Conquer The World (CTW) Endurance not only held their first live race of the year in September, but the first edition of the Pawling 24-hour Trail Running Festival. The event included 24-hour, 12-hour, 6-hour and 1-hour events on a 1.68-mile loop of road and trail with approximately 160 feet of elevation gain, that circled a beautiful lake in Pawling, New York.
The original intent of the race was to put on a huge running festival, introducing runners to the niche of timed ultra events in the Hudson Valley with music, food trucks and a trail party. With the arrival of COVID, those plans slowly started to diminish and the fear of not having the event was all too present. We were thankful to have been able to hold this event with a total of 47 runners between all distances including 12 of those who went on to crush 24 hours. Of the 12 runners who scored in the 24-hour distance, we had 11 who achieved the ultramarathon mark. Of those 11, most of them did it for the first time or even established the farthest distance they have ever run. The overall winner of the 24-hour race was Mel Couture, who covered 78.96 miles and was also the first woman to finish. The first male finisher was Derrick Eidam with 70.56 miles. Neither Mel nor Derrick had run more than a marathon distance prior to this event.
“The Pawling 24 HourTrail Running Festival organized by CTW Endurance was an amazing and unique experience. After long months of doing my best to stay motivated, this real race was received like a warm sunrise after a cold dark night. It was my very first ultra (and marathon!) and I was a little nervous not only because I didn’t know how my body and head would react to it, but also because I felt like a newbie trying to fit into an elite group. But let me tell you, I have never felt so good, so welcomed, so appreciated, so supported during a race. The organization and safety of the event were flawless, the running loop was scenic and challenging, and my fellow runners were incredibly inspiring and supportive. This is an experience that will make me proud forever because, hey, you know what? I am an ultrarunner now!”
—Mel Couture (24-hour overall winner and top female)
“Since the pandemic began, all I’ve been doing is running. A lot. Like, more than double my monthly miles. I was able to run a marathon back in June for the first time, and once that was under my belt, I began to run on trails and hills for the summer months. With all the miles and racing just starting to make a comeback, I decided to test myself at the Pawling 24 Hour Trail Running Event. The event itself was well organized, and I felt very safe with all of the new rules in place in relation to COVID. During the race, everything felt like how it used to be. The thought that this could all be taken away from us if COVID starts to spread again was a surprising new motivator to push myself, which came in handy for my first ultra. The nighttime running was definitely the highlight for me. I’ve never run at night under the stars with just a headlamp and light-up vest, let alone as a replacement for sleep. It is an experience I will never forget and is already making me consider going next year too!”
—Derrick Eidam (24-hour top male)