Archives for posts with tag: Cross-Country

I will be missing the running scene of Western Mass. When I moved here 4 years ago, I was truly surprised by the volume of local races and talent present in the Valley. I join SMAC and I met remarkable people both on and out of the road; if I got faster, I know whom to thank.
During the summer, the Valley thrives with running series: the SMAC Race Series and the Northampton XC 5k.

The latter is a fun, local series held every Tuesday at 6:30pm at the Northampton Community Gardens. The route bridges between cross-country and trail: 5k long, it’s not an easy course and it took me a few times to get a handle on it. I learned a lot about racing by running it pretty regularly for the past 3 months: I learn the course and the people running it, when to hold and when to pick the pace.

I’ll be missing this little gem.

XC Runners at Noho XC

the race



The Larch Hill English Style X-C Classic is certainly one of the most atypical race I’ve ever run, and possibly one with the longest name.
I ran it last year as a come-back that wasn’t: I ran the Hot Chocolate after but, had I listened to my body more carefully, I would have taken a break instead of forcing more miles on what became a pretty awful tendinitis and almost a year in the sidelines.
It was a bit a feeling of revenge and a bit the joy of running a race so different from those I usually run that I went to my car on a barely-above freezing Saturday morning and drove to the Bramble Hill Farm. I got there unreasonably early and had the chance to talk with people of the farm, take pictures, and enjoy a jog mostly out of the necessity of warming up myself and my frozen muscles.
After the kids’ fun run, it was the turn of the grown-ups: 3 miles run around the external perimeter of the farm jumping on hay bails and fences, a cross-country style steeplechase. The route was the same as last, what was different were the conditions: the freezing cold temperatures and the snow fall of Thursday and of Saturday night (I am looking outside my window to the brightly colored leaves and to the snow on the ground) made many feel like few days off of Christmas rather than of Halloween. It was a tough run, not only for the freezing air, but mostly for how hard it was to navigate through mud and cold water. And I am using to navigate not by chance: every step was an inch deeper in mud and water; the frozen feet, the uneven terrain, and all the energy lost in the soft ground made for a slower, though tougher race.
It was possibly one of the toughest race I have ever run, and it was a lot of fun! (At home, I did truly and utterly enjoy a hot shower!)

I am still waiting for the official results, but my time should be of 22 minutes and spare; a race run for the experience rather than for the PB. (Here are all the few photos I took before the race.)

[update] The results are finally in: 22:03.

Bramble Hill Farm, Amherst, MA

in italiano …


Despite the rivalry, sometimes fierce and acrimonious, running races are (usually) a clear example of the Olympic Spirit, that is, of the not to win but to take part.
Chariots of Fire can be clearly held responsible for romanticizing the chivalrous spirit of racing, but really I can’t imagine track fans rampaging after a meet, while, on the other hand, I can easily picture soccer fans going berserk for no reasons other than their team lost. (Honestly, I never understood the empathy of losing by proxy.)

I was (and kind of understandably so) stupefied on hearing than, during the World Cross-Country Championships in Punta Umbría last week, two athletes got into a brawl during one of the races:

[…] Kuma of Ethiopia deliberately started elbowing Tsegay and stepping on his shoes from behind, in order to prevent the Eritrean from sprinting to his full capacity. It was at this point when both competitors tripped and fell to the ground, and a infuriated Tsegay rising up to grab Kuma by his right leg and deliver blows to his adversary.

The two athletes were obviously disqualified (even though they did finish the race) and the video of the accident went viral. (Fast-forward to 1:45 for the fight.)

in italiano

As another foot or more of snow is expected to fall over Amherst and the university is closed one more time, the running season is already fully in motion; last weekend saw the best American long-distance runners join in Houston, TX for the US Half-Marathon Championship with Mo Trafeh winning over Ryan Hall by 3 seconds in 1:02:17, and Jennifer Rhines leading in 1:11:14. In Italy the rap’s not much different, as Italian runners gathered in Varese for the Italian Cross-Country Championship.

Following the posts on the 100km in the Namib Desert race I translated from the Italian blog AndòCorri, I’m offering the translation of a post that appeared on Monday.

A caveat: I don’t know how to translate few terms used in the field, and I went for sub-elite for the allievi/allieve category, while translating literally junior/senior maschili/femmili and promesse categories.

Click for more pictures at AndòCorri

in Matteo Vecchia’s words


I decided, literally this morning, to drive myself to South Amherst for a nice little race at the Bramble Hill Farm. My Pilates instructor told me about it few weeks ago, but I was very unsure whether to participate in it; I haven’t run anything since the Chicago Marathon, and even cross-training is lagging behind: I am between a very cautious recovery and applying for jobs.
I am not trained for racing, but this morning, waking up at the bright colors of a New England fall, I felt the lure of running — some call it the running bug, but for me it’s a lure as I’m enviously watching undergrads running through campus.

Post race festivities at the Bramble Hill Farm

I wanted to go more to check the status of my recovery than to race the race. In the last few weeks I had a nagging pain on the Achilles, which is a bit of a concern, but this morning, as I was trying my best to keep pace through the beautiful Bramble Hill Farm property, the tendon didn’t complain a bit and I’m probably ready to slowly resume training — my goal would be to be at or around my base mileage of 50mi/week by the first week of December.
the race after the jump