July 2022 Newsletter

Note from the Editor

A belated July newsletter to enjoy. Don't miss the club photos of everyone taking advantage of the great weather and long days, and Tim's epic story of running 1776 miles. Happy summer!

Anne Farrell

UVRC Newsletter Team

Article Collection
Robert Jones

UVRC Newsletter Team

Member Submission

Club Member Photo Album

By: Club Members

What have we all been up to? Here are some member submitted photos from our adventures and recent races. Hopefully they serve as inspiration to keep getting out and enjoying this beautiful summer!

Photos from Kali Smolen of some UVRC members doing some things that aren't running (what!?):

Photos from Keri & Toby Niles:

Photos from Kristie Carrol:

Photos from Laurie Reed of Skip's Run:

Photos from Mary Mancuso of running in the Boise Idaho Foothills:

Photos from Joffrey Peters of running with toddlers:

Toddler on Mt. Cardigan

Stuff we find on our runs

Photo from Ryan Scelza, a beautiful day on Franconia Ridge:

Member Submission

The Brockport Bicentenial Relay

By: Tim Smith

On October 26, 1825, New York State opened the Erie Canal at a ceremony in Buffalo. At the moment Governor Clinton declare it open a cannon was fired. A few miles east a second cannon crew was stationed and when they head the first one roar, they fired their cannon. And thus the news of the opening was relayed across the state and down the Hudson to New York City in a few minutes.

In 1975, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the canal, a running relay traversed the towpath of that canal, this time from Albany to Buffalo. I got to run a leg of that relay - from Adam's Basin to Sweden-Walker Road, about two and a half miles out of the 360 mile relay.

A 360 mile relay was but inspiration to a really long relay.

In the spring of 1976 the hot topic of discussion in my world was the number of mega celebrations planned for that year's Fourth of July. For those of you who don't remember this bit of ancient history, the celebration was referred to as the "Bicentennial". Not "a bicentennial", but "The Bicentennial". NASA painted the Bicentennial Logo on their Vehicle Assembly Building, New York City hosted the first Tall Ships/Operation Sail, new coin designs were minted, Queen Elizabeth II (yes the same one) presented the City of Philadelphia with the Bicentennial Bell.

But what about in my home town, Brockport, New York (population 8,000)?

I know the plan was born at my lunch table in High School during period 5B. The "B" means that our allotted lunch time was during the second half of the 5th period of the day. Since periods last 45 minutes, this meant that you had 22minutes 30seconds to eat your lunch. Which was more then enough time for me to wolf down my three sandwiches, apple, carrots, cake or cookies and milk (I had a superior mother who was master at assembly line lunch construction).

One day, in the idle minute at the end lunch, while waiting to be allowed to dash off to trigonometry, the idea of a relay was born, and I made a flawed calculation which was to (slightly) mar the event.

Tom Rich (alias "Captain America" and the man who later earned the title of "Most Physically Fit Marine") probably conceived of the idea, and most certainly was the driving force behind its realization. According to the Guinness World Records, the "Longest Relay" at that time was 200 miles.

In retrospect I don't believe that. I had been in a 360 mile relay the previous fall. And Olympic Torch Relays are much longer. But for some reason Guinness said 200 miles, and Tom contacted them to confirm what information they would need from us to confirm we had broken it. And we were off and running - as it were.

How long would it take to run 1,776 miles? The question fell to me, since I was the only one at the lunch table to carry a "slip stick" (a slide rule). Eight miles per hour meant nine days, whereas seven miles per hour meant ten days. We agreed that seven miles per hour was reasonable, and so planned our start for Thursday, June 24.

That was my flawed calculation - or perhaps the flawed assumption.

In the few weeks building up to the event word went around town, or maybe it was just Tom in his red Pinto with a white stripe, and local merchant started donating thing. First, and perhaps most import, the Board of Education gave us permission to use the school grounds 24 hours a day for the duration of the event. And they also give us permission to use the lobby of the big gymnasium - which meant access to bathrooms and water!

Stull's Lumber donated wood and paint and we constructed a large sign next to our HQ which listed all the sponsors and also had a large chalk board where we displayed miles run.

And tee shirts! None of these hi-tek wicking fabrics, these were real genuine white cotton, and they looked like they should be worn under another shirt. Except the words "BI-CENTENNIAL RUN - 1776" had been silk screened on to them.

The assistant cross-country couch was also the shop teacher. So he and Tom turned our baton on a lathe, out of a piece of mahogany. Mahogany look beautiful, but also turned out to be the heaviest baton it was possible to construct.

Thursday, June 24th at noon we were launched! The day was overcast, but still, according to the newspaper "22 men and 4 women" (ok 22 boys and 4 girls) ran that first mile together. By using the distance wheel from the shop we had measured and marked three, one-mile loops on the school grounds. (Who know you could measure cross-country courses and lumber with the same tool!) and we were off.

The team ready to run the 1776 relay.

Originally people would sign up for half hour blocks, but soon we discovered we had more fun if we paired up. So two runner would run for an hour, but handing off every mile. One of the math teacher had let me use the school's computer - we had 1 computer with 4k of memory - and a lot of continuous feed paper to create a sign-up sheet for every half hour, for ten days - that is 480 slots to fill.

On the second day one of the local bakeries came by at the end of the day and unloaded all their un-sold calories, and within a few days none of us needed to go home to eat anymore. Crates of fruit just appeared. Cartons of doughnuts, trays of deli meat, platter of rolls. And every evening Tom was carefully stenciling the names of the new supports onto our sign.

