As I look back on this year's Cranmore Hill Climb, I can only hope that I am somehow able to bottle up all of the good memories I have from the past 2 weeks working on the race. I usually end up writing this race report the day after the race but, for various circumstances, that didn't happen this year so this one will be a little shorter than 2 years ago with a lot fewer details as the memories have already begun to fade. The story still essentially ends in that "I love you guys!" feeling, that makes me wonder how the race went by so quickly, even though I realize I've been vested in this one more than any other event I have ever been involved with in my life.
A couple of memories and observations I did want to share...
1. I'm at best, a top 15 finisher at local mountain races. I have been in the top 11 only once in a race on the New England Mountain Circuit. I am by no stretch of anyone's imagination an elite runner. So, when I get to take a group of elite athletes on a tour of a course that I designed, it's a huge honor for me. Not everyone gets to meet the people that inspire them, and I feel fortunate to do just that. I get to run with them too. And of course, the best part is, they're all just regular people who are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
2. The residents of the Mount Washington Valley will never cease to amaze me with their generosity. Housing close to 40 athletes in people's homes is not something every race can offer. And from the feedback I get, the experience for both athlete and host are both pretty rewarding. That makes me really proud to live here. I feel such a strong sense of community, which is a wonderful thing.
3. I feel that same sense of community among the New England Mountain runners. The number of people who offered to provide rides for athletes or ask how they could help out after the event, was just so incredible. These events feel more like reunions of friends sometimes more than they do a race.
4. There is a cool vibe in the air for me on the morning of race day at about 5:30 AM at the course site. It's quiet, no craziness yet. Very peaceful. It gives you a chance to stop for a moment and enjoy the day for a few precious moments.. I always like to take a lap on the course then to try and imagine how the race will go.
4. This year seemed *way* bigger and more involved than the 2007 championships. That made for a hectic last few months but the race day experience was amazing because of it. There's something extra special about seeing athletes from different countries compete in their national uniforms.
5. The National anthems for all three countries was such a nice touch. I really appreciate it that Andy Schachat thought of bringing them.
6. I will always cherish the new friends I make at these events. I never really expect that to happen but it always does. This year was no different.
7. I can always measure the scheduling challenges in my life by whether or not my cell phone is on. I don't get cell reception at my house so most of the time, it's not on. That's not a bad thing either. I confess to not being a big fan of cell phones. I like to be unreachable sometimes.
This year, with helping to coordinate rides for Mt. Washington and with Cranmore having so many out of town runners coming in, I think I used my cell phone more in the last 2 weeks than I have since, well, Mt. Washington last year.
I guess that's it for this year. For us locals New England Mt. Goats, it's on to Loon and Ascutney. For everyone who got to come and experience our little Valley, thanks for coming and don't be a stranger! We'd love to have you back next year. Maybe we'll even get some sunshine then.
Thanks for coming.
Race website with photo links and results