The trail running season finally kicked off today. It was a long winter, but spring is here and the competition is underway. Normally our kickoff event is the Northern Nipmuck Trail Race, but that is next Saturday. This year, we got things going a bit earlier with the Bimbler’s Bash Trail Race in Guilford, Connecticut. This event was advertised as 10kish, but the GPS showed 7.5 miles. Not bad for the first race of the year. I actually got to finally run hard and it felt good. I was mildly concerned about the footing because Westwoods Trails in Guilford is known for its rocks and roots, but I stayed on my feet. This race had it all: short punchy uphills, screaming downhills, undulating rollers, some flats, boulder hopping, dirt roads, single-track, scree scrambles, and of course…mud.
Race Director, Jerry Turk, put on another fine event and a good sized field came out to support the race. We did his last race, the Bimbler’s Bluff 50K last October. This was shorter and over with a lot quicker. Jesse Efron won overall in a fine time of 53:41. Second was George Buchanan, and third was Charlie Iselin. Second through seventh places were only separated by 1:14. It was a tight race. I came home in 59:56, good for 6th place. I was happy to break the hour, especially since I was off course several times. There were lots of criss-crossing trails, various blazes on the trees, ribbons, and directional signs; but that just confused me. I got lucky more than once when the guy behind me knew the course.
After I finished, I ran to the car, grabbed my camera and a couple of lenses and headed back out on the course to capture some images.
Kerry Arsenault, wearing bib #1 on her home course, took top female honors in 1:05:22. She was followed by Megan Raymond and Megan Lehman. Debbie Livingston won the battle for fourth from Amy Sorenson and Mandy Bonz, who were hot on her heels. Debbie was also happy to kick off the season, but even happier to just be running in the woods. She was sporting her new Vasque US Trail Running Team kit.
The awards were Easter themed, with the exception of the one for “Best Blood.” Not sure who won that one. The weather was pretty good with bright sun and a cool breeze. The best part of the event was the bagpiper. He was stationed in the field near the finish line and you could hear him clearly during your last mile. It was great to hear the pipes blowing because you knew you were close to the finish. It seemed as if everyone who came out for the race had a good time. I guess you could say it was a bash!