2011 Busa Bushwhack Trail Race

82-year old running legend, Richard Busa, always comes to our club’s races (Shenipsit Striders), so it is fitting that we finally got to his. The Busa Bushwhack Trail Race has been around for eight years, and it has been part of the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series for nearly as long, but we had never done it. We have known Richard since 1999 when Debbie first burst onto the New England trail running scene. By then, he had already made a name for himself as a fantastic masters runner at distances from 5K to 100 miles. He has been a fixture in the New England trail running community for many years and has been an inspiration to many.

His club, the Greater Framingham Running Club, is the host for this 10 mile affair. The course is in their backyard at Callahan State Park. Today’s race was rescheduled from October 30th because of the freak snowstorm that devastated Connecticut and Massachusetts. There was no snow on the trails today. Instead, we were greeted with an unseasonably warm temperature of 60 degrees, and abundant sunshine. Neither Debbie or I had ever run on the Callahan trails, so it was a new and fun experience.

Last weekend’s Mt. Toby Trail Run was fast, but not nearly as fast as Busa. The trails were covered in leaves and there were a few spots of mud, but for the most part, they were not technical. There was some up and down, including the infamous Busa Hill, but you had to just lay it out there because this was a fast track. I only missed one turn, which is a testament to the good course markings and all of the excellent GFRC volunteers. Without that extra effort, I would have been lost because there was a lot of criss-crossing and doubling back.

Alas, it was a good day. We were pumped to get in our sixth Grand Tree race of the year. Both of us needed it to qualify for the season points. GFRCer, Wendy Cashen Akeson, was kind enough to connect us with club-mate Jill Conroy, who watched our kids while we hammered in Callahan. The finish line was at the Brophy School, which was neat. There was a playground, so it qualifies for family friendly. We walked from the school to the start, which was in a neighborhood. At the end of the cul-de-sac was a trailhead for the state park. 167 runners finished the 10 mile race and 81 finished the 5.3 mile short course.

Stephen Granger-Bevan blasted the 10-miler in 1:03:09, which is pretty good considering that this is all trail and the footing was tricky. Jim Johnson went faster last year, but for today, Stephen was top dog. I chatted with him after the race, and he was genuinely happy to get the win because he has been hampered by some nagging injuries. He beat out Mt. Toby and Stone Cat champ, Ross Krause, who has been absolutely flying. Ross finished in 1:04:38. Russell Johanson rounded out the top three in 1:06:30.

I ran a 1:09:16. Hot on my heels was the women’s winner, Kim Webster, in 1:09:23. Kim closed in on me with about 1.5 miles to go. I could hear her breathing and I knew that the runner stalking  me was a girl, but I never looked. I had faded a bit in the second half, but I wasn’t about to get caught near the finish by a boy or a girl! Her breathing was labored, so I kicked it up a notch when we hit the final 1/2 mile road section, which was enough to hold her off. The final push did get my heart rate up to 191, so I should at least thank Kim for that.

She had a great race. Her gap to second place finisher and last week’s Mt. Toby champ, Kelsey Allen, was significant. Kelsey still had a great time of 1:12:39. Kath Hardcastle was third in 1:14:24. Ashley Krause was fourth, Amy Lane was fifth, and Debbie was sixth in 1:20:14. This race was a little short and the trails were a little too tame for Debbie, but she still had a great time.

It was nice to hang out with Richard after the race. His race resume is amazing. I’m glad that the GFRC gang got this race in. Two weeks ago, it looked grim. Today, it was glorious. We got to run some new trails, see some old friends, and meet some new ones too. It’s sad that the Grand Tree series is in hibernation until next April. Bring on Northern Nipmuck!

Race Results

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