Johnny Duke 4-Miler at Cedar Hill

Today was the 2nd race in the 2011 Hartford Track Club Winter Series. We took a break from shoveling and chipping to get outside and play a bit. The treadmill and rollers have also been wearing on us. The Johnny Duke 4-Miler was run in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut. Every year, the HTC holds this race in the cemetery and honors one of the notable people interred there. According to the HTC site, “Duke was the Hartford Bellevue Square Boys Club boxing coach. His reputation for helping inner city youngsters is legendary and spanned over 50 years.” Past honorees have been Gideon Wells and J.P. Morgan. The cemetery is quite beautiful, even with a thick blanket of snow covering it. The website boasts that 30,000 people have chosen Cedar Hill as their final resting place since 1864.

The course was in rough shape after this week’s multiple snow and ice storms. We did the course once before the race as a warm up and we spent some time trying to figure out the lines. There was so much ice in some spots, that it was downright treacherous. Where there was melting, icy puddles up to two inches deep remained. We loved every minute of it! I had chosen a pair of road running shoes, but Debbie at least had trail runners with some tread. It was wild. The cemetery staff had done there best to clear the snow, but the ice remained. Yesterday’s melting had made it even worse. The steepest hill on the course, which you have to do twice, was so slick that I had trouble getting up it. During our warmup laps, I actually went backwards. That has never happened before. Today, the Chariot was a bear to push through the icy slush, but we still had a blast.

Our son actually complemented me during the race when I made it up the hill without falling or sliding backwards. I was doing a 60 minute mile for that section, but that’s OK. I made up some time on the descents where I just skidded away! Our daughter slept the entire race, which was a huge advantage. I only had to stop twice because our little guy sneezed. He proclaimed, “I’ve got boogers,” which is a message to his parents to get a hanky. He had his hands pulled way up into his jacket, so I had to do the clean up job for him, and sacrificed my own gloves because I was in a huge rush. A couple of guys caught me when I stopped, but I got by them again. It was a fun workout because you couldn’t go too hard. I was four or five minutes slower than my past times, but it was fantastic to be running outside with minimal vehicular traffic. Debbie had a good workout and finished third overall, though this is just a training race for crazy people.

It will be interesting to see who is honored in 2012!

Race Results

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