2017 Mt. Greylock Trail Races

Yesterday, we were back in Greylock Glen for another go at the Mt. Greylock Trail Races. This was Debbie’s 19th consecutive year at Greylock. That stat explains her trail running career, which started a year earlier in 1998. Her ultrarunning career started in 1999, three months after her first Greylock.

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This race means a lot to her. Back then, the trail running community welcomed her with open arms, and she never looked back. I’m sure that some of the people who welcomed her in 1999 when she was 24 years old, would be surprised to know that she stuck with the sport all of this time.

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Now, our kids are running Greylock with us, and enjoying it the way we have. Most years, Debbie has run the “half marathon” long course, but this year was a bit different. She ran Manitou’s Revenge Ultra on Saturday, so after 54 rugged miles, she opted to join our daughter for the 5K short course race. Our son did the 5K on his own, and knocked five minutes off of his personal best, which made him very happy.

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I did the long course, and though the course has changed a bit over the years, it was my slowest time. I’ve now done the long course nine times and the short course twice, for a total of 11, which trails Debbie’s 19 by quite a bit.

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We always enjoy seeing our friends in the Western Massachusetts Athletic Club. We were joined by a small contingent of Shenpsit Striders, including Tony Bonanno, who warmed up for the long course by running a loop on his own ahead of time. So, it was a 26+ mile day for him. He wasn’t alone. The “double” is a training technique used by Curt Pandiscio, and he did it again yesterday. Unfortunately, neither knew the other was out there ahead of time. Both made it back in time for their “second lap” at the official 10:00 A.M. start.

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I was feeling fast, but ended up running slow, which isn’t a big deal. I carried my iPhone and stopped to enjoy the views, including at the summit, and on Jones Nose, my favorite part of the course. A week of rain left the trails muddy and slippery. The Overlook Trail is known for its sharp and unforgiving rocks. After the four mile climb from the Glen to the Summit, I took it easy on that first descent.

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An old cycling friend, Kurt Hackler, won the race in 1:47:07. Kurt was a junior rider when I first started racing in the early-1990’s. I can’t believe he is now 40+ too! The women’s race was won by 20 year-old Sonya Jampel in 2:13:43. She was only 34 seconds behind me, and I was pushing at the finish. I never saw her, but it was neat to see her cross the line considering that she wasn’t even a year old when Debbie ran her first Greylock! That’s crazy. 63 year-old Rob Higley wasn’t far behind her and he deserves even more credit for hammering the course…again. 10 years ago, he was trouncing me at these trail races as a 50+ Masters all-star. It’s great to see him running strong into his 60’s.

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You may notice from some of the photos that there was more people in the Glen this year. Sadly the race numbers were down (this is an issue for a lot of the classic New England trail races), but the extra people weren’t there for the race. They were there for the MAGICon Enchanted Greylock Harry Potter event. I don’t know the story, but somehow, the Glen got double booked. Thankfully the weather was nice because we didn’t have use of the gazebo and had to share the field with the other guests. I don’t know which crowd thought the other group was weirder.

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They were playing Quidditch and we were running straight up the mountain. Who were the crazy ones? Needless to say, it looked like it all worked out and the disparate groups appeared to coexist. I’ll have to check with friends from the WMAC to see what they thought. Regardless, we are always appreciative of the volunteers. Debbie put on Soapstone three weeks ago, and got a ton of support from our Shenipsit Striders club mates, so we know how much work goes into these races. Father’s Day Weekend came to a close in Northampton. We stopped for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Paul & Elizabeth’s. We also picked up bread at one of our favorite bakeries, Hungry Ghost Bread. They have sweet new amphitheater and community herb garden.

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It’s inevitable. If all goes well, we will be back in the Glen for Debbie’s 20th anniversary Greylock in 2018.

Race Results

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