Wednesday, June 15, 2016

TARC Wapack and Back 2016 - RD Report

Section of the Wapack Trail along New Ipswich Mtns.

Start line of the 21.5 miler (race starts with 1/8 mile of pavement before the Northern Terminus of the Wapack Trail)

For the second year in a row I did not run the TARC Wapack and Back Trail Races, but instead my wife and I organized the event. After witnessing so many people cross the line after completing a favorite trail race of mine and being inspired by their drive and focus on goals, we continued to put on the event this year. Compared to last year, this year was so much easier due to familiarity and being more prepared for the day-of activities.

Laying out the gear into 5 aid stations
All the TARC stuff fits well in the box truck
The permitting process and planning for the food purchases went smoothly since I had an idea this year what I was doing and we decided to plan our logistics better with getting all the TARC gear from Hale Reservation. Instead of getting the rental truck (that I need to bring each aid station’s gear to each location) the day before the race like last year, we decided to gather all the TARC gear the weekend before and sort it out to see what we needed to buy for food ahead of time. This allowed us to get a plan together for the purchases ahead of time and helped to control waste after the race was through. We decided to go mostly cupless as some (or all) of the other TARC races are doing, and in turn cut our trash in half. This made the packing at the end of the race a breeze and it made everything much less messy to clean up.

Snacks taking over the dining room

A beaver dam flooded the trail about 500 feet into the race

Ben Thompson after cruising to a course record time

The race conditions included cool temps in the 40s and 50s with a misty rain most of the day, while last year the conditions were very dry and temps reached the 80s in the afternoon. Despite the wet rocks, there were some fast times up front for both races. The 21.5 mile course record was lowered this year to 3:19:36 (9:17/mile pace) by Ben Thompson and Loren Newman came close to the record for the 50 miler (8:51:34) coming in at 9:10:56 (11:01/mile pace). It was exciting to see how the race played out from our vantage point.

This year we had Ian Torrence testing out the course as a comparison to the Zane Grey 50 to see which was the tougher 50 miler. His interesting write-up about how our East Coast gnarly course stacked up to the Southwest Zane course can be found here. It was nice to meet him and his friend Emily Harrison at the race and I'm glad they enjoyed our New England rocks and roots. 

It was great to see some of my friends and running partners have great races. Tim Connelly, Phil Carcia and Jason Gray especially had good times that were a reflection on how well their training through the spring went. Tom Graves, Mike Barrett, Anthony Tieuli all had good races as well and it was fun to share some training runs with them this spring in preparation for the race. My wife and I love to see each and every runner accomplish what they set out to do and it is with great satisfaction to watch them come across the finish line.

Keeping with last year’s tradition, we decided to try to take photos of each finisher at the Mt. Watatic gate and posted them to the Facebook page. Here are a couple photos of some finishers and winners of the different races:

Ben Thonpson with his prized slab of wood
Loren Newman, 50 mile winner, finishing up the run in a third fastest ever time of 9:10:56

Joanna Wang, 1st place in the 21.5 Miler with a time of 5:00:13
Meredith Marx, 1st place in the 50 miler with a time of 11:20:54
The final results for the 50 miler are here

The final results for the 43 miler are here

The final results for the 21.5 miler are here

Since my wife and I knew how pre-occupied we would be at the race and setting up, we sent the kids to their grandparents’ house for the weekend so we could put all our concentration into the race. Being a local race to where we live, the kids came up to visit us at the start/finish line with my parents and got to see all the runners coming into the finish and everybody having a good time hanging out and talking about how the race played out.

Trillium Fort Point went down easy after the LOOOOONG DAY
Thank you to all the volunteers for making our jobs look easy and really stepping up and running each aid station well. Secondly, the runners who sign up for this race each and every year to keep such an awesome event going are great. This year’s race registration opened on February 1st and the capacity sold out in less than 8 hours. I am very grateful to my wife for all she does for me, allowing me to follow my passion in trail running and getting out into the mountains for training when I can. Without TARC’s gear and assistance, I personally would not be able to organize the event. Allowing me to use the gear for the race, and pillage snacks from the late April race at the Spring Classic in Weston eases the logistics on our end.

I'm really looking forward to next year and hopefully will be able to convince my wife over the next year that I can still run the 21.5 miler and perform duties as an RD (we'll see how that conversation goes). Next year's registration for the race will be live on February 1st at midnight, per tradition and will be on the day before Mother's Day, May 13th.

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