2010 Soapstone Mountain Trail Races

The course markers were taken down, the race signs were picked up, the van was packed and then unpacked, the boxes were put away, dinner was eaten, the kids were bathed and put to bed; and the 26th annual Soapstone Mountain Trail Race is done. Debbie has been the Race Director for eight years, but this year felt like the most work so far. Of course, it was also one of the most spectacular races with so much to be happy about.

Jerry Stage was the Race Director for the first 18 years, and co-directed with Debbie for the last seven, but has “retired” after last year’s 25th anniversary. He was still a big part of the preparation, but didn’t fill his usual spot on race day. Jerry and all of the long time Shenipsit Striders, including Tom Curtis and Wili Friedrich have been a huge part of this race. We had awesome weather and a fabulous turnout. Nearly 50 volunteers made it happen, and more than 270 runners got to play in the woods. Some did the 24 kilometer long course, and some did the 6 kilometer “Soapstone Sampler.”

We will post results as soon as they are available. The Shenipsit Striders were out in force today, but they couldn’t have done it without the support of many other friends, including: the Reddington Rock Riding Club, the Northern Connecticut Land Trust, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, the Stafford Lions Club, the CT Region 3 Amateur Radio Emergency Services, and Horst Engineering.

First place overall went to Jim Johnson (1:39:03). He and Ben Nephew (1:39:29), who got second, stuck together for most of the 24 kilometer course, but JJ was able to surge ahead on the dirt road in the last mile and notch a fine victory. Jim is flying, with less than a month removed from his 2:30:00 time at the Boston Marathon. Ben wasn’t too upset because he knows Jim’s finishing speed having seen it first hand more than once. Jim and Ben were the class of the field and way out front. Ross Krause (1:48:19) was third.

The first woman was Serena Wilcox (2:05:12). She navigated the unusually dry Soapstone course with great skill and stayed ahead of second place female, Taryn Hand (2:11:17). Third place was Kerry Arsenault (2:18:20). 160 runners out of 177 starters,  finished the long course. No one was seriously hurt, but there were several sprains, scrapes, and bruises. There were 94 Sampler finishers. Special recognition goes to Kaz Rybak who (according to his own records) finished his 20th consecutive Soapstone. He brought up the rear of the 24K in 4:45:22, but had a huge smile on his face when he completed the rugged course.

The Sampler victory went to 68-year-old Hal Bennett, and he had to work for it. He says that he went off course, which resulted in him having to sprint all out to stay in front of 54-year-old Geoff Matter. Third place went to Ashley Kranse. The Sampler is known for its handicap start, which levels the playing field between all runners by giving a head start to everyone except young men. The older you are, the bigger head start you get. Women and children are also given bonus time. In a perfect world, everyone would finish at once.

The race preparation and execution felt chaotic at times, but initial feedback was that the Shenipsit Striders put on another great event. The food was fabulous, with the tag-team of Barbara Schieffer and Joe King manning the cook shed. They prepared veggie burgers, vegetarian chili (from Rein’s Deli), chips & salsa, and other treats. All of the runners and volunteers were well fed.

Next up in the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series is Northfield Mountain on May 22nd. Then, on June 6th, the grandaddy of all trail races, the Nipmuck Trail Marathon, will happen for the 27th time.

24 Kilometer Long Course Results

6 Kilometer Sampler Results

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