Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you please tell me more about the Mendon Foundation and the Lehigh Valley Trail?

A: Of course! We have a two-sided brochure explaining what we do. We also have worked with Monroe County to publish a two-sided brochure about the Lehigh Valley Trail. And, yes, all net proceeds from the race go toward our volunteer work (fuel, equipment operations & maintenance, insurance, land maintenance, special projects, etc.).

Q: What is the race surface like?

A: Despite the “Trail” name, it’s essentially a very slightly soft (and very flat!) road surface, comprised of a fairly deep underlayment of coal cinders (slag) topped with stone dust. The stone dust occasionally mixes with some soil to create a muddy appearance that isn’t really as muddy as you might imagine because of all of the underlayment. Much of the trail has a strip of grass down the middle due to wear patterns over the years. There is grass to the left and right of the stone dust surface, but it is anticipated that you will run on the stone dust portion to get the best times. The vast majority of the trail surface looks like this:

The course really is nearly flat, which is part of its appeal. You can see a trial run as reported on Garmin Connect to see for yourself.

Q: Can I bring my child in a stroller, or a service dog?

A: You may bring a stroller, but we’ve never seen a runner or walker do this even after giving permission. Please read about the surface, above. Service dogs are allowed, but you must keep them on a leash (this is Monroe County Parks policy).

Q: How does packet pickup work?

A: Packets & T-Shirts/mugs can be picked up at Rochester Running Company (1387 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester, NY 14620) during normal business hours on the day prior to the race (For 2023, this means Saturday, 8/26 from 10:00 AM – 3 PM). This is strongly encouraged to relieve any race day lines. You can also get your packet race morning at 7:00 AM at the registration pavilion south of Route 251, but it is discouraged.

Q: What happens once I am on-site on race morning?

A: The Start/Finish line and Registration Pavilion are at the opening to the Lehigh Valley Trail near the Schnacky-Brokaw youth baseball fields in the Hamlet of Mendon (https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/199101837). There will be volunteers to guide you to available parking.

If you want an address to plug into Google, your best bet is to use “HFL-Mendon Youth Baseball” or go to https://goo.gl/maps/8ZoNAryJ95q. You can also try using the address 3865 Rush Mendon Rd, Mendon, NY 14506, but please understand that this is an approximation, and depending upon your navigation system, you might wind up somewhere different.

If you are unable to pick up your packet at Rochester Running Company on Saturday per the above, then please plan on arriving between 7:00 AM and 7:30 AM on Sunday morning. Otherwise, please plan on arriving no later than 7:30 AM to allow ample time to find parking and to get familiar with the area.

The opening festivities will start at 7:45 AM, so please be on time so you don’t miss anything. (Early Start Half Marathoners will start at 7:30 and will miss the opening festivities.)

There will be porta-potties available near the ballfields south of Route 251.

Here’s a neat video of what the whole scene looks like:

Q: Where do I park?

A: Parking is in the areas marked in gray in the map below. The best parking will be at the ballfields south of Route 251 near the start/finish line, but please come early to park here, as it will fill quickly, and we will be closing the baseball field parking by 7:30 AM.

Parking at the Mendon Meadows Marketplace location will be most plentiful, but the parking south of Assembly Drive should be plentiful as well.

Not (quite) depicted in the below: There will ALSO be parking available at the Studio Move! Parking Lot off of Route 64. You can see Studio Move! in the map; jsut not the parking. A parking attendee will be happy to guide you if you approach the Route 251 race entrance.

Q: Can you tell me more about the Half Marathon Course?

A: The course surface is primarily packed stone dust, but there is a strip of grass in the middle, and there is dirt in some areas, and even old cinders and larger rocks in places – and you’ll also cross a narrow, wood-decked railroad bridge over Honeoye Creek. If it rains, there will certainly be some muddy puddles. This is a rails-to-trails path, which means you should expect the surface to be a little uneven at times, although we try to do a good job making the trail as smooth as possible. However, since this was once a railroad bed, it’s very flat and fast!

Q: Can you tell me more about the 5K Course?

