Joe English Trail Challenge - Sunday May 6, 2018
Welcome to the 2018 Joe English Challenge!
The Amherst Land Trust invites you to Find Your Inner Wild on a rugged trail course that is not for the faint of heart. For 2018 we will again offer you the option of the 30 kilometer,25 kilometer course, 12.5 kilometer and the 5 kilometer sprint course. This year, all of the events will start simultaneously at 9:00 a.m.
The 5k course is run entirely on Freestyle Farm. The Joe English Challenge events begin in the fields of 300-acre Freestyle Farm, a private equestrian facility. The 30k-25k-12.5k courses loop around the hilltop pond on wide equestrian trails and then descend a short 30% grade and enter the backcountry of the Joe English Reservation. At approximately 6k, the 25k course begins 15k of moderate to steep ascents and descents on mostly single-track trails with multiple stream crossings. At least two ascents are too steep to run. At 15k, the course leaves Joe English Reservation and traverses a challenging 4k-loop on private property on which you will begin the first of a series of rugged climbs back to the Freestyle Farm hilltop. The race ends by rejoining the Freestyle Farm trails and circling the pond where it began. The 30k course consists of the 5k loop followed by the 25k course.
The 12.5 kilometer short course is run on the equestrian trails for the first 2 and last 2 kilometers. After leaving Freestyle Farm the course enter Joe English Reservation and follows the Hammond Brook trail to the Peabody Mill Environmental Center where it ascends Hemlock Trail to the top. The course then picks up the newly named 4 kilometer Denning Loop and returns to Hemlock Trail. There are steep ascents and descents and four stream crossings on the Denning Loop. Hemlock Trail returns runners to Hammond Brook and back to Freestyle Farm and the finish.
The 5 kilometer sprint course presents some of the same terrain and most of the challenges of the longer courses. The first 2+ kilometers of the 5-kilometer sprint course follows the 25-kilometer course loop around the hilltop pond on wide equestrian trails and enters a new single track trail for the next 2 kilometers. There is one steep ascent and descent between 1.2 and 1.7 kilometers. The single-track trail consists of numerous switchbacks, small knolls and hills, boulders and other demanding trail conditions. The final kilometer returns to the equestrian trails with a short segment of single-track trail along the pond.
The 2018 event has a single start time for the 4 distances - 9:00 a.m.
Here is my one warning about running the Joe English Trail Challenge: It is neither intended nor designed to be easy. If you run the 25k prepare for a run that will take as long as a marathon and will be harder on your body. The 12.5k course will generally take as long as a half marathon. The uphills, downhills and turns are relentless. If you are not trained or you try to run beyond your fitness level, the terrain will beat you down. You do not have to be an elite athlete to master this challenge but you do have to be trained and smart about how you approach it.
We will schedule weekend training runs on the trails in Joe English Reservation beginning in February. Join the Joe English Challenge Facebook page to keep informed about the event and watch the JoeEnglish.org web site for training run schedules.
About the Amherst Land Trust Events
The Joe English Challenge consists of spring and fall events: The Joe English Trail Challenge REGISTRATION and the Joe English Twilight Challenge REGISTRATION. Join us for both and help with our land conservation efforts.
Local time: 8:40 AM
The Amherst Land Trust completed construction of Joshua’s Park on Courthouse Road in Amherst in the fall of 2016. This $420,000+ project has created community gardens and an amazing playground for the Town. Details are at JOSHUA’S PARK