32nd Tradition Run
January 21, 2001
Meriden, Connecticut USA
The Conditions Would Be Perfect
half foot of snow fell overnight. The temperature would hover
around freezing and it was still snowing when the gun went off.
Welcome to The Tradition Run 2001.
Run is all about dealing with the elements, the mountain and
your own willpower. This year it took conviction just to get
to the starting line. The highways had received a light scraping
by state plows and were barely passable.
were doubts that the run would take place "officially",
but those of us with Tradition Run experience know that people
will be running no matter what.
view of Route 691 leading to East Peak and Castle Craig race
starting line in Hubbard Park.
Survival Of The Fittest
year when it was 60 degrees and sunny 300 people ran this event.
This year? 49. And these 49 are genuinely happy to be here,
on this day, following in Bernie Jurale's footsteps. Bernie
began the tradition of conquering the mountain at age seventy
when he ran up it on his birthday.
to demonstrate that you could achieve fitness at any age and
this race is his legacy.
A Cold Wind Will Blow
mile of the run is an undulating stretch of road that traces
the edge of a frozen reservoir. There is no protection from
the chill wind blowing off that sheet of ice. Hey, at least it's
to the left offers a glimpse of Castle Craig, the stone tower
at the top of East Peak and the finish line.
So When Does The Hill Start?
first half of this 3.1 mile run is really just a warm up for
the the true Tradition Run experience. You've had a chance
to chat with your fellow runners about what a swell job the
Parks Department did with the plowing, about how many times
you've run this before...But it will soon be time to get down
to business. Rumour has it there was an ice storm at the top
a few days ago...
One last blast of wind as you cross the dam and then the fun
hill can be described in one word. Relentless. You round a bend
and it begins, subtly, insidiously. You should have done more
hill work. You will gain 500 feet in elevation over the next
mile. That is fifty stories.
this race is a test. It is pass/fail. If you walk on this
hill you have failed in a small way. Yes you still deserve
all honor and credit for making it to the top but if you have
not run the whole way the mountain beat you.
Click for large image
when you thought it was safe to look up, just when it seems
the hill has crested, this course has one more surprise in store.
You make a slight turn to the left, catch your breath on a little
downhill stretch and then you see it. The Wall.
insult, the wall is the most severe grade you will face on
this run. Slippery packed snow makes you hunt for traction
and you have to shift to your lowest gear. Nestled between
boulders and rock, the wall is a short, steep grind.
A Sparkling Finish
ice-coated landscape greets the runners finishing in the shadow
of Castle Craig.
reward for making it to the top is a view that extends to
Long Island Sound...And a 3.1 mile run back down the mountain.
receive a commemorative patch. This year it celebrated the fact
that Castle Craig has now been perched on East Peak in Meriden
for 100 years.
on the next
Tradition Run -