(soon) New runner in Ithaca

Hi everyone, happy to write on this board!
My name is Giovanni, I am an Italian competitve runner (2h13 marathon PB) that is about to move to Ithaca following my GF that just started working at Cornell. If everything goes well, I should relocate in the next Spring/Summer.
I am writing here to know a bit about the running scene in Ithaca (and surroundings). I visited the city a few weeks ago for a couple of days but I was injured, so I did not have any chance to run around :slight_smile:
In particular, I am curious to know:

  • what about running paths? As far as I could see, the area is hilly and there are a lot of roads without much traffic. It seems there are a lot of trails around, but not sure if they are “runnable” or more suited for hiking. Ideally, I love to run on soft surfaces my easy runs but I like more or less flat roads for workouts and long runs. I use sometimes the track, but not very often.
  • what about the running community? At first glance, it seems pretty active. I would be interested in sharing some runs but it’s never easy to find suitable training partners.
  • how cold does it get in winter? I heard it can get pretty cold. When I visited at the beginning of December it was ok cool :slight_smile: I lived around Zurich, Switzerland, for the past 5 years so I am definitively used to run close to 0 degrees for all the winter (around lunchtime).

Thank you very much in advance and hope to see some runners in a couple of months :slight_smile:

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Hey, nice to hear from you, @tirunesh! I’ll answer your specific questions below, but let me encourage you to read our Newcomer’s Guide to Running in Ithaca too.

  • Place to run: We’re biased, but we tend to think we have it all. Yes, this is a hilly area—you’ll see the Ithaca Is Gorges T-shirts and bumper stickers—but there are plenty of fairly flat, little trafficked roads for long runs if that’s what you prefer. We have tons of trails that range widely in difficulty level, from flat, graveled rail beds to gnarly single-track (which we also run on). There are a variety of tracks at schools around the area.

  • Running community: We don’t have many (well, any) marathoners training at your pace. @Sam_Lagasse ran 2:23 at Boston this year and @apacheck is in that area as well. Both are likely graduating this year from their PhD programs, however, and it’s not clear if or when they’ll be leaving. @Adam_Berkowitz and @Mikhail_Kern aren’t far behind, though they focus more on the mile and cross country. @ChelseaB is an Olympic Trials qualifier on the women’s side, and she does marathon workouts with people who can keep up with her. There are quite a few competitive runners who are older or not as fast as you who would likely be good workout companions, if not at your exact pace or distance—see the notes about High Noon in the Newcomer’s Guide. (And we really hope you’ll join our cross country team for the fall!)

  • Weather: I won’t sugarcoat it—our weather can be pretty icky at times. Winters haven’t been that hard since 2015 when we had a record cold winter, but temperatures can hover in the -6ºC to -12ºC range in January and February. The best solution is to enjoy the snow on racing snowshoes and cross-country skis. (In normal years, we’d use Cornell’s indoor track too.) Summers are generally nice, seldom exceeding 30ºC, though the humidity can be high. Spring is mud season and can drag on, and fall can be unbeatably gorgeous with nice temperatures and fall foliage.

Looking forward to getting out for a run with you when you arrive in Ithaca!

Welcome @tirunesh ! If you are looking for fast folks (in addition to Sam Lagasse and Adam Pacheck) for a few key workouts throughout the year, you might try contacting Eric Boyce with USATF Niagara - our regional chapter. He has a pulse on the wider running community and may be able to put you in contact with suitable training partners. Email: eboycexc@gmail.com

The longest soft surface trail is Black Diamond Trail which starts at Cass Park in Ithaca and gradually climbs to Taughannock Falls near Trumansburg. The best place (in my opinion) to do workouts is Cass Park (2 mile loop with markers every .25 mile) and out by the airport which is fairly flat and has very little traffic. Happy to share my favorite spots to do long run tempo. You can also follow many of Ithaca runners, myself included, on Strava to get an idea where we train.

Good luck with your move!

That’s a lot of useful information! Thank you very much :slight_smile:
Ithaca seems definitively a nice place to live and to run.
I will definitively catch up with you guys as soon as I get there! And of course, I would be happy to join a few races around with a team (although I am not running anything that road races since years :smiley:)


Hi Giovanni! I am just starting another marathon cycle now, so let’s plan to connect whenever you get here – even if it’s just for distance/long run days. Safe travels to Ithaca.

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What are you preparing? At the moment, I am ramping up again my training after a stress fracture, but I don’t know yet if I will run a marathon in the spring. I will probably spend March in Ithaca but then fully relocate a bit later (ideally, early summer).

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I’m in a similar position. I’m ramping up training but am unsure of whether I’ll race this spring. I am planning to defend my dissertation sometime before August, so right now the rush to that (metaphorical) finish-line is taking precedence over everything. I’ll probably be moving on from Ithaca at the end of the summer, but I’ll definitely be here in March/early summer. Don’t hesitate to reach out whenever you’re around.

Hey @Sam_Lagasse, how is your training going?
I will likely spend 3 weeks in Ithaca from mid-March to early April. I am entering now in a new marathon preparation cycle (I should run in Hamburg on April 24th) so I’ll be in the core of it. That’s why I wanted to ask how good is this period for specific marathon training (e.g., are we more or less out of the very cold winter?). I’d also love to have some sparring partner for the crucial long runs :wink:

Hi Giovanni! Mid-March to early April is usually not too bad temperature-wise; however, the weather in Ithaca is unpredictable at best, and we have had snow in April before. I started my last training cycle in early March and found that I was able to keep things pretty consistent, despite the weather. I’m happy to meet up for some runs once you’re here!

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Hi Sam. I am in Ithaca until next Sunday. Unfortunately, I am injured again and therefore, not running at the moment :sweat: