„You are the German, right?“
Yes, indeed. And I guess I was pretty lucky to find the TARC (Trail Animals Running Club) on the internet and even more so, that one of their races took place during my time in their area. The day started early around 5 a.m.. I picked up Ted who also wanted to run the Summer Classic and lives only 10 min drive from my hotel. We were a bit late but made it to Medfield and race registration just in time. After a short briefing the race was started at 7 a.m. by race director Jeff Dixon.
The TARC Summer Classic covers a total of 40 miles, divided into four identical 10 mile loops. And what a wonderful course it is. I would say 80 percent finest single trails with some of them being really technical. A lot of small ups and downs and parts with countless of tiny narrow turns – brilliant. It is that kind of track where you better stay concentrated. Small rocks and stones as well as roots everywhere. Definitely the place to be at that Saturday. Most comfortable was the marking of the track. I mean I know how difficult it is, especially with a course that uses a lot of two-way sections and crossings of the course – but it was perfect. I think it was my first time ever on a course marked that precisely that you don´t need a single glance on your GPS for confirmation! Well done!
What was even better were the perfect equipped aid stations (including the must haves: coke, watermelon and chips :)) and the wonderful people both out on the trail and in the volunteer team. Thanks a lot for everything.
The rain stopped just in time for the race start and it should become a warm and humid mixture out in the forest. Jeff warned us that if you want to finish this race, the fist loop should not be run too fast. And of course he was right. The race was becoming more and more difficult with every finished loop. At the end only 24 out of 44 runners of the 40 miles should finish the race. I felt great at the beginning. It was still cold enough because sun was not really powerful. But as always – good times are bound to end on one point. At my present fitness level speeding-up was not possible so I decided to do what I´m best in: Spending hours at the aid stations and slow down to the long-distance speed. I was able to talk to Jeff after my second loop and had a great time with the people at the aid station on course (each loop around mile 3 and 6). It took me 8h42 to finish the 40 miles ending up at place 12. I was always recognized as „the German“ but sooner or later the people found out my real name :). I really had a perfect day and after finishing I spend almost an hour at the line watching and cheering to the next runners, had the chance to talk to all the people in more detail and, because I was „the German“ was offered to taste a really good and race-director-self-brewed beer. I mean – how cool was that. Thanks Jeff.
Whoever is in the Boston area and up for some trails – contact the TARC. You´ll find the right people to run with! And don´t worry to much about the Yeti – he is fine as well!
Last but not least there was that one little thing keeping me thinking. The race started at a gate and for every new loop you had to cross that gate… It was really good that this gate was not yellow…