A brief history from Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct "The Aqueduct was built in response to the fires and epidemics that repeatedly devastated New York City, owing in part to its inadequate water supply and contaminated wells. Work began in 1837, carried out largely by Irish immigrant labor. For most of its length, the Aqueduct is a horseshoe-shaped brick tunnel 8.5 feet high by 7.5 feet wide, set on a stone foundation and protected with an earthen cover and stone facing at embankment walls. Designed on principles dating from Roman times, the gravity-fed tube, dropping gently 13 inches per mile, challenged its builders to maintain this steady gradient through a varied terrain. Croton water first entered the Aqueduct at 5 am on June 22, 1842 (followed by a dauntless crew in a small boat, the Croton Maid) and emerged at the Harlem River 22 hours later (It took us about 10 hours). The water eventually filled two above-ground reservoirs – on the present sites of the Great Lawn in Central Park and the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.
We, a group of 14 met at the Croton-Harmon train station a little before 8 am Saturday morning, temperature in the mid 20s. It was the first time other than a race I ever got together with so many people from so many places just to go for a run (I was meeting the majority for the first time). I loved it. After a few introductions we got on our way heading north to the Croton Reservoir Dam where the OCA begins. By the way this starting point added another 4 miles to the already amended 40:) A quick note, our friend Steve decided to head directly south where we would catch up later. Below is our group photo at the base of the dam (minus Tony who took the picture).
Once we began heading south on the OCA it was "snow going". The entire trail with few exceptions was snow covered. While primarily packed single track it was uneven, icy, slushy etc, but rarely deep. Easily passable but substantially more challenging. Similar to running on wet sand at the beach.
At last we ran the final few miles through Central Park and then down a crowded Fifth Avenue past Rockefeller Center and finally at the Library. The crew below at the Library around 6pm, after 10 hours and 44 miles (photo by me).
Great day, great people, great experience! Peace