2008 Soapstone Mountain Trail Races

Yesterday was the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race. Hosted by the Shenipsit Striders for the 24th time, it is one of the classic New England trail races and is part of the New England Grand Tree Series. The 24 kilometer long course through Shenipsit State Forest was in good condition. I skipped running this year in favor of race organization and photography. Debbie is the Race Director along with Jerry Stage. Other Striders, including Joe King, Rich Moore, Bill Friday, Kevin Simons, Ken Clark, Tom Curtis, Ginny Patsun, Vicki Quagliaroli, Barbara Schieffer, and Clint Morse; were key volunteers before, during, and after the race.  Fellow race directors know that putting on an event for 225+ runners takes a lot of work and Soapstone is no exception. Marketing, pre-registration, race day registration, course marking, timing services, aid stations, refreshments, first aid, post-race cookout, awards, t-shirts, volunteer recruiting, insurance, permits, signage, and of course, port-o-potties; are some of the things a race director and the committee need to think about. Even after 24 years, a race like Soapstone is a challenge to organize. 

Fortunately, the trail running community is appreciative of the hard work that the running clubs put into their events. Most runners can deal with the occasional hiccup. Botched results, late results, running out of certain refreshments, and course markings are some of the more common challenges. Heck, without some of the quirks, it wouldn’t be trail running. Safety is always the top priority and fortunately, 2008 was a good year for the Striders. There were no major injuries. 

The 24k start.

The weather was great and conducive to running well. Ben Nephew was first in the 24km race, followed by Matt Bedouklan, and Keith Schmitt. Rich Fargo and Brett Stoeffler rounded out the top five men. On the women’s side, Beth Krasemann continued her assault on the Grand Tree Series with another win. She was followed by Robin Pitt, Serena Wilcox, Debbie Livingston, and Donna Utakis. 

Full results.

The Soapstone Sampler 6km run/hike is run with a handicap start like the famed Dipsea Race. First across the line was Jong Lee, but he actually started six minutes before he should have, in the wrong age category. It was a simple miscommunication and he was granted third place based on his time. So, the win went to Clint Morse. He was followed closely by Stephanie Nephew. I think the Sampler runners have the most fun. There were a lot of smiles afterwards. 

Full results.

It was unfortunate that we didn’t get the results posted after the race as quickly as hoped, and we are still struggling with a few minor details, but all in all it was another success. Peter Gagarin was first to post his thoughts.

The race couldn’t be put on without the support of Reddington Rock Riding Club, the Stafford Lion’s Club, the Northern Connecticut Land Trust, and the Connecticut Amateur Radio Emergency Services.

I shot a lot of great photos at the event and am already looking forward to the 25th edition in 2009.

1 Response to “2008 Soapstone Mountain Trail Races”


  1. 1 twinmt 29 May 2008 at 11:18 am

    Except for the small matter of the red ribbons, the ones that took some of us on a little off course bushwack, 2008 was another well organized and graciously hosted Soapstone. I recall saying out loud, “If I wasn’t right behind the race director, I’d think I was lost.” Turns out race directors can go off course like the rest of us. Soapstone is one of those races that keeps the old timers coming back. With the growth of trail running and all the new runners, it’s nice to go to a race and see a lot of the old, familiar faces. Jerry Stage and Deb Livingston have done a good job growing this race and still keeping it real. Curt Pandiscio


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