North Creek In all, 349 runners turned out on Saturday, Aug. 4 Race the Train’s 10th year. Of those, 69 managed to best the train it its 8.4-mile ride from Riparius to North Creek.
Most of the racers and their families were at the North Creek train station by 8 am. Despite the early hour, the mass of people gathered outside the station was buzzing with life. Everyone started boarding either the train or buses around 8:15, for an 8:30 departure to Riparius. It was a bit of a late start, due to mechanical issues with the train, but once it got started everything ran smoothly for the duration of the event.
Participation this year was at an all-time high. Long-time Race the Train volunteer and former town Supervisor Bill Thomas was surprised by the turn out. He attributed it to Race the Train’s one year hiatus, saying it gave the event a “heightened sense of anticipation.” The race couldn’t happen last year due to complications with the new rail road. Johnsburg Dollars for Scholars treasurer Larry Blackhurst was also quite pleased with this year’s record numbers.
“It’s just a mass of people,” Blackhurst said. “It’s really cool.”
The race proper started at 9:15 am. The runners got little bit of a head start as spectators board the train for its return trip. The seats were filled with the racers’ families – parents, siblings, children, and friends all showed up to support their loved ones. The train stopped about 2/3 of the way through the course so spectators could cheer the racers on and then again a few minutes before arriving back in North Creek at 10:20 am.
The race staff weren’t the only people who were pleased with the event. All of the racers seemed to enjoy themselves as well. Many praised the uniqueness of racing against a train, loved the scenery, and thought the race itself was extremely well organized.