On Sunday, May 21 I FINALLY ran in the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race, a 22k (13.5-ish mile) trail race put on by my trail running club, the Shenipsit Striders. This was the 34th year of the race, which also offers a 6k “sampler” for those who want to get some trail miles in and check out the course, without spending 2-3 hours + out there.
What a FUN race!! The trails were a challenging mix of mostly rocky, rooty singletrack , wet and muddy riverbed running, with a little dirt road, a scooch of pavement thrown in. There were 3 aid stations for the long course plus a water drop, so there were plenty of opportunities to fill up on water or tailwind, which was offered out on the course as well.
I had heard that the race was a tough one, and they definitely weren’t lying. It was a trail runner’s dream, with miles of tricky, rocky terrain to cover. Early in the 22k (within the first couple of miles) there is a steep climb (i.e…. you’ll need your hands a little kind of steep) up to the Soapstone Mountain observation tower. Don’t fret – your climbing will be rewarded by a super fun winding technical downhill on the other side…. wheeeeeee! After that – it’s a rock hopping, puddle stomping, mud sliding, try not to trip and fall on tired legs kind of a day.
I was in no shape to race, so I came out to catch up with some running friends, have a good time, and run somewhere new. Mission accomplished (and bonus – checked off a new CT State Park/Forest for my quest… Shenipsit State Forest! )
Debbie Livingston (friend, fellow strider, and bad-ass ultra runner) is the race directer and (with the help of a small army of amazing volunteers) puts on a phenomenal race. The post race spread is delicious too, vegetarian chili – hooray! Thank you, thank you thank you to all that helped to put this race on. You guys rock. It was so wonderful to see so many of the Striders out there – such fun saying hello and catching up with fellow runners that I don’t see nearly often enough.
Looking for a low-cost, grassroots, technical, and FUN spring trail race to test out your fitness? (or just finish without falling down too many times?) – I can’t recommend this race enough. See you all next year!
Check out the race results here