I’ve been travelling to Massachusetts every 6 or so weeks for the past 7 years and I never knew the Appalachian Trail ran through the Western end of the state.
I should have done – my brother Doug beats on about the AT all the time…
Anyway, on discovering this, I decided I wanted to run a bit of it – most of my US based runs are around a few lakes and loops around the town of Westborough – nice, but not ‘great’.
So, before heading out there last week I hooked up with my buddy Jim via email and we arranged to meet up and run a bit of the trail.
Last week I ran the Compton Downland Challenge, this is an annual 40 mile (and has a 20 mile option) cross country race over the Berkshire Downs. It is organized by Compton Harriers, by Dick Kearn, the guy who also does the Grand Union Canal Race (I learnt this from other runners on the course). Read more
This is a great, local 16 mile cross country race, over undulating ground through beautiful countryside. The race is organised by Overton Harriers, and starts at Combe Gibbet and finishes in the village of Overton.
It follows tracks most of the way, including sections of the ‘Wayfarers Way’, along ridges, through farm fields – beautiful – it crosses under a main road at one point (just past the 8 mile point) and there are a couple of short hilly sections around the 8 – 9 mile point also.
I love this race, it was my third running of it, having done it previously in 2004 when I did 2:37:28 and 2005 when I did 2:33:53 after starting around 15 late. This year (2011) I finished in 2:27:01