Today, we returned to the NipMuck Trail Marathon for the first time since the 2011 race. Debbie and I have run NipMuck many times in the past, but this year, we were just helpers. Our club, the Shenipsit Striders did a fantastic job with this 30th edition of the race. NipMuck is a great example of how strong the Striders have gotten. Putting on a race is a lot of work. The pre-race preparation, race day activities, and post-race cleanup require teamwork and good cheer.
NipMuck Dave Raczkowski led the venerable race for the first 27 years before turning the event over to the Striders. Clint Morse and now David Merkt succeeded NipMuck Dave as Race Director. A little rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the 140+/- starters on the 26.4 mile course. Even NipMuck Dave ran the race.
Today, we hauled our kids up to Perry Hill Rd. in Ashford for the 8:00 A.M. start. It was raining lightly at the start, but an hour into the race, the skies really opened up and then it was a deluge. So, my comments about a little rain should be reassessed. It was a lot of rain, but I still saw a lot of smiles on the trails today.
It seemed as if all of the leaves in Connecticut changed color overnight and fell to the ground. They were slick. The ground turned to mud by the end of the race and there were some falls, but everyone survived. Chris Hayhurst and Kristina Folcik repeated their 2012 victories. Hayhurst gapped everyone during the first 12 mile out and back section on the southern section of trail before extending his lead on the northern section. Folcik absolutely crushed her 2012 time and essentially broke the course record. With course changes over the years, it is hard to have a CR. Trail conditions change all of the time, but she blitzed the race in 3:53 and should be really proud of her time.
We saw a lot of great friends. When I walked down the trail to take some photos, I smelled the leaves, and decided that I wished I was out running. Today I was in no shape to run NipMuck, but I’ll be back.