2012 TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour Trail Ultra

Today, Debbie ran the TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour trail ultra. We loaded up our VW Eurovan Westfalia for the first time in 2012. Last night, I took the van off the battery charger, drove it to the gas station to top off the tire pressure, and packed it full of gear. This morning, we got up early and headed to Andover, Massachusetts for Debbie’s first race of the year. Once, again, members of the Trail Animals Running Club (TARC)  were our hosts.  Their mascot, the yeti, was omnipresent. Debbie ran the 12 hour race at the TARC Summer Classic last August and had  a good time, so she chose today’s race as her kickoff for the new season.

The weather was spectacular. By the end of the race, the temperature had soared and it was almost too warm for March. The sunshine shone brilliantly all day and it didn’t feel like the last week of winter. We were all hanging out in shorts and shirtsleeves, which made the spectating so much better. The rules for today’s race were simple. Run as far as you can in 6 hours. The course was a 3.5 mile lollipop wedged between Interstate 495 and  Interstate 93. The trails that the course traversed were lovely old New England paths, and you would have never known that the highway was so close. The numerous stone walls signaled that at one time, the area was all farm land.

This race was all on singletrack, which Debbie loves. I walked a mile of the course with our kids and could tell that it was a lot of fun to run. It was muddy in spots, and there were lots of rocks and roots. The course was on land managed by the Andover Village Improvement Society (AVIS). The trails went through AVIS’ largest reservation, the Harold R. Rafton Reservation, and its surrounding forest. The course also included sections of The Bay Circuit Trail and Andover Conservation Commission lands.

The field was limited to 75 runners. Race Director Emily Trespas and her volunteers did a fine job. The kids and I had fun hanging out at the Wood Hill Middle School. Debbie officially covered 33.5 miles. She completed nine loops and then went out for a final two-mile out and back section. She had 11 minutes left and I encouraged her to go out for another mile out and back, but it was unofficial. The rules required that if you had time left, but not enough to complete a 3.5 mile loop, you could choose a one mile or two-mile out and back option, but not both. So, she covered 34.5 miles with 25 seconds to spare, but only 33.5 of it counts!

She was the first woman and fourth overall. I’ll post the results when they are available. Justin Contois completed 10 full laps (35 miles) for the overall win. Paul Lahham was second overall with the same distance as Debbie. I saw a lot of smiles on the trails today. It must have been the spring like warmth. The kids and I had our usual adventures. We hiked, took photographs, biked, enjoyed the cool playground, and cheered on the runners. I told Debbie that the six hours felt like six minutes! With all of our running around, it was over in a flash. It was fun to see some of our trail running friends. There were large contingents from GAC and TARC. Clint Morse and Debbie represented the Shenipsit Striders.

So, for a day that started at 5:00 A.M., and ended when we pulled into the garage at 6:00 P.M., we got a lot done. Debbie got in some great training for the bigger races to come. We all got a lot of sunshine, and we spent time on the trails.

Race Results (will be posted when available)

Race Photos

2 Responses to “2012 TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour Trail Ultra”


  1. 1 Jan Walker 21 March 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Nice running Debbie!!


  1. 1 2015 TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour Trail Race | Life Adventures Trackback on 15 March 2015 at 8:39 pm

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