The Soapstone Mountain Trail Races are popular, long-standing races in North Central Connecticut. 2020 marks the 36th year for the Soapstone events.
There are two races on event day: a 24k (approx. 14.5 miles) and the Jerry Stage 6k "Sampler". This is in honor of the many years of love, sweat and tears that Jerry Stage put into these races. Both races run through the extremely beautiful and scenic area around Soapstone Mountain, Shenipsit Forest State Park. Participants in the 24k race climb to the peak of Soapstone Mountain. The races are put on every year by the Shenipsit Striders, a 45 year old trail running club in north-central Connecticut.
The 24k and then 6k are both mass start. For the 24k awards go to the top male and female finisher as well as the top finishers in each age catagory; Under 40, 40 - 49, 50 - 59 and 60+. Awards go to the top overall male and female for the 6k Sampler as well as first place in 0-12, 13-18, 19-29, 30-29, 30-49, 50-59 and 60+. Everyone gets the satisfaction of completing the course plus an excellent vegetarian chili feast..
Walkers are welcome in the Sampler.
There are cutoff times in the 24K for the safety of all. The cut off is 2.5 hours at Aid Station 2 (~8 miles) and 3.5 hours at Aid Station 3 (~12.5 miles). Please be sure to come fit and ready to run.
The first 2.5 miles of the 24k and the 6k are the same. The course travels along a slightly downhill dirt road before veering right onto an ATV trail. Passing a pond onto a single track trail, turns left onto a dirt road and right back into single track. Soon coming out onto dirt road where you take a right to cross the paved road (Gulf Rd). After traversing the parking lot, the trail makes another sharp right where participants are challenged with the first difficult climb - a very steep 1/2 mile trail named "Killer Hill". Once at the top of the hill, runners travel by the Soapstone Mountain observation tower and then run down a steep descent. Following the downhill, the trail becomes a series of switchbacks and rollers through the woods - though it's challenging, the rollers aren't steep enough to dramatically alter one's overall pace. There are brook crossings and a muddy stream descent. There are lots of rocks and roots to twist ankles on. Watch your footing! There are also many crisscrossing trails, so keep your eyes on the white dots and flagging. Towards the latter half of the race, the course has one more significant climb up a single track, followed by a steep descent on a dirt trail continuing on dirt road and finishing on single track to end the race in a grassy field surrounded by family and friends. The entire course is marked with painted white dots on rocks and trees. In areas where the trail overlaps, splits or is tricky there will be additional flagging.
Jerry Stage 6k "SAMPLER" Course
This race starts on the same dirt road as the 24k, turns right onto single track within a 1/2 mile and then meanders through thick forest before turning left on the same dirt road at the 24K and right back onto single track trail, then left onto more dirt road, a right hand turn into the woods and finishing on grassy field. The course is well marked wirh flagging and signs.
Aid stations will provide Tailwind Hydration and some solid food.
Soapstone Mountain 24k is part of the Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series as well as the Grand Tree Trail Running Series. See blueblazedtrailrunningseries.org and runwmac.com for more information.
The race venue is very family friendly. There are horses to view, trails to hike and open fields to run in. Following the race is a fabulous vegetarian meal for all runners and volunteers (family and friends can eat for a donation of $5 per person). Bring a lawn chair and stay the day. We encourage you to also bring your own bowl, spoon and cup to cut down on waste and help the environment. .
The 24k start is at 9am. The Jerry Stage 6k starts at 9:15am. A FREE kids race begins at 12 noon.
There is race day entry with an increase in price to $30 for the 24k and $15 for the 6k. Day-of registration and bib pickup begins at 7:45am.
It is best to hang out at the finish line where Sampler runners will be crossing the line in the first hour and the 24k runners will appear around 11am. It you want to see the 24k competitors running, the best place to watch is at Gulf Road parking lot or on top of Soapstone Mountain at the fire tower. You can drive or hike to the top of Soapstone. Runners cross over the top on the way out and near to top on the way back. If you would like to see your runner out on the course, volunteering at an aid station, is a great way to do it. Contact Dan (RD) if you would like to volunteer or you have a friend that would. Volunteers get a free meal.
Local time: 2:33 PM