A: The course surface is primarily packed stone dust, but there is a strip of grass in the middle, and there is dirt in some areas, and even old cinders and larger rocks in places. If it rains, there will certainly be some muddy puddles. This is a rails-to-trails path, which means you should expect the surface to be a little uneven at times, although we try to do a good job making the trail as smooth as possible. However, since this was once a railroad bed, it’s very flat and fast!

Q: Please tell me more about the Half Marathon start, water stops, and road crossings.

A: Pre-race ceremonies & announcements will commence at 7:45 AM. We will have a live performance of our National Anthem, so please don’t be late!

The Half Marathon starts at 8:00 AM. Participants will depart the starting gate at the mouth of the Lehigh Valley Trail south of Route 251 in Mendon. The turnaround point is 6.55 miles down the trail, just short of the Rush United Methodist Church. Road Marshals will help you cross West Bloomfield Road, Chamberlain Road, Quaker Meeting House Road, Clover Street and Plains Road in both westward (outbound) and eastward (return) directions.

There will be water stops near mile 1.55 (5K turnaround), mile 3, mile 4.8 (approx.), and at the halfway turnaround, and of course the same stops will be there on the way back! There is an official Water Stop Map available for download.

There are restrooms located at the Rochester Junction Freight House near the Plains Road crossing as well. Weather permitting, there will be live musicians there to push you forward as well!

Q: Is there an early start option for the Half Marathon?

A: There sure is, and it is recommended for people who believe they will take more than 4.5 hours. Please make sure you request it on your registration form. You’ll start at 7:30 AM, exactly a half-hour before the official race start. For those taking advantage of the 7:30 AM Early Start for the Half Marathon, a few notes:

  • Early start runners are NOT covered by our insurance policy until the race officially begins.
  • Early start runners should be prepared to carry their own fuel and hydration for the first part of the race. Aid stations and event staff will be scheduled according to the official start times, and may not be in place for early start participants.
  • Early start runners may encounter our setup crew in motor vehicles on the course, and should be prepared for this.
  • Early start runners may have their finish times specially denoted in the race results.
  • Early start runners are NOT eligible for prizes.
  • Please be prepared at the start/finish line at 7:25 AM, and communicate with the timing team alongside the start/finish line about your early start.

Q: Is there a time cut-off for the Half Marathon?

A: There is no formal cut-off — we wait for everybody to finish — but we do appreciate it if people finish by 12:30 PM. Please read about the early start option, above, if you think you will take longer than 4.5 hours.

Q: Please tell me more about the 5K start, water stops, and road crossings.

A: Pre-race ceremonies & announcements will commence at 7:45 AM. We will have a live performance of our National Anthem, so please don’t be late!

The 5K starts at 8:20 AM. Participants will depart the starting gate at the mouth of the Lehigh Valley Trail south of Route 251 in Mendon. The turnaround point is 1.55 miles down the trail, just short of Chamberlain Road. Road Marshals will help you cross West Bloomfield Road in both westward (outbound) and eastward (return) directions.

There will be a water stop at the halfway turnaround.

Q: Are either of the races part of a series?

A: Yes! We are proud to announce, as of 2020, that our 5K has been named part of Greater Rochester Track Club’s Rochester Runner of the Year (RROY) Series!

Q: Do you have a flyers or poster to print and hand out?

A: Yes, indeed!

Q: How do you prevent cheating in these out-and-back races?

A: As these are out-and-back races, it is all too easy to cheat. Since the Half Marathon course is now USATF certified, it’s important that we do everything we can to prevent cheating. In order for your time to be official, you MUST hit the turnaround point. We will have an electronic timing mat for the Half Marathon turnaround this year, and while will NOT require you to use the tear-off portion of your bib, you must hit the electronic timing mat at hte half marathon turnaround point in order for your time to be official. For the 5K, we will be monitoring the leaders to ensure they hit the turnaround point. If you think you will be eligible for a prize for the 5K, you must have turned in the bottom portion of your tear-off bib to the crew at the turnaround point.

Q: What do you offer at the end of the races?

