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Competitors Conquer Quarry Trails

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photo by Barb Flint
Ben Taska, won the Barre Heritage 5k Trail Race for the second consecutive year. Taska conquered the rigorous course in 20:33.

WEBSTERVILLE ̶ A record field of 96 runners and walkers turned out for the Barre Heritage Trail Race on July 29. Held at the Millstone Trails, the 5k course looped through the abandoned granite quarries of the Barre Town Forest.

For Ben Taska, formerly from Craftsbury and Woodbury, the trail race was close to home. He and his wife Sarah bought a house in Barre in 2021. Sarah and their two-year-old daughter Hazel cheered Ben on at Saturday’s race.

Taska, 34, runs regularly on the Millstone Trails. In May, he won the Barre Town Spring Run. Last year, he placed first in the Barre Heritage Trail Race.

A newcomer from Fairfax, Sebastian McCabe, came ready to take on Taska. McCabe, 23, went out fast. He opened up an early lead going up the first hill and held on through the flat section of trail along the old railroad bed.

photo by Barb Flint
Mack Gardner-Morse, from Calais, was the top 5k finisher from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette.

Taska stealthily closed the gap as they headed up the next long hill. He surged passed McCabe on a sharp rise in the course. Not looking back, Taska danced through the technical single-track section, leaped over a few muddy areas, and flew down the crushed granite path to the finish.

Taska’s winning time was 20:33, close to his 20:30 effort last year. McCabe earned runner-up honors, finishing in 20:55. Weather conditions were similar to last year’s race, with temperatures in the low 70s.

Addie Hedges, 20, from Montpelier, won the women’s division in 26:25. Hedges placed 11th overall. Freya Abi, 13, from Corinth was the second fastest female, finishing in 29:22.

Mack Gardner-Morse, 62, from Calais, was the top finisher from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. Gardner-Morse placed ninth overall, in 26:10. His younger brother, Shawn Gardner, 60, edged out Mack for the M60-69 age group win. Gardner, from Dallas, placed seventh overall in 24:32. He and his wife spend part of their summer in Calais.

photo by Barb Flint
Donna Smyers, from Adamant, was the fastest female 5k finisher from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette.

Donna Smyers, 65, from Adamant, was the top woman to finish from towns covered by the Gazette. Smyers won the F60-69 age group. She placed 24th overall, in 31:17. Smyers improved on her 31:49 finish at last year’s race.

Tim Hogeboom, 72, from Walden, notched another win in the M70-79 age group. Hogeboom placed 25th overall, in 31:23, six seconds behind Smyers.

Brian Lapierre, 64, of Plainfield, placed third in the M50-59 division. His time was 33:14. Plainfield ultramarathoner April Farnham, 56, captured third place in the F50-59 division. Her time was 33:18.

Matthew Goodrich, 40, from Cabot, placed third in the M40-49 age group with a time of 35:28. Laura Lapierre, 40, from Plainfield, was fourth for the F40-49 age group. Her time was 37:56.

Sarah Knutson, 61, from Plainfield, won the nonbinary division in 38:01. Marshfield runner Manny Sainz, 67, ran in his second race since recovering from an injury. He finished in 36:59. Lisa McCarthy, 47, from Adamant, rounded out the finishers from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. Her time was 54:25.

The Barre Heritage 5k Trail Race was sponsored by the Rehab Gym in Barre. Through the sponsorship, volunteer race director Jackie Jancaitis purchased gift certificates supporting several Barre small businesses that were damaged during the July flooding. Age group winners and raffle winners enjoyed their pick of prizes following the race.

photo by Barb Flint
Sarah Knutson, from Plainfield, won the nonbinary division at Saturday’s Barre Heritage 5k Trail Race.

Bear Crawl 5k Kicks Off Danville Fair

DANVILLE — The Danville Bear Crawl 5k Fun Run is slated for Saturday, August 5, at 9:30 a.m. This is a family-friendly fun run-walk to raise money for the Chamber and other local Danville organizations. Prizes will be awarded to winners in each age group.

The untimed race starts and finishes at the Danville Green. The course heads down Peacham Road, west on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to the turn-around point, east to Brainerd Road, then north on Brainerd Road back to the finish.

All ages are welcome to walk-run-ride in stroller during the 5K. Service dogs only. The entry fee is $10 per person, with ages 13 and under free. The 5k race kicks off the annual Danville Fair. The fun run will be followed by a parade at 10:30 a.m., with games, music, food, and activities on the Green through 10 p.m. Visit danvillevtchamber.org for more information.