoc: The App:  Updates coming soon! Stay tuned!

Know a good trail that is not in our database? Send us your GPX data and allow others to share that trail with you. Contact TrailsRoc@Gmail.com with GPX or comments.




Chris has not only run some of the premier races in the area, he also is responsible for creating and running Rochester’s premier podcast, RUNNING INSIDE OUT. Please give it a listen. You can find out about his podcast at http://www.runninginsideoutpodcast.com/ Here Chris shares what the trail community means to him

Trail running… running on trails… it’s funny, there aren’t many trails back in Buffalo. I ran from downtown to the waterfront a lot. I ran around Delaware park quite a bit. Nary a thought that I should be doing it in the woods.
When I came to Rochester I didn’t run at all. For like 10 years. Then I did run. One of them, “Flip a switch, enough sitting, get up and do something” decisions. And I began training for a marathon. 16 weeks of training through the summer, on the roads, by myself. Not sure what kept me running after that marathon, but it certainly wasn’t my love of the training cycle!
Eventually, something changed and I found myself in Black Creek park. Maybe I was running trails… maybe I was just finishing ‘nature walks’ at a little bit quicker pace. I don’t really remember. But I was enjoying the woods and realizing that we had a ton of great parks here.
My first trail race was during that marathon training cycle. It was the Dam Good Trail Run, put on by the Fabulous Fanton sisters Doreen and Michele. Of course, I didn’t know them to be fabulous when I signed up, but their website showed their race to be pretty fun and the location in Letchworth was unbeatable. And actually, I guess my first real interactions with any trail runners was at the Dam Good preview run a few weeks before the actual race. I didn’t really know what to expect as I was going at this myself. I had 14 miles on my training plan, so what the heck. When I arrived, it seemed like a lot of people at the preview run knew each other. The run was a pretty easy affair with a lot of chatter happening from front to back of the various clusters of runners. Not knowing anyone, I sort of kept to myself and made a little quip here or there, but not intruding on conversations among friends. As we progressed through the 2.5 hours, I learned that some people knew each other and others were there by themselves, just like me. After the run, people stayed and hung out with each other. People mingled, shared stories, snacks, and drinks whether they knew each other previously or had just met on that run.
Each following trail run, Medved Thursdays at first, random Facebook weekend runs and ultimately Trail Trots, was similar… first time runners mixing right in with regulars, 20somethings chatting with 50somethings, guys and girls effortlessly talking without pretense. Friendships were being made right in front of me! People always had interesting stories to share. It seemed like runs weren’t long enough and post-run hang outs ended to soon. There were lots of people to catch up with and lots of stories to hear. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I started running ultras.
But that kind of friendship and camaraderie is definitely why I started Running Inside Out Podcast. While we might have a few minutes on the trail, or time for drink and a stretch after the run, sometimes are stories are longer. Every runner has a story to tell and selfishly, I wanted to hear them all in great detail. And I thought that others might want to as well. That each runner’s story can be recorded, shared and woven into a greater story of our running community has provided more joy than I expected.
Damn, Rochester is a great place to run.




This shot by Mandy Applin showcases the FLT Letchworth Branch. It really was taken recently. Evidence that our winter has been a trail runner’s dream.


-Monthly Musings from Colonel Valone-

Hello TrailsRoc members, 

So march is here which means spring is upon us. This is the time of year that running on trails can prove to be a considerable challenge. The transitions between seasons can bring  ice, mud, snow and sun which can all combine to slow us down. Come on out for our group runs if you need some extra motivation. I myself have needed that motivation to get out, even with the mild temperatures. That’s where this great group comes in. We as a community have some of the most positive and helpful runners you will ever meet. Please don’t let the weather deter you from joining us.

There is an upside to this weather in that our course at Mess The Dress promises to be as muddy and wonderful as always. This year we have partnered with Willow Domestic Violence Center.  All of the proceeds from our race will be going to support women in need in our own community. We appreciate your support and can’t wait to see everyone at the event. If you haven’t signed up yet, hurry, it sells out every year! Please consider purchasing a race shirt as all proceeds go to our ever important trail work. www.trailsroc.org/messthedress

Other than the usual events that we put on, we also are celebrating our fourth birthday. This is an exciting time for me personally to be involved with an organization that not only is dear to me, but is also growing by leaps and bounds. Hope to see you soon and hear what you are excited about as we usher in another spring!

