The Mother’s Day Dash in Rockville, Connecticut has become a grand tradition for our family. We always ride our bicycles on the Rail Trail to get to Henry Park for the start of the race. Henry Park, home of the Memorial Tower and its awesome view, is a fabulous place for adults and kids. I grew up playing in there, so it is fun to return for the race. Today, we almost didn’t make it in time! The gun went off for the start and I was still holding our 2 year old in my arms while looking for someone to watch him. I couldn’t find my brother-in-law in the crowd, so we resorted to Plan B and handed him off to our friend, Tom Curtis. No worries. I was only 20 seconds back when I jumped into the pack, but it was a hectic start.
It was windy today and that made for a slower pace. A trio speedsters took off and I was left to duke it out with Brett Stoeffler. We had no one else near us for support (drafting). With no warm up (other than the bike ride to the park), my legs weren’t too happy. I hung with Brett as long as a I could before I had to back off. I finished in 17:47, which is OK. I’m still feeling the pain in my legs from 7 Sisters last week, so it was a good speed workout. Even better, I got a gift certificate to Vernon landmark, Rein’s Deli, for scoring 2nd in my age group.
Debbie had a good race too and won another pair of running shoes. She was kind enough to choose my sister’s size considering that Deb runs mostly in Vasque shoes now, and there are at least four pairs in unopened boxes in our gear room. She doesn’t need another pair of shoes.
Ellington native, David Metzger, emerged from the pack of three to take the win in just under 16 minutes, which is cooking given the the swirling wind that we had to deal with. He bested Tolland’s Ryan King, and his former coach, Aaron Flamino. Trevor Lafontaine of Tolland was 4th. Stoeffler was 5th and I was 6th. The women’s race was won by Karina Johnson, formerly of Tolland. 2nd place went to Aaron’s spouse, Linda Yamamoto, and 3rd went to Bonnie Armstrong of South Windsor.
The Mother’s Day Dash is more than 30 years old. In the early days, it was known as the Rabbit Run. The first winner was Ray Crothers, a Connecticut running legend. Ray passed away in 2008 after a brief fight with cancer. He was the first winner of the Rabbit Run, a past winner of the Manchester Road Race, and the co-proprietor of The Run In, in Rocky Hill. We ride by Ray’s bench on the Rail Trail all of the time, but today, we made sure to stop and think about him for a moment. He did a ton for the running community during his long career. He hailed from Tolland and spent hours running, then biking on the Rail Trail. It was fitting that they placed the bench in his honor at one of his favorite spots (mine too) by a small waterfall.
The plaque on the bench reads, “In Memory of Ray Crothers-Runner, Biker, and Good Friend to All.”