Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wapack and Back Race Directing, Ongoing Training

Race Directing

I have become the race director for my favorite local race that I have competed in the last four years, the Wapack and Back Trail Races. As far as my history with the race, I ran the 21.5 miler in 2011 and 2012, then the 50 miler in 2013 and 2014. Somehow I ended up winning the race in 2012 and ended my 4-year consecutive run of the race with a second place at the 50 miler in 2014. If nobody picked up the RD gig for this popular race, it was at risk of becoming a Fat Ass or minimally supported race and since I had some history with it and live somewhat local, I felt I could take over the responsibilities.

Getting a lot of help from TARC (Trail Animals Running Club) and Norm Sheppard (previously a race director of the race for many years), I dove into obtaining permits from the five agencies, required insurance, and booking the transportation and porta potties in mid-January.

Completing all of the requirements, it was time to get the race registration live on January 23rd at 12am. The race is extremely popular and registration for both races sold out in about 12 hours. As of today, there are about 30 people on the wait list for the 21.5 miler and 10 people on the wait list for the 50 miler.

Race Schedule

Since I will not competing in the race this year, I have decided to focus on other races around the same time and have put in most of my training for a few 50km distance races in Spring. The first race that is up will be the Twin State 50k up in the Ascutney Mtn. area of Vermont. This is a fat-ass style race and has around 4,500' of climbing on mostly dirt roads. I am hoping to put in a decent effort here, but I am not expecting to run faster than 4:27, a personal record for the distance. It might be possible to run sub-5 hours on a good day.

The next race will be the Spring Classic 50k in Weston, MA at the end of April. The trails are pretty flat here with relatively good footing and the race plan is to try to run sub-4 hours. This would be an all-out effort for the entire race for me and I'll give it my best shot. Hopefully we get a decent day weather-wise and we'll see what happens.

After the Spring Classic, I have a couple loosely planned mountain runs in the White Mountains. I'd love to try in late May or early June to go for a sub-7 hour Pemi Loop as I get ready to attempt the AMC Hut Traverse a second time. This trip will be a big focus of mine as I failed to complete it last year and I will hopefully be joined by Justin and Chris Dailey on the adventure across the Whites. After the Hut Traverse, I am not sure what will be next on the list but I am contemplating running my first 100km race in October at the TARC 100k/100m.

It has been going well the past few weeks, trying to find some consistency in training and slowly ramping up the miles preparing for Twin State. The snow amounts in Worcester have been record breaking, so that has put a damper on the trail runs. Basically, I've been hitting roads, Mt. Wachusett, and the dreaded treadmill lately to try to get in a little speedwork. Below are a few key photos from some of the runs I've put together while training for this spring's and summer's adventures.

12/20/14: Half mile pickups at the Wachusett Reservoir

1/3/15: Some trails out to the Audobon and Wachusett Mtn. Best pre-sunrise light I've seen yet up there.

1/3/15: Zooming in to the Boston skyline, 14.5 miles at Wachusett, 3,400' climb
1/17/15: 3x6 min. intervals through Worcester before the storm

1/18/15: 13 mile tour of Wachusett with Chris and Phil, 4,200' climb

2/1/15: 11 miles at Wachusett with Jay, 3,500' climb

2/7/15: 20 miler through Sterling, 2x2 miles, 10 miles easy, 3x1 miles, 1,900' climb


  1. Thanks for taking over Wapack, Jesse. I was thinking about running it, but looks like I'm too late. I need volunteer hours for Hardrock and States anyway.

    1. It's a great race Adam, I'm excited to see the other side of things and continue the tradition. I'll be sending out some volunteer signup information soon and will make sure you get it. Thanks for helping out!

  2. Sounds like you're fully on the ball in terms of early race prep, Jesse, and I'm sure you'll ace the next few months of pre-race details, announcements, and other assorted legwork. I'm still hoping to be up there on the open section of ridge taking photos during the race. Good luck with the training and other competitions!

    1. Thanks Ben, it's coming along for sure. Good luck on your training/races too, I hope you're enjoying the small amount of snow we've gotten this year.