2019 Trails to a Cure (Cockaponset Trail Race)

Today we returned to the Trails to a Cure at Cockaponset State Forest for another crack at this gnarly little race. There aren’t too many races left on the schedule like this one. $10 for the 4-miler and $20 for the 8-miler. It’s almost too cheap. For that money, you got a great course/venue, a t-shirt, handmade wood-fired pizza, and lots of prizes (plants or hand baked breads). On top of that, proceeds went towards curing prostrate cancer.

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This was race number nine or 10 in the 2019 Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series. The reason for the uncertainty is that another series race, the Macedonia Trail Race was also today. That was a scheduling error as both races deserve to have their own date. The participation numbers at Trails to a Cure should and could be bigger.

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September is such a prime time for races of so many types. It’s the end of triathlon season. It’s the start of cyclocross season.  Mountain biking is still going on. Trail running, and road running are year round sports. Today was also the Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon. It’s been 10 years since I last did “the Josh” and it would be great to go back.

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If I do return, it means I’ll have gotten my kayak back in the water. Last weekend was the Survival of the Shawangunks Triathlon. I haven’t done that race since 2013, but returning to the Gunks for this classic race is one of my 2020 goals. So, it’s unclear if I’ll do Trails to a Cure next year. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the fact that I did it today.

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This race has been kept alive by the Iselin Family and their devoted volunteers. Cockaponset is a great state park and the course is super-challenging. It may be short, but it is packed with ups and downs and enough rocks and roots for a race four times the distance.

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The lakeside venue is gorgeous and in the last half mile you have the option to take a “shortcut” across the corner of the lake. This isn’t clear and beautiful water, but rather is a mucky and weedy traverse. That makes it even more fun. You choose. If you go around, you will be at least a minute slower. If you take the direct route, you get wet. It’s a blast.

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In the 8-miler, Debbie didn’t have much competition and she got the win. Shepard wasn’t far behind her. Dahlia did the 4-miler with her friend Clara, who spent part of the weekend with us. I went out hard but couldn’t hold the pace and faded after the first four miles. Even still, I was happy to be running hard. My back remains tweaked, but I’m pushing onward in an effort to maintain my fitness as cyclocross season kicks in.

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We saw many good friends from the Shenipsit Striders and other clubs. The sun shone brightly and that made the day even better. Next up in the series is the NipMuck Trail Marathon. I’ve done it many times, but this year, I’m likely just volunteering and cheering on the other runners.

Race Results (will be posted here when online)

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