On the Run: Rayhill Memorial Trail (and some tough-run tips)

Anddd we’re back! Welcome to post #3 for the On the Run!. Today, we’re venturing a bit outside of Utica to explore. In fact, on this run, you cross through four towns all without going very far! What can I say? I am a world traveler.

I will forewarn that this entire loop is between 10 and 11 miles, which I realize is enough for some people to demand I be incarcerated for cruel and unusual punishment. That being said, there is a parking lot smack in the middle of the trail, so driving there is an option. A totally worth-it option.


The trail actually starts just over two miles from campus next to New Hartford’s Consumer Square, so you could totally park at the strip mall and head out from there. I won’t tell.


From here, you follow the trail as it takes you along 840 westbound and onto Middle Settlement Road.

IMAG1755Fun fact #1: all great photography also captures the fingers of the photographer.

Hang a right at the light and you’ll find the entrance to the rest of the trail.


Those of you from the area probably think I’m a little weird/sheltered, but we really don’t have any nice trails near me in New Jersey. It has really made me appreciate that places like this exist!

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IMAG1764Look. At. The. Ice. WHY???? (Winter and I don’t get along.)

IMAG1769BEAVERS! (I think. I need at least six more trips to the Syracuse Zoo before I can even attempt to figure any of that out.)


Cross Clark Mills Road and you’ll find…..


Eventually, the black-top trail ends and you’ll hang a right at the traffic light and continue up the sidewalk.

IMAG1774I love the tree in this picture. Fun fact #2: in May when the tree is in full bloom, you have to tuck and roll to go through. Or, like, go around. But what fun is that?


Can we talk about the two little Egyptian tributes in this park?? Every time I run by, I always wonder how that conversation must have gone…

We’ve gotta decorate the park. Maybe a jungle gym or a sand box–
Sphinx statues!

Running gives me lots of time to think about things no one should ever think about.


You’ll be on this path for a while. Enjoy the quiet.

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Once you pass an elementary school, you’ll turn right onto Henderson Street. There’s no sidewalk here, so run against traffic. The side of the road/grass has plenty of space!


And from here, it’s basically a big loop. Cross Commercial Drive (use the crosswalk buttons!! Do not play frogger.) and go up Burrstone Road back to campus. Seeing one of these at the very end of an 11-mile run is always wonderful.


Hills of doom, ladies and gents. Hills of doom.

While I know the run is a bit long for some, there are some serious perks with this route. Aside from the pretty scenery and the fact there’s almost always someone walking their dog (PUPPIES), the trail is consistently plowed and salted. Even in February after blizzards and freezing rain have turned every other sidewalk in a 45-mile radius to a pit of misery, this trail will be waiting.

A lot of people (i.e. my mother) ask me how I get through any run, especially the long ones. My secret weapon is this:


I listen to a loop of Jillian Michaels screaming obscenities at me. Works wonders.

KIDDING! Jillian Michaels has a great fitness/nutrition/life advice podcast that you can download for free from iTunes! It’s full of great information, conversational and usually has me cackling in the middle of my run. All alone. In the middle of the woods. This is also a great tactic for ensuring strangers think you’re mentally unstable and do not want to talk to you. It’s a win-win!

If I’ve already listened to Jillian’s weekly podcast, I jump to NPR’s Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me!, which is a hilarious news quiz show. The show helps me get up-to-date on current news in a really unique and entertaining format. Wait, Wait! is also available for free on iTunes.

Best way to end a run? Pain and torment, obviously.


Hurts so good.

Some questions for you:
Do you like paved trails/sidewalks? Or are you more of a traditional, gravel-and-mud trail person?

What’s your favorite thing to listen to during a run?
Podcasts, e-books, songs/albums.. whatever! I’m always looking for ideas 🙂

Have you ever used that doo-hickey (technical term. Also known as a foam roller) in the last picture? Do you weep every time or is that just me?
Just me? Ok, cool.