With the coming of the new year, a few resolutions, or at least a few thoughts about fun running events for the new year are in order. I have been collecting information for a while on a variety of trail running events in the area, some of which are reasonable goals, and some of which…well you can be the judge as to the likelihood of even seeing the starting line.
The first category is “Challenging, but Very Doable”
First on this list has to be one of my favorite trail runs, and the event which first got me interested in trail running – the Goshen Gallop. It is nearby, not terribly long (just over 6 miles) and well run by the owner and staff at Blueberry Hill. Some of the details on the the race are in an earlier post, so please look there for the details.
There are a few more ridiculous ultramarathon trail races in this part of the state, but fortunately, some of them have toned-down versions which have plenty of fun and challenge for those of us who have other things to do with our lives besides train. One such event is the Pittsfield Peaks 50 miler, which has an associated 10 mile “fun run”. Knowing Andy, the race organizer, I am not entirely confident in his definition of what constitutes “fun”, and am not sure on the complete specs on this one, but I have heard it has about 1500+ feet of climbing and is mostly on trails. Most decent runners can count on taking 2-3 hours to complete it. Next summer’s race is on June 5th, so it will take some good early spring weather to get my miles in if I want to put this race on the calendar.
If any readers know of any more fun trail running events and races under 10 miles in this part of the state, please share them with me!
The next category is….”Maybe, if VERY motivated”
I have come across a few races, which are not beyond the abilities of avid runners, but are likely to take a few months of very focused training to pull off. One such race, which fell into this category, was the now-defunct Jay Peak Half Marathon. This race, which was last held in 2008, was the “half” version of a longer race, but still went for 17-19 miles (depending on who you believed) and 3000-4500 vertical feet of climbing, including an ascent of Jay Peak – and that was the easy version! It was great fun however, and was set up by a race organizer who clearly had a great sense of humor and adventure. In addition to the ascent, it also included several miles of running in streams, through culverts under roads, a leap down a waterfall, and many miles of deep mud. In other words, good clean fun…. I had the pleasure of competing in this event and I think I was sore for about a month afterwards. A few comments on the race itself, including one great description can be found at
Unfortunately, this race got too popular for the organizer, so he moved it to Mt Tremblant, a few hours north of Montreal. While there are shorter versions of this race scheduled for 2010, 5 hours is a long time to drive for a shorter race! There is a 35 km version however, which could be a lot of fun.
Another similar, and probably a little easier race is the Mt. Greylock Half Marathon. I have never met anyone who has done this one, which is a mere 13.5 miles, but it sounds like a slightly more sane version of the Jay Peak race, and includes an ascent and descent of the tallest summit in Massachusetts.
Finally, I recently learned of a charity race in the Adirondacks which includes 4 pretty tough ascents, but covers a reasonable 12 miles. It also requires a donation to the organizers’ charity, a camp in NY in addition to the entry fee. The web page for this race makes it look like there is a strong comraderie among the runners, so it is probably a fun one! And of course, there is also the unexpected challenge of getting across the lake, but I suspect that by next summer the ferry service from Addison, VT to Crown Point, NY will be up and running!
And the final category…”Not in This Life”
Probably the craziest trail run I have ever heard of is the Pittsfield Death Race, put on by the same organizer who also runs the previously mentioned Pittsfield Peaks races. This one is only 10 miles long, but takes about 24 HOURS to complete. Sick. The race description says “You can expect barbed wire, mud boggin, wood choppin, tunnels, deep water diving, running, crawling, crying, screaming, and sweating. Doubtful you’ll finish but be proud of yourself for trying.” Lovely.
A video of this event was posted on the NY Times webpage, and was the most frequently viewed sports video there for the year 2009. To take a look at this video: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/07/06/sports/1194841322337/surviving... If you try this one let me know, and put me in your will before the start!
Jeff Byers is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Middlebury College. He also writes the Middlebury Trailrunner blog. We'll be periodically highlighting posts from his blog, but for more recommendations for trailrunning (and ski touring) in the county, head to his Web site.
This entry was originally posted on Dec. 30, 2010.