Thank you ,





Tips From The Top

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On Friday May 30th through Sunday June 1st some of the members of the #TrailsRoc board were given the opportunity to spend time with some of the powerhouse elites of the ultra/trail community. We participated in a weekend long adventure in Ithaca as part of the Cayuga Trails 50 –  A USATF National Championship event.

Ian Golden, the Race Director brought in a strong field of elite runners to go after his course. We camped with them, ate with, drank with them, ran with them, provided aid for, cheered for, and covered their races –

This gave us the time to ask some questions and bring real world answers on some of the big topics in the Mountain Ultra and Trail community. Read on to see what the elites had to say about some pressing topics.

Why Run Trails?

What is it about trail running that you love and why should someone consider it?

Mort Nace – “
The challenge, the scenery and the best community in running – I got involved in Race Directing because I wanted to share my favorite experiences. Rochester didn’t have anything like I had experienced so I wanted to offer that I had been to race in Michigan and Colorado, our trails are great this area deserved to race them”. Muddy Sneaker – A Goose Adventure Race was named one of the top 5 trail races you must do by Runners World Magazine. Check them out!






 jackieJACKIE PALMER – “The trails are just more interesting, I love running in the woods, I am a physical therapist, and this is so much better for your body. Biomechanically, trail running creates less injury. On top of that it is more enjoyable and everything feels like it is zipping by – No long road to stare down as you go, just trees zipping by”.

Check out her on personal page below



Why run an ultra?

The ultimate question to the elites is often how did they get here

flahertyMatt Flaherty -“Simply – it’s because I am well suited for this. Endurance was always my strong  point I ran the 10k in college at  Univeristy of Illiiois- For me the 50 mile is a nice distance – I can train for and race 5 or 6 a year and still have proper recovery. It is the distance I am best at.” As for the why?  “It really does come down to the community – The Ultra and Trail community is killer, I love it. I am surrounded by great people all the time.”

Check out Matts fun site below!





What About Recovery?

vargoChris Vargo – The Cayuga Trails 50 Champion this year.

Many of you will love this answer, but after putting in hours of training and or racing for Vargo the answer is simple.

“Eating a lot”

 On racing though he says It’s hard to do monthly back to back races. “I like down time I will take 3 days off after this and always always get in some great nutrition post race as soon as possible.” Chris suggests protein drinks and meals higher in fat for recovery. “I am actually a pescetarian I tend to lose weight easily and have found not only does this lifestyle help me with my weight but also with my recovery.”

Check out Chris’s Vargo Running below.





On Hill Work-

We are lucky in our region we can do steeps in the Rochester area – Drive an hour to Hi-Tor or a few hours to Ithaca and get in some great climbs – We all know how important this is to trail racing – but what if you live where there are not a lot of hills?

lombardiBrad Lombardi – Badwater competitor -Says he runs Bridge repeats in Florida. “I just go hour on hour back and forth. It’s tough to really simulate trails so you do the best that you can. Thefolks coming from areas with natural hills and mountains have an advantage.”He doesn’t let that bother him though and has a great outlook on the hills – Think of the mantra below next time you need to climb some monster hills.

“If its comfortable its not attactive”

I like to sign up for races that scare me – That gets me going – that helps me train harder.”

Check out Brads site below for some other great tips and information.





On Mental Prep

breeBree Lambert –

Oh how we can all benefit from some advice here – Read it, use it – Bree is a fantastic runner with a strong history of success at events like Cayuga 50.

“For me I just always break down the distance. I never ever look at it as one big chunk. I tell runners break it down into bite size pieces so its not overwhelming. My best advice during the long stretches to avoid slowing and getting negative is to get to the next aid station. Once you are there, you start over. It’s a new race, a new distance, and then you repeat.”

On handling those low points during training when your body is tired and sore and you ask yourself “why”…  “I coach runners I am a performance coach, a personal trainer, and I love to coach ultra runners, When you are having an off day, look at is an opportunity or as a way to recover. pay attention to your body. Are you over trained, are you fueling properly. Off days are a time to evaluate “whats going on” adjust if you need to, Don’t blindly follow a printed out plan.”