One night there was a pretty spectacular lighting storm and the Athletic Director showed with keys to the large gym. There were already tape marks on the floor for a 10-laps to the mile "track". I personally missed that night because I always signed up for the "dawn-patrol" at 5:00am, but I got reports from my brother (I think I heard that a baton may have been tossed - but I wouldn't say that since that might disqualify the whole relay.)

On Monday, June 28 it was again pouring, but the gym was already occupied by commencement. So the local college (SUNY Brockport) invited us to run on there "all-weather track". The high school track, 100m from HQ was cinders and given to flooding, but the collage track, 500m away, was a delight to run on, even in a light rain.

Our under estimation of our speed soon became apparent, if we keep up this rate we would reach 1776 miles on July 3rd. We huddled and discussed various options. We could tack on an additional 200 miles - it was the Bicentennial - but there was something about the number 1776. Or we could declare a "walk-day", but that would be to humiliating to even contemplate. July 4th was a Sunday, and the whole nation was celebrating a three day weekend, and the Village of Brockport was already planning to start the weekend with a street fair.

Now I'll confess that I missed the end of the relay. At daybreak, July 3rd I got to run mile 1700 for the relay and mile 100 for myself, and then I was on the bus to Boy Scout camp where I was a counselor-in-training.

Our mayor, Jim Stull, (remember the lumber - that was his mom) arranged for the grand finale. The last mile was accompanied by police cars and fire trucks down Main Street. Volunteer firefighter (some of whom ran), know how to make a lot of noise if they are allowed. About two dozen runners, including the mayor, shared the honor of racing down Main Street, through the street fair, to break the ribbon at the corner of Main and Market.

In the end I don't really know if it was a "world record", if so only in the category of relays that don't actually go anywhere. But it most certainly was an event! There were two dozen core runners, but we had about a hundred community members just showed up and ran a mile. This was when running was not very common for anyone over the age of 18 - and I expect we were close to a lot of heart failures.

I marvel at the freedom and support our town gave us. I don't recall once hearing anyone even suggest we might not succeed.

And if anyone was to hand me a half-pound mahogany baton, I'm ready to run my mile.

Runners enjoying a light drizzle on the outdoor track.

Member Submission

Covering Covered Bridges

By: Robert Jones

If you’re tuned into the local racing circuit you’ll be familiar with the infamously difficult to get into but famously popular Covered Bridges Half Marathon (CBHM)! Snaking it’s way from Pomfret to Woodstock and Quechee the course is often referred to as “The Best 13.1 Miles in New England” which I can personally attest to being at least potentially true; I’m sure the famous 13 miles of New Hampshire coastline could also give this half marathon a run for its money!

This year’s CBHM was held on June 5th and I’m proud to say that a great many UVRC members both ran and volunteered! So many that our club was recognized in the Valley News! In the following article the Valley News recognizes some of the top performers from our club which I hope you will join me in congratulating!


The Valley News of course has limited space for each article so they don’t have a full list of everyone who participated but I would like to take this time to list all of our members who competed and also volunteered their time as a pacer or to help with the race operations. My sincere apologies if I missed anyone!!

Sincere thanks to Rebecca Stanfield McCown and Mike Kokko for organizing pacers and to Paul and Kristin Coats for organizing volunteers and cleaning up after the race! And a shoutout to the Scelza household for making mile 11.5 an unofficial water stop, offering popsicles and a sprinkler to cool down, it really rejuvenated runners in the final miles!

And lastly a HUGE thank you to Amy Olson for connecting us to the Valley News!

Social Events

July Racing Update

By: Geoff Dunbar

Welcome to the July racing update! Summer is a great time to be a runner in the Upper Valley, isn't it?

New Hampshire Grand Prix

Look at that; after our home race, Skip's Run, UVRC is in FIRST in the NHGP! Plus, we had a great turnout to run the track 5K at TNT in June. Go team! However, it's not time to get complacent. We need to get out and put up results in the track 5K. Run anytime you like, submit your time here: https://www.runreg.com/nh-grand-prix-5000m

Then, the next race in the NHGP is the Sandown 5 Miler, August 6 in Sandown NH. It's a bit of a trek for us, and you can bet our competitor clubs are looking to get back at us. Let's get as many folks down as we can (vanpool details coming later): https://www.runreg.com/29th-annual-sandown-5-mile--5-k-road-race

If you have no idea what the New Hampshire Grand Prix is, check the website: https://www.nhgp.org/

Upper Valley Running Series

Race number two in the Upper Valley Running Series is complete; the Shaker Seven in Enfield. Great running, everyone! The UVRS site has links to the results for the S7, and current standings for the series: https://bit.ly/2022uvrs

The next race in the UVRS is The Under the Tree race, August 20 in Hartland VT. Again, the 10K is the scoring race, but the 5K is finisher eligible. See the website (above) for links to the races, as well as overall information on the series.

Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series

The first race in the Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series was June 18, Six in the Stix in Newport NH. Congratulations to UVRC runners!

July is a busy month for the WNHTRS. Looking to get out of the sun and into the woods?

  • All Out Trail Run, July 9 Claremont NH.
  • Frenzy in the Forest, July 16 Sunapee NH.
  • Hurricane Hill, July 23 Hartford VT.

Information these races, and about the series in general: http://www.wnhtrs.com/ 


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