New records set at 9th Annual Air Line Trail Ghost Run
By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester/East Hampton/Hebron - posted Tue., Nov. 8, 2011
“Let’s do it again,” said an almost-serious-sounding voice from within a group of runners, just minutes after they had finished the ninth annual Air Line Trail Ghost Run that was held on Saturday, Nov. 5.
A certified half-marathon (13.1 miles), the Ghost Run gets its name from the white train that more than a century ago carried businessmen and the wealthy between Boston and New York along what is now the Airline Trail.
Beginning at Hebron Elementary School, runners follow Route 85 and pick up the Airline Trail near Colchester, finishing the race in East Hampton, behind the Center Elementary School. The Ghost Run takes about three to four months to plan, said Colchester Recreation Specialist Amanda Herzog, and it is the biggest collaborative event held between the towns. That may soon change, though, as regional meetings between town parks and recreation departments have started recently, said newly-named Colchester Recreation Manager Cheryl Hancin, in the hope that the towns can formulate a resource-sharing plan to help cut costs.
Working together was particularly important this year, as the previous week’s freak snow storm left a large clean-up job on the trail. And postponing the race is not an option, said Herzog.
“All of our maintenance staffs did an excellent job of cleaning the trails,” said Shawn Mullen, program coordinator with East Hampton Parks and Rec. Those workers, together with a large group of dedicated volunteers, allowed this year’s race – the largest ever, with 331 runners – to take place without a hitch.
“I give them [the runners] a lot of credit for running that distance,” said Hebron Program Coordinator Jared Redmond, minutes before the first runner, Duncan Gerity of West Hartford, crossed the finish line, smashing the course record by several minutes with a time of 1:16:03 – and finishing more than 3 and a half minutes in front of the second-place finisher, Dan Fields. Courtney Hyte was the top female finisher, with a time of 1:29:15.
“I was hoping for a little faster [time],” said Gerity, who has run a number of full marathons, but was competing in only his second half-marathon. A long-time runner, competing in both high school and college, Gerity, who works at a running store, said, “Running is my job. Work is just a 9 to 5 hobby.”