“Before you decide to run an ultra,  you need to realize its going to take discipline, and internal motivation to get there – It wont be easy – be patient and mentally understand that its a sport of discipline and time!”

Check out Brees’ site below for more tips and advice


 On Nutrition

iainIan Ridgeway –

“You can recover fine on most foods – I think every runner out here will say that there is nothing special to it. You just eat a lot, on hot days eat more salts – Eliminate all processed foods and you will feel better and be healthier.  My wife is a med student and is up on all current health matters but this is pretty simple advice. I don’t perscribe to one diet – Vegetarian, raw, paleo, I just eat clean and it works.”

I am on strava and have a website http://www.iansrunning.blogspot.com


On Gear

davejamesDAVE JAMES

2 silver medals in US Trail Championships 2011 and 2012 and 2 time USATF 100 Mile Champion – Believes a lot of runners are using too much gear. It is simple he says to the runners he coaches “Be prepared for the weather you will face, and if you need to, carry a hydration pack. I suggest duct tape in your pack as it fixes pretty much anything”

For shoes – especially on the trails Dave says again it’s simple – “Something with a little grip and something that you personally are comfortable with – I am not in bed with any one brand, there are lot’s of great choices out there, find one that works for you.”

Check out Daves awesome site below



On Fastest Known Times

– The newest boom in running where runners try to run a segment faster than anyone has before and log it here: http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/ FKTs –

Great explanation of the concept here here –  http://www.irunfar.com/2013/04/fastest-known-times.html

benBen Nephew is one of the most well know FKT guys out there right now and we sat down to discuss it– “The draw to to it for me is simple.  It fits in my schedule  and those trails always offer me a competitive venue. I can’t always be at a race, but I can schedule my own FKT attempt. It’s actually hard to go back to a standard race venue. I can do a FKT attempt anywhere – Especially in places that would never give out a race permit – For example the Presidential Traverse in the White mountains will never have a race, this way we can still race each other there.”

You have to post your times and talk about them in order for the FKT to count, Ben wishes more folks would start doing this.

“I wish people were more active about posting it, that is what makes it the fastest KNOWN time” –

Ben is looking to get back his FKT in the Great Range Traverse to take a run  then the hut traverse  in New Hampshire-

As for how he does it ?

“inov8 been good to me – mountain peak fitness is amazing -I have coaching duties there –



On records

 jordanJordan McDougal –

“Thats why we race – Anyone of us can go out and sit in the pack and we can try to out kick each other – The records though, that takes guts, that takes carnage off of the front pack – That takes throwing caution to the wind. It’s way more exciting and that’s why I do what I do”

Check out Jordan on Twitter – @JJMCDOUGALER


On fame/lack of it in the ultra community

In what other sport can the best in the world walk around and not many people know who they are? We got to camp and hang with these guys – To some of us a big deal, back home people don’t get it. We asked cassieCassie Scanlon what that’s like.

“I don’t think of it as being famous I guess. The reason I come to races is a reunion a lot of times. If people dont recognize us that doesn’t bother me, It can actually be kind of nice. -Most don’t get our sport, but it has  great support, even being injured i feel like people  around me care –

Cassie isn’t currently running a website – but she does want us to plug some sponsors which we would love to do – Check out her crew

Drymax – Hammer – Justinsnutbutter – Julbo – rocky mountain runners place – and of course Salomon

On doing Ultra and having a family

Jordan McDougal – As a father of a 7 month old baby Jordan  has some great advice.

“You have to schedule everything. I can tell you as a parent of a newborn, when I was tired – If I did not have everything planned out, it didn’t happen. Sometimes my long runs change. I would have to hit roads and push the stroller, which is something that was new to me.”

On his biggest advice to new parents? Trust your legs, and schedule your training. Sometimes it’s early. Sometimes it’s late. Be there for your spouse – and don’t lose focus on family –

I think we can all give that a try.


So there you have it – Of the crew we met, they were down to earth folks who remembered names and just happen to be able to run incredibly fast. We encourage you to check out their websites – twitter pages – facebook pages etc. It’s through YOU all that the sport grows, and through them we can watch some amazing performances.

Oh and almost all of these guys stuck around in cheered in finishers HOURS after they had finished – If you have never done that – Try it sometime, it’s extremely rewarding.

See you on the trails!