Top Trail Towns-Manchester-Trail Runner magazine

The September issue of Trail Runner magazine has been out in print for six weeks. The issue features eight “Top Trail Towns.” This year’s eight are: Bend, Oregon; Lynchburg, Virginia; Duluth, Minnesota; Revelstoke, British Columbia; Tucson, Arizona; Manchester, Connecticut; Deadwood, South Dakota; and Truckee, California.

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That isn’t a typo. One of my hometowns, Manchester, made the list. How? Well, it’s a short story. First, here is the link to the online version of the Manchester article that Meghan Hicks wrote. This link takes you to the directory/full story that she wrote.

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Back in February, the editors of Trail Runner posted a simple question on their Facebook page.

This is what it said, “We’re gearing up for our Annual Top Trail Towns feature—what are your choices for the best places to live and run trails?”

That sounded like an invitation for a comment, so I did. This is what I wrote:

“Anywhere in CT. 825+ miles of Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails maintained by Connecticut Forest & Park Association plus more are perfect for running. Great running communities and trail clubs too. Oh, and some awesome races including 30-year-old NipMuck Trail Marathon and 29-year-old Soapstone Mountain Trail Race. If you have to pick one of 169 towns, go with Manchester because it has the Hop River Rail Trail and an iconic 77-year-old classic road race that even the trail runners love!”

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233 other people commented with their nominations, and I forgot about my own comment until May, when Meghan, an ultrarunner extraordinaire/writer, reached out to discuss Manchester. Debbie and I had a fantastic phone call with  her, but we wanted to know more about her 2013 Marathon des Sables victory, so we talked about that first.

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When we got around to discussing Connecticut, we couldn’t stop gloating about our state. I grew up in Vernon/Rockville, Debbie grew up in Prospect, but Manchester is one town over from Bolton, where we live now, and has the bigger name. When you live in a state like Connecticut, you love all of the 169 towns, especially the ones that you run, hike, and bike in.

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2013_Manchester Photos 1

I’ve always been suspicious of “top” lists. A west coast bias dominates the outdoor media and it bugs me. I was very pleased that Trail Runner selected Manchester to feature along with perennial favorites Tucson, Bend, and Truckee. I was even happier that Boulder didn’t make he list! I’ve actually been to four of these top eight, including three of them (Tucson, Truckee, and Manchester) in the past eight weeks. Heck, Porter Reservoir doesn’t look much like Donner Lake and Case Mountain isn’t Mount Lemmon, but we still have enormous beauty and culture too.

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Connecticut has the best darn trail network in the country. Every year, we lead the nation in National Trails Day events, and that is in real terms. If it was measured per capita, we would be so far out front, it would be a silly measure. Regardless, it isn’t about volume; quality is what matters and we have that too. Our trails are rugged and beautiful and very accessible.

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Meghan was able to only cover so much in a short magazine article, but we made the list and if you really want to know about Connecticut trails, then you have to read this blog every day! The Livingston’s are pumped to live on the Hop River Trail. We are glad that we have parks like Wickham to run in. We are blessed with awesome trails.

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I shot some photos for the story. Clubmates from the Shenipsit Striders were helpful. We spent some time at Case on a lovely summer evening. Two images were published, including one of Debbie and Carly Stroich-Eisly, but a handful of others are included in this post. They are just part of a trail story that is still being told…

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2 Responses to “Top Trail Towns-Manchester-Trail Runner magazine”


  1. 1 Dani Kennedy 22 September 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Scott, thanks so much for getting us some much deserved publicity and being such a great advocate for our beautiful state! I am proud to be a race director of a trail run series in CT!

  2. 2 Bill Markunas 24 September 2013 at 9:22 pm

    wow; we ran case mt to gay city with family; came back and car was smash and grab (2 purses); Manchester is home to my sis, and we grew up rockville also. glad for Manchester; great run down here in shenandoah valley


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@thecubscouts #pinewoodderby never gets old. Pack 157 Bolton, Connecticut #cubscouts So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏

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