The Rhinebeck Hudson Valley Half Marathon As I volunteer at Ottawa Race Weekend, I was looking around for an event two weeks earlier and stumbled on this gem in the Hudson Valley. The Hamlet of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County New York, was initially settled in 1688 by Dutch settlers and retains tremendous historical character. I was familiar with the area from passing through on the way back from the New York City Marathon a few years back.
The inaugural event last year had 23 marathoners and 72 half marathoners, however, news has spread and there were triple that number this year. The start finish of the loop course is at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds and the course after it leaves the town at 1 mile, is completely rural. Shaded quiet roads and an initially flat road give way to undulating hills at 3 miles. The hills are never brutal grades, the steepest and longest downhills and uphills are around half way as the course almost drops down to Hudson River at Rhinecliff. Stone walls, farms, country estates, greening woods several weeks ahead of us in Ottawa gave plenty to occupy the mind. The six water stations were well spaced and supported with a couple volunteers at each which was plenty and the painted mile markers on the road were helpful with the pace math.
Having driven down Friday, I was careful to start comfortably and was pleasantly surprised to run an even split despite the hillier terrain later on. The sun came out before the start and warmed up quickly and I was thankful for a hat and sunscreen, temperatures were close to 20 at the finish but with plentiful shade on the course it was a perfect day. Managed 3rd in my age category but didn t stay long at the finish.
My wife was back at our bed and breakfast in nearby Hyde Park and had occupied her morning with her camera across the road in the expansive grounds of the Vanderbilt Estate. We headed off touring and managed to get a guided tour of Val Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt s rustic retreat as well as the larger Roosevelt family home overlooking the Hudson. A highlight was the beautiful Dutch Colonial stone presidential library and museum he d laid the cornerstone for in 1939 (not envisioning running for two more terms). With more time and advance reservations a pasta meal at one of the restaurants at the Culinary Institute of America, also in Hyde Park, can definitely be worked in.
Overall a fair course, well supported, an inspiring route and while a low key race on an increasingly crowded calendar, worth checking out as a destination race. Details and registration can be found here