A: Quite a bit. There will be liquid and solid refreshments at the registration Pavilion near the finish line, and a few other perks:

  • Palmer Food Services will be providing pre- and post-race bottled water, bananas, and granola bars.
  • Donuts Delite will be providing Delite-ful post-race simple carbohydrates.
  • Patriot Pickle will be providing a unique form of electrolyte hydration – PickleAde! This will be available both prior to the race and afterward, in pocket-sized bottles. It’s a dill-based juice that is actually easier to down than you might imagine. Please check it out!
  • Upstate Farms will be providing chocolate milk!
  • Lattimore Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation Network will be hosting a Lattimore Physical Therapy Recovery Zone at our finish, providing water, stretching, and other treatments!

Q: What are the awards, and when will they be presented?

  • Overall 1st place (non-virtual) half marathon male and female will win $300; Overall 2nd place (non-virtual) half marathon male and female will win $100.
  • Overall 1st place (non-virtual) 5K male and female will win a $50 gift certificate from a sponsoring restaurant (TBD); Overall (non-virtual) 2nd place 5K male and female will win a $25 gift certificate from a sponsoring restaurant (TBD).
  • Memorial water bottles will be handed out to (non-virtual) age group winners as well (top 3 in each group).
  • 5K Race Awards (overall 1st and 2nd place female, overall 1st and second place male, and age group awards) will be presented no later than 9:20 – 9:35 AM on race day near the Registration Pavilion.
  • Half Marathon Race Awards (overall 1st and 2nd place female, overall 1st and 2nd place male, and age group awards) will be presented no later than 10:30 AM on race day near the Registration Pavilion.

Q: What are the half marathon course records for male & female?

A: The male course record was set in 2021 by Mason Coppi, with a gun time of 1:10:04. The female course record was set in 2017 by Dawn Sudol, with a gun time of 1:30:32.

Q: Do you provide discounts to elite runners?

A: As the purpose of this race is to raise money for our nonprofit volunteer organization, we do not provide discounts to elite runners.

Q: I know that the runners have mile markers along the course so they can keep track of their progress, but I’m a family member at a road crossing. Where am I along the course?

A: We get asked this by spectators all the time! Here’s how far along the runners are at each intersection (in miles):

  • West Bloomfield Rd: 0.77 westbound; 12.35 eastbound
  • Chamberlain Rd: 1.77 westbound; 11.35 eastbound
  • Quaker Meeting House Rd: 3.47 westbound; 9.65 eastbound
  • Clover St (Rt. 65): 3.97 westbound; 9.15 eastbound
  • Plains Rd: 4.77 westbound; 8.35 eastbound

Q: Is there a Facbook event that I can add to my calendar or share with my Facebook friends?

A: There sure is. It’s https://www.facebook.com/events/233867370831847/.

Q: What in the world is a “virtual” race?

A: A virtual race is something new in the last few years. It enables people who want to run in support of a cause, but who for one reason or another can’t attend the physical event, to participate remotely and/or at a different time. Some virtual races ask that you try to run the same course as the “official” race, but most do not. We are in that camp.

A virtual race result is not “official” under USATF standards, because there is no way to verify anything. You use whatever tools you have available to measure your time and distance, and you report your results using the honor system. You can use a treadmill, you can run backwards, you can do what you want. You will enter your time into a form on RunSignUp when you are done, and you can upload photos of things to share what you did if you’d like. That part is totally optional. Some people like to upload a photo of their watch at the end of their run, because they feel it gives credibility to their effort. It’s all up to you.

All we ask is that you run safely, have a good time, and that you feel good because you supported a good cause (The Mendon Foundation, in this case!).

Q: Do you grant deferrals?

A: We generally do not permit deferrals for our races. We are a small team of volunteers, and managing deferrals is difficult. Deferrals put a lot of wrinkles in regard to the amount of wasted medals and food that we purchase, and make additional administrative work for next year’s races. We prefer that registrants use RunSignUp’s ability to transfer registrations to other runners, which most people are able to make work. On the rare occasions when we do grant deferrals, it is only after people run out of options, and we will give preference to runners who have been with us before.

Q: Do you grant refunds?

A: No we do not. Please see the question about deferrals, above, for information regarding ways to back out of our races.