A Little Playtime – Journey Running (Part 1 of 2)

Time: November 13th weekend, 2010

Place: Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG)

A month ago I had the idea to start checking out the greenway that surrounds the area where I live. I had been doing small sections on daily runs for the past few years but thought it might be nice to see how far I can get in a day.  That being said I should have thought to try this idea in the middle of the summer when the days are longer as opposed to the short daylight of the New England fall.

There are many reports of people doing this greenway supported (vehicle and food), but I thought that it might be cool to throw everything that I would need for the day on my back and give the wife a shout when I decide that I was finished running.  As Forest Gump would say “I just felt like running”.  The SRKG is a continuous trail that originates at Mt. Sunapee and goes through eight towns and over three BIG mountains (mentioned in the name of the trail) and lots of little ones.  I think that the total elevation gain for this circumnavigation is approximately 15,000 feet. The total distance of the trail is 75 miles.

Inov-8 shoes laced around my Darn Tough Vermont socks

First off is deciding what to wear when the day starts at 30 degrees and you know it is supposed to top out at about 55. I decided to go with my Inov 315 shoes because they are like slippers, and a brand new pair of Darn Tough Vermont socks because there is no better sock for these trail condition. My feet were guaranteed to get wet at some point; I’ve got to have my moisture-wicking wool! I also wore my OR swift wick short-sleeve top with my OR Helium jacket until it warmed up a bit. On my legs I had a pair of EMS running shorts covered up by my OR tights. I could not have chosen a better set up!

All geared up and ready to go!

Just so you know, I had originally decided to start this journey on Saturday night at 6 p.m. and run the entire trail ending about 20 hours later. But, I had to modify my original plan a bit due to family obligations and the fact that the woods are littered with hunters. I figured I better just stick with daylight hours; I really did not want to get shot. My goal for the day was to see how far I could get by myself, unsupported, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. (after 4 it’s already getting dark).

I started at 7 a.m. in Springfield, NH at the Protectworth Trail Head on NH 114. Not more than one hour into my run I already had a little difficulty following the trail. It was pretty poorly marked around the Dutchman pond area; thank goodness the great people at the SRKG were kind enough to give me the most up-to-date maps of the trails. With a little map and compass work I was able to rectify the situation and get back on trail. So once I got onto the Perley Road section headed to Devils half acre in New London, I looked down at my watch and noticed that I had already smoked 2 hours and barely ticked off 1 of 14 maps of the greenway. At this pace I wasn’t going to able to get very far today….. One thing I will say about the greenway is that you can run almost the entire trail but it is extremely technical in sections! Having ran the Presidentials here in NH a few times in the last few years, I would equate this trail right up there with that one!

More to come…

-Chad Denning

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