Summer Solstice trail run starts off Father's Day

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Jun. 20, 2011
Runners line up at Gay City State Park, awaiting the start of the Summer Solstice Trail Run on June 19. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Runners line up at Gay City State Park, awaiting the start of the Summer Solstice Trail Run on June 19. Photos by Melanie Savage.

There was a great turnout for the Summer Solstice Trail Run, held on Father's Day, June 19, at Gay City State Park. “We have a lot more than we expected,” said Beth Shluger, from the Hartford Marathon Foundation.

Shluger estimated that at least 300 runners had registered for the event. Runners could choose between a 5K and a 5-mile version of the race, with slightly more than half choosing the 5-mile option. Shluger said there were a large number of first-timers running the race. “Did you see how many hands went up when I asked who was racing for the first time?” she asked. “There are a lot of first-timers here.”

Regarding the strong turnout, Shluger said, “Running, in general, draws people. And a trail run sounds so lovely. Wait till they see how lovely it is. It's wet, it's slippery. But it is beautiful.”

The Hartford Marathon Foundation describes the race as “a beautiful early morning trail run in Gay City State Park in Hebron.” According to their website, the Hartford Marathon Foundation is “a not for profit organization, founded in 1994 for the purpose of providing health and fitness opportunities for the community.” The organization lists 26 different events for 2011, spread throughout the course of the year. They offer running events, duathlons and triathlons. For more information, visit the website

Coming in first for the men in the 5-mile race was 21-year-old Palmer Thiele, of Manchester. Placing second was Matthew Anderson (Bolton). Coming in third was Dan Parzych (Ridgefield). For the women, Lisa Pillow from West Hartford took first-place in the 5-mile. Cathy Callahan (West Hartford) took second-place, and Lisa Heaney (Ellington) took third.

In the 5K, Tyler Thiele, from Manchester, took first place for the men. Coming in second was Randy Neish (Glastonbury), with Matthias Geraghty (Haddam) taking third.

For the women, Rachel Chambers, from Bolton, took first place in the 5K. Coming in second was Sherry Schwarm (Marlborough), and Megan Wert (Glastonbury) took third.

It was a family affair for the Thiele family, with twin brothers Tyler and Palmer taking first place in the 5K and the 5-mile, respectively. Their dad was there watching with their little brother, Alex. His wife, Caroline, was also competing - her first race ever. “It's awesome. Best Father's Day present ever,” said dad.


Spotlight Runners:

Tyler Thiele, Age 21: With a time of 20:28, 21-year-old Thiele took first place in the 5K and beat the trail record. Originally from Manchester, Thiele currently attends college at California State University at Stanislaus, where he competes in cross-country and track. This was Thiele's first trail race, “but I do a lot of trail running,” he said. Thiele's fraternal twin, Palmer, took first place in the 5-mile race.


Palmer Thiele, Age 21: Thiele took first place in the 5-mile, with a time of 34:48. Like his twin, Tyler, Thiele attends Cal State at Stanislaus, where he competes in cross-country and track. Thiele said this was his first trail race. “There was lots of mud and lots of rocks,” he said. “It was hard to go fast.”


Matthias Geraghty, Age 15: Geraghty, from Haddam, took third place in the 5K for men, with a time of 22:13. He is a sophomore at Haddam/Killingworth High School, where he participates in track and cross country. Geraghty runs on trails for cross-country training, and found the Gay City Course hilly. “There are some hills that pop up here and there,” he said.


Randy Neish, Age 13: Coming in second overall in the 5K was 13-year-old Neish, from Glastonbury. Neish posted a time of 22:11. A student at Smith Middle School, Neish is a member of the cross-country team. “I run trails a lot,” he said. “It's fun. I liked the course. It was different, interesting. The hills were tough.”


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