Every year new events are announced and this year is no different. One of the events we’re super excited about is the Groton Forest Trail Run on Saturday, September 8th of 2018. This looks like an amazing opportunity to run on some great trails. Read on to learn more!

1. Tell us about your event. What is it? What makes it special?

We are excited to have a new trail race on the trails in Groton State Forest in the towns of Groton, Peacham, and Marshfield VT. The start and finish will be at Boulder Beach State Park and the race will take place primarily on the hiking and multi-use trails north of Boulder Beach road. We will have two distances this first year, 15 miles and 26.5. We have 4 aid stations planned, the long course will use two of these twice. We also plan to have some great post race food.

Groton State Forest is Vermont’s second largest land holding at more than 26,000 acres,  The granite hills here were shaped by glaciers 10,000 years ago leaving a rough and beautiful landscape scattered with boulders and ponds. Groton is truly one of the gems of Vermont.

2. Who is organizing the event?

A group of 6 of us started meeting in November 2017. Alison Donovan, Amy Butler, Jill Sudhoff-Guerin and I are all trail and ultra runners from the Central Vermont area. We have all run in Groton over the years, and feel it is a special place. Jack Brooks is Trails Coordinator (Region IV) for VT Forest Parks and Recreation, and an avid outdoorsman. He builds and maintains the trails we’ll be running on. Dave Spencer is from Groton and can remember when there were triathlons held in the State Forest years ago. He also feels like Groton State Forest is a special place, and has looking to bring some sort of athletic event back to the park.

In March 2018 our race was adopted by Central Vermont Runners, and put on their roster. This gave us some much needed backing infrastructure. So, though our organizing committee remains the same we are officially a CVR race.

3. What’s the purpose of the event? Is it a for-profit venture, is there a charitable component, something else?

We all love Groton State Forest and want to share this special place with others. We also recognize what an unbelievable resource our communities have in Groton State Forest and hope the success of this event will provoke more outdoor events in our area. We want this event to inspire a diverse community of people who share a connection to the outdoors, to come together to foster sustainable recreation in order to build a recreational economy for future generations.

Central Vermont Runners is a non-profit and none of the race organizers will be receiving any monetary compensation for their efforts. Though we are focused right now on putting on a quality event without losing money, any proceeds would go back to groups in our local communities. The Cross Vermont Trail Association and the Groton FAST Squad have both have been very supportive of our event and would be obvious choices for donations. CVTA volunteers have helped build and maintain many of the trails we’ll be running on. The FAST squads are critical components of the mutual aid infrastructure of our small towns. Of course CVR gives annually to the food bank and local youth running programs.

4. So tell a little more about the race? How does it work? Who is it for? What’s the route like?

Groton Forest has a mix of both hiking and multi-use trails. The hiking trails can be super technical at times, but also have some more runnable sections. The multi-use trails include both single and double track and are generally less technical. Then we also have some dirt road sections connecting the trails. What we tried to do while designing the courses was to include as much of the single track hiking trails as possible while minimizing out and backs and otherwise running the same section of trail twice.

The long course maps to 26.5 miles with about 5000 feet of elevation gain. It captures almost all the single track north of Boulder Beach Road that we were permitted to use. Both courses summit  Big Deer, Little Deer, and Owls Head, the long course also includes loops around Kettle and Osmore Ponds. There is a long flat out and back on dirt road and rail trail to get to the kettle pond loop which should fun for people who want stretch their legs and run fast for a bit. This course works out to be about 60% technical single track, 10% multi-use trail, and 30% dirt road.

The short course maps to about 15 miles with 3200 ft. of climbing. I think this course really captures some of the most beautiful single track Groton has to offer while avoiding rockiest sections. It works out to be about 50% technical single track, 25% multi-use trail, and 25% dirt road.

5. Any tips, tricks, or suggestions that might help ensure a successful race?

The terrain is varied enough that runners who can both run fast on flat dirt roads and move smoothly over rocky trails will do particularly well. I would also encourage people who don’t want to be racing to treat this as a running tour of Groton, take it easy, enjoy the trails and views from the summits. I think the we have built in enough time that no one should need to be rushing to make cutoffs.

6. Where can one go to learn more and to sign up?

Registration is on UltraSignup, we also have a facebook page and our event can be found on the Central Vermont Runners website.


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