2011 Mt. Toby Trail Run

Hurricane Irene pushed back the Mt. Toby Trail Run from its usual spot in late August to today. We drove up to Sunderland, Massachusetts for the 14 mile race, which goes out and back to the summit of 1,200 foot Mt. Toby in Mt. Toby State Forest. Thanks to the company of my mother-in-law, Barbara, Debbie and I got to bring our children, and we were able to both run.

I prefer the November race date. It was chilly at the start and there was lots of mud on the course, but that beats heat and humidity. Toby has been around for many years, though this year, Sara Smiarowski took over from long time race director, Scott Hunter. The usual volunteers, including the Sunderland Fire Department manned the aid stations and start/finish. This was the fifth time that I’ve run Toby, but the first since 2008.

Mt. Toby is a pretty good hill. The race has 1,850 feet of elevation gain and 1,850 feet of loss, so you get some ups and down, though the ascent/descent of Toby itself is the most significant. The main part of the climb goes up 800 feet in 2 miles and then you turn around at the base of the fire tower and blast right back down. My splits were 52:25/48:35 for a total of 1:41:00. I shaved 2:18 off of my previous best time on the course, so I was happy with my result, especially because the footing was so bad. We had to dodge a lot of puddles, and we couldn’t avoid all of them. Even though I ran faster on the downhill half of the race, I much prefer the uphill. The pounding on the fire road was painful for my quadriceps and my toes. Toby isn’t the prettiest course, but there is still an allure to running it. My GPS tracked the elevation profile.

I’m just starting to build fitness again. The last time I ran hard was at the NipMuck Trail Marathon five weeks ago. Winter storm Alfred threw a wrench into  my exercise regimen, but I’m back on track. Debbie had a good run. She was 2nd woman and finished in 1:57:23. It wasn’t her fastest time, but she had a really good negative split. Toby is about as fast a course as you can get for a trail race. It isn’t super-technical and the downhills are quick.

The men’s winner was Ross Krause, who is still basking in the glow of his Stonecat Trail Marathon win from last weekend. He ran a stellar 1:31:53 today. He was followed by Chris Hayhurst and Aaron Stone. Ross was pushed hard, but he came out on top. The women’s winner was Kelsey Allen. She ran 1:47:41. Debbie was also second to her at 7 Sisters earlier this year. Kelsey has had a great Grand Tree season with recent wins at Curly’s Half Marathon and the Monroe Trail Race. Kristine Lynch was third today. It’s worth noting that for first place, Ross scored a six-pack of 22 oz. bottles of Berkshire Brewing Company’s Steel Rail Pale Ale. Man, I wish I could run faster!

I finished just in front of Donald Pacher. The two of us had a race-long battle, which made the time go by quicker. We both complained about the downhills, so neither of us had an advantage. I think I whined more than he did. We traded places many times, but stayed within 20 seconds of each other the whole way. I pulled away in the last 1/2 mile. He and I had fun. We enjoyed the post-race cookout, though it was so cold in the shade of the pavilion. We had a chance to hang out with friends Todd Brown, Dave Sutherland, and Randall Dutton, who also drove up from Connecticut. Mary Lou White finished just as we were leaving, so it was good to see her.

We stopped in Northampton for a treat and smoothies. We have one more Grand Tree race left and that will make six for us. We have one more chance at the Busa Bushwhack next weekend.

Race Results

3 Responses to “2011 Mt. Toby Trail Run”

  1. 1 Chris Anderson 14 November 2011 at 9:10 pm

    you could of waited for me to finish. Oh wait, I was last in 3:53. 🙂 No one there but Sara, not even a finish line 🙂 I feel better knowing I wasnt the only one whose toes were killing!


  1. 1 2011 Busa Bushwhack Trail Race « Life Adventures Trackback on 20 November 2011 at 8:55 pm
  2. 2 2011 & 2012: Looking Back & Looking Ahead « Life Adventures Trackback on 5 January 2012 at 9:44 pm

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