We had ideal conditions for a run on Sunday! Not too hot, not too cold. No rain and the sun came out and warmed things up soon afterwards.
The kids gathered first. We saw the first arrivals at around 7:30 with excited kids ready to run. Registration crowds peaked for the kids races around 8:10 with the bibs and t-shirts flying. Meanwhile around the farm early arrivals were hanging out with the turkeys, chickens, horses, cows, sheep, and goats.
At race time Tony Godino introduced Dr. Jere Hochman, the official starter for the first heat of 7-12 year old runners. Jere is Superintendent of the Bedford School System. He is familiar with gaining kids attention and got them to focus and listen for just a minute. In the spirit of Danny Martin’s race starts he dedicated their start to the air, the trees, and the earth. He then sent them off with a cowbell.
Right behind them the 6 & under crew waited patiently for 4 minutes while the course was made ready for them. Sue Moga, director of Muscoot Farm, was the official starter for this heat. She thanked everyone for coming and counted down the seconds and they were off with another ringing of the cowbell. The runners in this heat ranged from 2 – 6 years old and many were accompanied by parents or older siblings as they took on the course.
Soon after the younger kids went, the finish area spectators were cheering on the first finishers of the kids races. The winners of the 7-12 year old heat were Patrick Coughlin (boys) and Albertine Neal (girls). The overall winners of the 6 & under heat were Erik Bok (boys) and Madison Chalfin (girls). Two new course records were also set in 2011.
Overall age winners were: for Girls: Julianne Vesseliza (F2), Stella Somers (F3), Annika Bok (F4), Sophie Davis (F5), Lily Ornstein (F6), Kennedy Kreutzer (F7), Zoe Tracey Seguin (F8), Maggie Walsh (F9), Juliet Homes (F10), Carlyn Marinaccio (F11), Olivia Morabito (F12). For Boys: Cal Farrell (M2), Mattias Edstrom (M3), Wyatt Gravier (M4), Samuel Griff (M5), Oliver Stafford (M6), Daniel Morrissey (M7), Ian Belles (M8), Wyatt Robinson (M9), Blake Cellar (M10), Samuel Barton (M11), Marius Collin (M12). (Contact us if you have questions or corrections.)
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and siblings cheered on the tired runners as they ran the final stretch and crossed the finish line. All finishers in the kids races received a cross country medal as well as $2 in Farm Bucks to spend at the Muscoot Farmer’s Market.
As the kids results were tallied, the 5 mile runners began to gather. Tony introduced official starter Danny Martin who gave a call and response chant to get the runners in the mood. Before the starting cow bell was rung, we played a recording of singer Chris Smither introducing a song that recalled his childhood in New Orleans where every day a local farmer would walk along side his wagon (and eventually a pickup truck) singing out what he had for sale that day as he walked by the homes.
“I got beets! I got red beans, black beans, all kinda beans. Sweet corn… sweet corn! Merlitons, okra. Okra! I got ba-na-nas.. ice… cold… watermelon!” (Chris Smither — No Love Today (Intro) — Live as I’ll Ever Be)
The bell rang and the runners were off!
The course went over farm roads past the gazebo then transitioned to meadow and then finally snaked into the woods. A big hill at mile 1 was the first challenge. After that came ups and downs through the trees until runners reached the long flat meadows where they could stretch those legs.
Eventually runners crossed back into the woods and moved mostly downhill until the cliff trail. At the bottom of the hill after the cliff, runners turned up to the left and found Godino’s Grind (passing on the left, slower traffic to the right). The Grind is 0.25 mile of the steepest terrain on the course at around the 3 mile mark. Many runners power walked up the hill but a few had their legs moving like pistons running up the steep grade. The reward at the top was a nice long (mostly) downhill path back to the farm roads.
Our bagpiper was waiting at the bottom by the trailside pond, playing Amazing Grace, Halls of Montezuma, and other classic bagpipers music, urging the runners on. On the final stretch, runners passed through the pumpkin field (no pumpkins left!) and then made a quick turn up the hill towards the gazebo once again. In the final stretch back on the farm roads runners took off back to the farmyard where cheers of the crowd let them know they were close.
Gerry Sullivan successfully defended his championship from last year, taking the overall men’s title for 2011. Cassandra Miller won the overall women’s division. 15 year old Benjamin Barton came in a strong second place followed by George “Cannonball” Buchanan in 3rd. Sara Belles was just 7 seconds behind women’s division winner Miller, coming in as the second overall woman. Last year’s women’s champ Deanna Culbreath came in 3rd overall in the women’s race. Overall race results can be found here.
Finishers were rewarded with their own Farm Bucks along with bagels, coffee, apples, and cider in the main barn. The bluegrass group “The Leathermen” entertained the resting crowd and were joined by Henry Kramer who played viola (along with another trail musician playing Bongos) for the runners on the back half of the 5 mile race. After tabulating the results, Tony Godino and Rob Cummings announced the awards first for the kids then for the 5 mile races. Congratulations to everyone who participated.
The farmer’s market vendors loved the event and everyone had a good time. A few hours after runners left we redeemed farm bucks from 22 of the 23 vendors ranging from Advair Vineyards to Dutch Desserts (we can say our runners really like yummy pies!). The farm bucks circulated far and wide at the market.
Big thanks to David Vogel who donated the awesome finish banner which we will be using for many years to come.
We had a great time and are already looking forward to next year!
Photos of the day can be found here. We can add yours too if you send them in!
We should note that there were two items of concern for the Muscoot Staff about the day’s events that we can all help with:
- No guests should be feeding the farm animals anything! The animals are well taken care of with food that suits them. Human food makes them sick and can cause major intestinal distress and illnesses in the animals. Children must be instructed and monitored. The farm staff take this very seriously — and if we want the event to continue we need to all keep an eye on our children around the animals to make sure they do not feed them.
- Bib Pin disposal. Take care and dispose of yours and your child’s bib pins after the run. The pins are very incompatible with chickens and goats who will eat them off the ground and get stomach and throat injuries if the pins should open.
We are guests at Muscoot Farm and the staff are gracious hosts. Please help keep everything at the farm operating smoothly. Thanks for your understanding.
One final note check this link for a list of tri-state area trail races maintained by trail runner
(and Harrier) Chris Jaworski: http://www.essexrunning.com/trails