Well, the 29th annual Soapstone Mountain Trail race is in the books! It was a fantastic day in Somers, Connecticut. The Shenipsit Striders nailed it again, with an awesome event. I’m so proud of Debbie and her team of volunteers.
It was great to see so many friends from the New England trail running community (and beyond) on our home course. Feedback from many of the runners was excellent. The Shenipsit State Forest course was in good shape. It wasn’t bone dry, and even dusty in spots. There was a smattering of mud in some of the wet areas, but the infamous streambed was mostly dry. The logging damage remains, but the course markings were the best that they have ever been.
This race has so much tradition and it is great to see it thriving under a new generation of oversight. Debbie has been the Race Director for more than a dozen years, but the past few editions have seen a dramatic increase in the number of enthusiastic club member volunteers and other volunteers.
Soapstone is grassroots trail running at its finest and our format is appreciated by so many. We had good weather for running and spectating. It was mild, a bit muggy, and the rain held off until the fifth hour of the race. By then, just about everyone was finished.
The 24km race was won by Matt Shamey in 1:38:38. He was followed by Brian Nelson, Ben Carrington, Ryan Welts, and Brett Stoeffler. The course was slightly shorter than in years’ past. We cut out a small hairpin section that may have saved runners a minute or two depending on their pace. First woman was Kristina Folcik in 1:54:40, a stellar time. She had a breakout year in 2012 and has taken it up a notch in 2013. She is crushing the local competition and making quite a name for herself on the national ultra scene. She was followed by Nicole Kornas and Meghan Pagliuco.
The 6km Soapstone Sampler, with modified Dipsea timing system, was won by 71 year-old Hal Bennett in an age/gender graded 23:12. His gun time was 34:24. He was followed by Alex Smith and Brian Smith.
I ran the 24km race and was very pleased. It was a lot of fun to run stride for stride with Mike Mazzotta between mile one and mile 13. We traded pulls for more than 90 minutes before he pulled away in the last mile. I only had one fall and it was mostly a soft landing. I’ll feel it in the morning. I ended up in a cloud of dust, but it could have been worse. I was very happy that I didn’t fade until the last bit. This bodes well for my fitness level, which I finally feel is building again after a rough start to the year. Bring on the triathlons!
179 runners finished the long course and 67 runners finished the short course. That is a decent turnout. Special thanks to Jerry Turk and Kerry Arsenault from RAT Race Timing. They did a good job dealing with the challenge of more than 100 race day registrants in their first year on the job.
We started a new tradition this year with the addition of a kids’ race. More than 20 kids finished the un-timed run. Most did the one loop 1/2 mile race, but our son and one other kid did two loops. The parents and children had a joyous time. This was a real hit.
See you all (and more) at the 30th anniversary Soapstone on Sunday 18 May 2014!