Extreme Sports and Races in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY

Local adventure-sports events leave participants dirty, tired — and exhilarated


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escarpment trail runMountain goats: Runners prepare to take on the Catskills in the Escarpment Trail Run

Photograph by Doug Freese

Escarpment Trail Run

Length: 18.5 miles
Known for: Great views, skinned knees

The granddaddy of extreme sports, the Escarpment Trail Run is now in its 36th year. Entrants traverse this famed Catskills trail, a rock- and root-strewn single track that ascends — and descends — five of the mountain range’s highest peaks, with an elevation change totaling a whopping 10,000 feet. Not an obstacle race per se, runners nonetheless must contend with downed trees, slippery rocks, various types of wildlife, and sections that require hand-over-fist climbing up (or down); few make it to the finish line (which can take from three to six hours or more) without experiencing at least one painful fall. Previous marathon or similar long-distance running experience is mandatory, and — although the race offers no awards — “it sells out every year,” says organizer and Palenville resident Dick Vincent. “We get a nice mix of trail runners, road racers, and ultra racers from all over. One year, I had a guy from Hong Kong who came to run it.” Many of those who take on this challenge are over 40, says Vincent; amazingly, 65 percent of them return to do it again. “I think part of the reason for that is that everyone is treated the same way,” says Vincent. “First place is the same as last place. The mountains are the challenge.” July 29; www.escarpmenttrail.com

» Go to Hudson Valley Sports, Recreation & Fitness Guide
» Next extreme challenge: Warrior Dash


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