“Rock The Ridge epitomizes what a great athletic event should be…a fantastic setting and a tough but achievable course, infused with wonderful people all working and participating in the name of community and a great cause.” — Jon Stern, Rock The Ridge Race Director (2018 - Present)
Jon Stern, Race Director
Jon has been competing in running, triathlon, and Nordic ski races for over 30 years and understands racing from both the organizer and participant perspectives. He comes to Rock The Ridge as the current race director of the Survival of the Shawangunk (S.O.S.) Triathlon. Infamous among triathletes for its 8-stage bike, run, swim, run, swim, run, swim, run format, the S.O.S. covers many of the same trails as Rock The Ridge. Jon’s love for the Shawangunks runs deep, having moved to New Paltz from Long Island in 1984 in large part because of its proximity to the ridge.
An Earth Science teacher at New Paltz High School for twenty years, the Gunks were an ever-present backdrop and site of many field trips for Jon’s students. As the coach of the high school’s Nordic ski team, he credits the local trails as a factor in the team’s perennial success. Recently retired from teaching, Jon continues to coach soccer and train when not spending time with Tomi, his wife and training partner of 28 years, his three kids, and two dogs.
Mark Eisenhandler, Assistant Race Director
Mark grew up running and biking in the hills of Rensselaer County where he nurtured a strong love for the outdoors, wildlife and nature. After a few years of competitive cycling and running, Mark was recruited by the rowing team at the University at Albany. Mark rowed for the remainder of his years at Albany before moving to NYC and rowing on the elite development team of the New York Athletic Club. In 2002, Mark moved to Wisconsin and returned the sport of Triathlon. After a couple of years, he became a competitive age group athlete and member of the local endurance community.
He has worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University at Albany, Endurance House, and the Mohonk Mountain House. He currently lives in New Paltz, NY with his wife, two kids and a labradoodle. Mark spends his free time running, biking and swimming in the beautiful Shawangunk Mountains.
Banner Photo by John Aylward