400 minutes to glory for Camp Sloper trail runners

Published on Sunday, 12 November 2017 21:47
Written by Erica Schmitt

Staff Writer

SOUTHINGTON - The trails at YMCA’s Camp Sloper were trodden by about 150 pairs of feet Sunday, during the CT Trailmixers Fall Fling event.

Of those, 110 belonged to runners in a race that challenged them to complete as many two-mile loops as possible in 400 minutes.

The top finishers - those who ran the most miles - were Jeffrey Mitchell of West Hartford and Joshua Stockdale of Durham, at 40 miles each. Top female finisher Sarah Ports of Lebanon ran 18 loops, or 36 miles.

Madison resident Aaron Bova came in third overall, completing 19 loops.

Participants enjoyed bright sunshine and crisp fall air as they ran all morning and into the early afternoon.

“It was awesome,” Bova said. “The nice chilly air was perfect for running and the sun felt awesome coming around the lake.”

This marked the club’s third event at Camp Sloper, revered by participants for its easy trail system and scenic landscape.

“It’s a really nice place to run, with beautiful trails,” Berlin resident Jake Fisher said.

He had previously spent time on the property, but never for as long as he did Sunday.

“I did 28 miles today, which is the longest I’ve ever run in my life, so I’m pretty psyched,” Fisher added.

He praised the club, which is known among the state’s running circles for its encouraging membership and for its hosting of fun activities.

“Camaraderie defines our group,” Carina Halloran of Southington explained. “Everybody is really positive and supportive of each other.”

After their final laps, runners stood by the finish line, catching their breath. Meanwhile, they cheered fellow participants coming through.

“It’s just a great group of people - really encouraging and supportive,” said Ports, who took home an apple pie and a handmade medal for her win.

Mitchell and Stockdale also had their pick of pies, donated by a local farm.

Other participants were happy simply for the opportunity to complete their own personal challenges outdoors on a beautiful fall day.

“I love the challenge,” Meriden resident Clay Frost pointed out. “Getting outside and pushing myself.”

Sunday’s was his first trail race. When asked if he’d do it again, Frost said, “Definitely.”

The 400 offers new and seasoned runners a different kind of test, according to Race Director Michael LoPresti, president of the CT Trailmixers.

“It gives people the flexibility to run for as long as they want,” LoPresti explained. “The intent is to give you an easy, flexible way to give trail running a try, or to complete a big race. Some people do this in preparation for a marathon.”

About 40 others took part in a 5K race early Sunday morning. The route incorporated some of the same trails as the 400.

CT Trailmixers member Julie Logan joined fellow volunteers on the sidelines. They provided runners with homemade snacks and water as they completed laps.

“We’re all about positive vibes here,” Logan said.

Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or eschmitt@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, Southington Herald on Sunday, 12 November 2017 21:47. Updated: Sunday, 12 November 2017 21:50.