2017 Trails to a Cure/Cockaponset Trail Race

After all these years, I finally made it to the Cockaponset Trail Race. Rebranded as Trails to a Cure, and with new life breathed into it by trail running friends, Charlie and Becky Iselin, this year’s race was a success. Debbie has run the classic 8-miler, in Cockaponset State Forest, several times over the years, but I had never done it.

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The race always fell on a late season triathlon, on a cyclocross race date, or it was too close to the Vermont 50. This year, I skipped the Hammerfest Triathlon, the cross races were in Massachusetts, and since I jogged the 4-miler with Dahlia, I won’t be tired for next week’s VT50.

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The Iselin’s recruited us at last month’s People’s Forest Trail Race, another even in the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series.  Cockaponset also used to be part of the New England Grand Tree Trail Running  Series, but I don’t see it on this year’s schedule.

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Debbie did the 8-miler and had a blast. One of the unique features of the race is the optional cove swim in Pattaconk Lake. This comes with only a 1/4 mile to go, and is faster than running around. There is a rope to guide you and to help pull yourself along. By this point, 7+ miles on rocky and rooty trails have made your legs tired. The water was pretty mucky, but that just adds to the excitement. The kids and I were able to get back to the cove in time to see Debbie make the crossing. The only runners we saw who opted to go around were those who were carrying their mobile phones or music players. They made a wise choice. Without a waterproof bag, there would be no way to keep your device dry. The water was deep, over your head.

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The addition of the 4-mile race helped boost the number of kids who were there. Shepard had a good run, and so did Dahlia. he took off, but I stuck with her. Both races started at the same time, and shared the same course for the first 3.7 miles or so, before splitting.

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It was warm and very muggy. It was a great day in the woods, and it was for a great cause. This event has been promoted by SNERRO, for many years. It is run to honor the late Steve Hancock, who was a devoted runner in the Mohegan Striders and was a decorated Vietnam Veteran. I saw Hancock at many races. He was always present and part of the festivities at the Chester 4 on the 4th, where every time I saw him, he was carrying an American Flag. He was also a fixture at the Manchester Road Race, and ran as a member of The Plaiders. Steve died in 2006 after a battle with cancer.

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It seemed like nearly everyone got an age group award, which is cool because many of the 4-mile awards were homemade cookies. The 8-mile awards were very nice plants. Everyone got all the handmade pizza they could eat. It was baked in an oven on site.

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Chester has always been one of my favorite towns. I love the roads and trails. I brought one of my Richard Sachs road bikes (handmade in Chester) and took a lovely 50 mile route back to Bolton.

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Congratulations to Pat Hammon, Chris Pagliuco, and Stefan Rodriguez, who finished 1, 2, 3, and were tightly bunched together. Rachael Whitbeck won the women’s race. She was followed by Debbie, and Eileen Lawrence. Top 3 in the 4-Miler were Dominc Abramo, Paul Mezick, and Shepard.

Registration numbers weren’t huge for today’s race, but I know some folks didn’t realize it was happening. I hope my blog post helps get the word out and that we get even more runners to come in 2018.

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Oh, and there are two races left in the 2017 Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series.  Next up is the grandaddy, the NipMuck Trail Marathon. The finale is the Bimbler’s Bluff 50K. Check them out!

4 Mile Race Results

8 Mile Race Results

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