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The 48th Tradition Run
January 15, 2017
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...


The Beginning

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.


An Un-Race

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."

Record-Journal
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."

Record-Journal
January 26, 2014


We Will Not Be Denied 

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 15th 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!


Directions

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.

Follow the 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 Building.

The parking area on Google Maps

 

The 2006 Tradition Run - A Wind Chilled Hill!

The 2005 Tradition Run - Late but Great!

The 2004 Tradition Run - A Whiteout!

The 2002
Tradition Run -
Mild but wild!

The 2001
Tradition Run -
A look back at a classic!

 

 

Check the weather for
the race!

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