It was a perfect day for a run! We had around 30 folks come out for the group run this past Sunday morning at the Reservation to run the Loop course. Many of the runners had joined the group runs the past six sundays but there were a few new faces. Most were local to the area but we did have a few from farther afield. Chris even made it up from New Jersey.
The group split into two and headed out on the Loop course from the mostly empty Meadow parking lot. The lot will look very different next Sunday… The course was soft but not too wet. The first turn into the woods had puddles but not much else. There is always mud on the horizon though! The water level was on the low side at the first crossing after being torrential just a few weeks before. The first boardwalks on the brown trail were bouncy—tread carefully or avoid them in a crowd. After a water stop we headed into the Mud Flats where all pretense of staying clean was quickly wiped away. It would take a severe drought to dry up this part of the trail and it hasn’t happened yet. The sand on “The Wall” helped to remove the caked on mud. The Deer Hollow hill trail seems to stretch out every year! The pine forest made our footsteps quiet as the bed of needles absorbs the sound. Coming down the switchback back along the river the final mile was flat and fast with plenty of room to pass for those who have the energy saved. The exit onto the meadow before Splashdown was a little squishy but nothing compared to what’s ahead. The Splashdown crossing is in fine shape with the current quickening as you near the opposite bank. Those last 200 yards to the finish were tough but we pressed all the way through.
I think the first group finished in about an hour and ten minutes but there were definitely some who could have gone faster than that! It was a great team effort with a lot of conversation and camaraderie on the trails. The second group came out at about the 2 hour mark. The kids did a great job and most insisted on crossing at splashdown! Tony Godino arrived just as the first group was finishing. He was starting to mark the course to get a jump on a busy week of preparations.
I forgot to take photos at the start but I did manage to take two “after” photos of the different groups (below). A few folks from the first group are missing as they had to leave but they know who they are.
It was an honor and an inspiration running with everyone these last 7 weeks. In all I think we had around 50 different people running the Loop trails! Lee gets the prize for making all 7 group runs, even once when it was only the two of us (that it was a very wet day and also the morning of the daylight savings time!). If anyone is still up for running the trails on Sundays after the Loop we can keep it up. Let us know in the comments.
See you all this Sunday…