The 50th Tradition Run
January 20, 2019
Meriden, Connecticut USA
|What would it take to get
you outdoors on a cold January morning, running 3.1 miles on an icy, wind-swept
road, leaning into a hill that climbs out of sight? No spectators,
no split-times, and no awards.
For a few hundred
runners each winter, it's the camaraderie of sharing a frosty
challenge, a small test of backbone, courage and good sense.
It's the Tradition Run...
In 1970 Bernie Jurale celebrated
his 70th birthday by running up to the radio towers at the
summit of West Peak in Meriden, Connecticut USA. A teacher
at a local high school, Jurale was joined in the following
years by some of his students. Bernie made his last assault
of the mountain in 1979 at age 79, but his spirit and determination
have been carried forward by area runners, creating a tradition
that has lasted over 40 years.
Click here for a dramatic view from the course.
Here's a graph of the course elevation changes courtesy of Peter W. King. He recorded the data on his GPS watch as he ran in 2012. Click it for a large image.
This is an un-race. It's not
a fun-run because it's no fun, and it's not a race because
times are not recorded and the results are listed
alphabetically. This run does not cater to the fair weather
jogger or the PR seeker. There is no first prize.
The prevailing attitude of
the day is "snow and ice are nice" and you will only hear complaints from the runners if the sun is out and the road is dry.
The spirit of the Tradition run was captured by this newspaper quote:
"Race officials said they never confirmed the name of the man who finished first because he ran back down the hill and left the park before they could speak to him."
January 27, 2013
In 2014 a local reporter was actually able to catch up with the first of 240 runners to crest the hill:
"After taking a few deep breaths and getting a lot of high-fives, Daniel Kornacki said he couldn't even feel his face."
January 26, 2014
We Will Not
One of the most memorable
moments in the run's history occurred in 1983 when the
run had been "officially" postponed. A storm had
deposited ten inches of snow on the mountain.
Two dozen runners refused
to be denied, and began the 3.1 mile trek through virgin snow.
In the last mile where the climb is steepest, runners
desperate for solid footing followed snow-mobile tracks to
the summit. As the runners reached the top, they formed
a receiving line to greet the succeeding finishers with
handshakes and high-fives.
Joining The Fun
This year the Tradition Run
will take place on Sunday, January 20th at 10:30 A.M. Walkers start at 10:00 A.M. There
is no charge to participate. Registration begins at
9:30 A.M. at the Maintenance Facility in Hubbard Park. The
run is sponsored by the City of Meriden
and the Record-Journal newspaper.
It starts at the old zoo area,
running 3.1 miles to Castle Craig. There is a 700 foot
elevation gain, 500 feet in the last mile. There
will be water at the top, and a van to bring you back
down, but the hardcore runners run down the mountain to make
it 6.2 miles for the day. There are pre/post run refreshments.
Call Meriden Park & Rec at 203-630-4259 with all questions!
You get to Hubbard
Park by way of Route 691 which links I-91 and I-84 in Meriden, CT.
You take the West Main Street/Route 66 exit off of 691 and
turn towards downtown Meriden. After approximately 1 mile the entrance
to Hubbard Park will be on your left.
park road around the pond and go straight at the first intersection.
Park in the large parking lot on your left. Walk past the starting
line where the banner is and register in the Maintenance
The parking area on Google Maps
2006 Tradition Run - A Wind Chilled Hill!
2005 Tradition Run - Late but Great!
2004 Tradition Run - A Whiteout!
Mild but wild!
Tradition Run -
A look back at a classic!
the weather for