English and Ruffle Conquer Caspian Challenge

photo by Cathy Irwin
Runners run west on Lakeshore Drive at the start of the Caspian Challenge 5k race on Sunday in Greensboro. Tara Nelson (bib #246), from Glover, finished first in the women’s division with a time of 23:48.

GREENSBORO – Sunday’s 11th Annual Caspian Challenge drew an enthusiastic field of 72 runners and eight walkers. Sponsored by the Greensboro Association, the 5k and 6.8-mile road races kicked off at 8:30 a.m. from the Tolman Corner ball field. Clear skies and pleasantly cool temperatures prevailed.

Maxfield English, from Wolcott, took control of the lake loop race. The Danville cross country coach cruised the rolling course in 40:48 to easily win the men’s division.

Will Sangree earned runner-up honors with a 43:07 finish. Sangree was co-captain of the 2012 Haverford College lacrosse team.

Myles Matteson placed a close third, in 43:43. Craftsbury’s Adrian Owens took fourth place in 47 minutes flat. Carl Sangree crossed the line in 47:09 to round out the top five men.

photo by Liz Steel
Maxfield English (blue shorts, white tank top), from Wolcott, was the fastest runner in Sunday’s Caspian Challenge lake loop race. English cruised the 6.8-mile course in Greensboro in 40:48 for the win.

Kathleen Ruffle, a California ultra-marathoner, finished one second ahead of Carl Sangree. Ruffle, 51, topped the women’s field and placed fourth overall. Her 47:08 effort was the second-fastest women’s division time in the recent history of the lake loop race.

The women’s course record was set on July 27, 2013, by Charlotte Lewis, a summer visitor from Sweden. Lewis, who was then 34, won the race in a blistering time of 42:40. The men’s course record was set by Sam Beech on July 24, 2016. The Dennison University runner’s time was 38:12.

Marc Gilbertson, 53, from Hyde Park, won the out-and-back 5k race in 21:23. Tara Nelson, 48, topped the women’s division. The veteran runner from Glover placed second overall, in 23:48.

Proceeds from this year’s event supported the Lake Protection Fund, which helps to provide milfoil and other invasive species prevention, as well as lake quality monitoring.

courtesy photo
Volunteers hand a cup of water to Chris Steel at the Highland Lodge aid station during Sunday’s Caspian Lake Challenge. Steel went on to complete the lake loop in 1:12:39. The Caspian Challenge raised $1200 to support the Greensboro Association’s Lake Protection Fund.

Correction on Story in Last Week’s Gazette

The story “Caspian Challenge Rooted in History,” published in the July 27 pdf issue of the Hardwick Gazette, contained an error.

The story mentioned that Dave Morse, the Hardwick Gazette’s revered late sports writer, participated in the 1982 Caspian Lake Runaround. While “Dave Morse” is listed in the archived results of the Caspian Lake race, this was a different person than Dave Morse, formerly of the Gazette.

Brendan Buckley caught the error. He noted that Morse was living outside of Vermont in 1982. Dr. Buckley has done extensive research on Morse’s life. He is currently writing a biography about Morse and his sports writing legacy. Morse covered sports for the Gazette from 1995 until his passing in 2015.

photo by Jim Flint
Donna Smyers (pictured at an event last fall) was the top female finisher in the Colchester triathlon on July 31. Smyers used the race as a tune-up for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships scheduled for August 6-7 in Milwaukee. She plans to compete in back-to-back triathlon distances at the national event.

Smyers Wins Storied Triathlon

COLCHESTER – After 36 years of races, the Colchester Triathlon held its finale on July 31. Donna Smyers celebrated 25 years of participating in the event by winning the women’s division. The 64-year-old Adamant physical therapist placed 16th in the field of 180 men and women.

The sprint triathlon included a 500m swim, 12-mile bike, and 2.85-mile run. Smyers completed the swim in 9:52, the bike in 32:52, and the run in 21:29. With transitions, her total time was one hour, seven minutes, and 30 seconds. Her closest competitor in the women’s division, Kari Cuneo, finished 28th overall, in 1:12:18.

“It’s crazy that no young fast women showed up, but I did have a good race,” said Smyers. “Still, there are plenty of young fast women out there who can always beat me on my best day!”

“The swim is usually 1/2 mile. The 500m distance helped my race since swimming is my weakest event. My bike pace has been really good this year. There was fresh pavement on the course which made it faster. I believe that my carbon plate shoes helped by about 10-15 seconds a mile in the run.”

Smyers will travel by train to Milwaukee later this week for the USA National Triathlon Age Group Championships. She is scheduled to compete in the Olympic distance on August 6, and the Sprint distance on August 7. The Olympic triathlon is a 1500m swim, 40k bike, and 10k run. The Sprint triathlon is a 750m swim, 20k bike, and 5k run.

“With the bike compartment on the train, I won’t need to take apart my bike and pack it like I do when I fly,” said Smyers. “That saves at least an hour on each end of the trip each way.”

Hardwick Trails hosts Tuesday Night Race

CRAFTSBURY – The Tuesday Night Trail Series made its annual pilgrimage to Hardwick Trails on July 26. While the venue was different, familiar faces won their divisions.

Ollie Burruss maintained his lead in the men’s division of the 12-week race series with a victory over Hazen Union grad Elijah Lew-Smith. Their 5k times were 22:21 and 24:32.

Susan Dunklee placed third overall, in 25:10. Dunklee continues to top the women’s race series standings with five victories in six outings.

Adrian Owens (25:32) placed fourth in the 5k race. He kept his hold on second place in the men’s division of the race series.

Kaitlynn Miller (25:42) was the second women to finish at Hardwick Trails. She placed fifth in the 18-runner field.

Emma Podolin (25:58) placed a close third in the women’s division. Eric Remick (26:50) placed fourth in the men’s division. Podolin and Remick finished sixth and seventh overall. Rose Modry (28:30) rounded out the top four women.

Kathy Ciarimboly (14:25) and Eve Gordon (18:51) finished first and second in the 3k trail race. Scarlett Podolin (18:52) placed a close third. Ruthie Podolin (18:58) followed in fourth place.

Rachel Deonigi (34:46) and Damian Bolduc (46:38) won the 5k and 10k mountain bike races.

The Trail Race Series continues each Tuesday evening through August 23. Mountain bikers and runners start at 5:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., respectively. For race locations, visit www.craftsbury.com.