Running the Long Path

A 350-mile Journey of Discovery in New York's Hudson Valley

By Kenneth A. Posner

Subjects: New York/regional, Memoir, Sports And Society, Environmental Studies
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438462905, 198 pages, December 2016

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Table of contents


1. A Narrow, Winding Footpath to an Alternate Reality

2. Stumbling Toward the Start

3. Sunshine, Gentle Breezes, and Graveyards

4. The First Storm

5. Half Moon and Cold Wind, Two Thousand Feet Above the Valley Floor

6. Silence and Darkness

7. Views from the Mountains, Voices from the Past

8. Escape from the Catskills

9. Northward into Uncharted Realms

10. Limping into Middleburgh

11. Confronting Zeno’s Paradox

12. The Long Brown Path Never Ends

Notes and References

An ultrarunner’s fast-paced narrative into the wilds of New York’s Hudson Valley, as he attempts to set a new record for completing the Long Path, a 350-mile hiking trail that links New York City and Albany.


Finalist for the 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award in the Sports category

Have you ever considered running 350 miles in nine days? Kenneth A. Posner did just that when he completed a record-setting run along New York's Long Path, a 350-mile hiking trail that stretches from New York City to Albany. Running the Long Path's page-turning narrative combines the thrill and challenges of Posner's extreme endurance feat with the stunning natural beauty and deep historical significance of New York's Hudson Valley.

A one-time casual runner, Posner shares his excitement of developing into a trail-runner and eventually an ultrarunner, as well as the pursuit of a "fastest known time"—a new dimension of extreme trail running, where some of the sport's fastest and most experienced athletes vie to set new speed records for important trails. Hikers, walkers, and runners will appreciate his detailed descriptions of planning, pacing, gear selection, nutrition, hydration, and navigation, which will help them prepare for their own adventures on the trails.

Interspersed with the running adventure, Posner relates the interesting stories of the Long Path and the places it passes through, which include some of New York's most important parks and preserves and the distinctive mountains and forests they protect. Throughout the book, he channels the voices of famous New Yorkers associated with the Long Path—Walt Whitman, John Burroughs, Theodore Roosevelt, and Raymond Torrey—who express their appreciation of the natural beauty of the region.

Running the Long Path is the story of what ordinary people can accomplish with a little determination and a lot of grit. Whether you walk or run, you will find inspiration in Posner's tale.

An experienced ultrarunner, Kenneth A. Posner is the author of Stalking the Black Swan: Research and Decision Making in a World of Extreme Volatility. He lives in New York City and works as chief of strategic planning and investor relations at Capital Bank Financial Corp.


"This is a beautiful book, dazzling in its prose … definitely do read it." — UltraRunning

"…this book is not about endurance records or racing. And, unlike some tell-all stories of athletic adventure, it is far from a tedious, play-by-play account of his athletic prowess … What mostly sings in this book are the beautiful descriptions of the trails, the woods and the topography of the Long Path … Posner's eloquence in dealing with the frustration of his monumental task leaves you feeling as though you are out there, alone in the darkness, searching for the elusive next blue disc … a great book … a must read." — Poughkeepsie Journal

"...Inspired by Walt Whitman's 'Song of the Open Road,' Kenneth Posner took the open road afoot and light-hearted. He scrambles up and around paths that take him through difficult terrain—the Shawangunks, Catskills, Schoharie Reservoir, and Endless Mountains, facing hunger, the elements, swollen feet, and the overall will to finish. Posner pairs his internal experience with the outside beauty of the Hudson Valley's trails and history, channeling voices that protected them: Walt Whitman, John Burroughs, Teddy Roosevelt, and Raymond Torrey." — Chronogram

"Ken Posner not only takes us along as he achieves a great yet agonizingly difficult athletic accomplishment, but at the same time he displays brilliantly the beauty and history of the Hudson Valley, as well as the value of the strenuous life." — Philip McCarthy, American 48-hour running record-setter (257 miles)

"On his solitary run, Ken takes us into the woods to meet the remarkable characters who shaped the history of the landscape. While setting a Long Path record, he nonetheless pauses to appreciate and settle us into its subtle natural wonders and profound majesty. Ken gives us a magical private tour to reveal the soul of the Catskills." — Joan Burroughs, President, John Burroughs Association

"Here it is!—The Intelligent Man's Guide to Insanity. Why would Ken Posner, an otherwise successful financial analyst, run 350 miles from New York City to Albany over some of the roughest trails in the Hudson Valley, sleep in the wild with bears, snakes, and poison ivy, just to do it and maybe do it faster than anyone else has? Read why in this journey of natural wonders, personal discovery, and the compelling curiosity of the running temperament. P.S. He lives to tell the tale!" — Kathrine Switzer, author of Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports and winner of the New York City Marathon

"It's hard to imagine an outdoor adventure that starts at the George Washington Bridge. But Ken's 350-mile thru-run was exactly that, without the assistance of course markings, aid stations, a dedicated support crew, or even sometimes a navigable trail. This is an entertaining and informative read." — Andrew Skurka, author of The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail

"Decades of conservation work have produced a remarkable long distance trail that links together some of New York's wildest and most beautiful places. Whether you are an 'ultrathoner' or an armchair hiker (I have been both), you will find this book a captivating and lyrical journey." — Robert Anderberg, Vice President and General Counsel, Open Space Institute

"When you pursue your dreams, you may discover you have deep wells of strength that you never knew. And you may find yourself inspiring others to chase their dreams, too." — Lisa Smith-Batchen, coach and motivational speaker

"Ken Posner inspires the already inspired. We are both advocates of the fastest known time (FKT). Ken Posner's FKT over the entire 350-mile Long Path highlights the importance of this historic and significant trail. His record accomplishment, despite extreme challenges, highlights the fact that Ken Posner is truly one of the most versatile, talented, and toughest distance runners of our generation!" — Frank Giannino, two-time Transcontinental Runner and Guinness World Records holder

"Some of us seek out unique challenges. We're looking not only to test our limits, but to forge connections with the earth and honor those who came before us. Ken follows in these footsteps, sharing his fast-paced and meaningful story in Running the Long Path." — Marshall Ulrich, author of Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America