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The 32nd Tradition Run
January 21, 2001
Meriden, Connecticut USA

The Conditions Would Be Perfect

A half foot of snow fell overnight. The temperature would hover around freezing and it was still snowing when the gun went off. Welcome to The Tradition Run 2001.

The Tradition Run is all about dealing with the elements, the mountain and your own willpower. This year it took conviction just to get to the starting line. The highways had received a light scraping by state plows and were barely passable.

There were doubts that the run would take place "officially", but those of us with Tradition Run experience know that people will be running no matter what.

A view of Route 691 leading to East Peak and Castle Craig race morning.

The starting line in Hubbard Park.


Survival Of The Fittest


The first incline.

One year when it was 60 degrees and sunny 300 people ran this event. This year? 49. And these 49 are genuinely happy to be here, on this day, following in Bernie Jurale's footsteps. Bernie began the tradition of conquering the mountain at age seventy when he ran up it on his birthday.

He wanted to demonstrate that you could achieve fitness at any age and this race is his legacy.


A Cold Wind Will Blow


The first mile of the run is an undulating stretch of road that traces the edge of a frozen reservoir. There is no protection from the chill wind blowing off that sheet of ice. Hey, at least it's pretty flat...

A glance to the left offers a glimpse of Castle Craig, the stone tower at the top of East Peak and the finish line.


So When Does The Hill Start?

The first half of this 3.1 mile run is really just a warm up for the the true Tradition Run experience. You've had a chance to chat with your fellow runners about what a swell job the Parks Department did with the plowing, about how many times you've run this before...But it will soon be time to get down to business. Rumour has it there was an ice storm at the top a few days ago...


One last blast of wind as you cross the dam and then the fun begins
.


Relentless

The hill can be described in one word. Relentless. You round a bend and it begins, subtly, insidiously. You should have done more hill work. You will gain 500 feet in elevation over the next mile. That is fifty stories.

If anything this race is a test. It is pass/fail. If you walk on this hill you have failed in a small way. Yes you still deserve all honor and credit for making it to the top but if you have not run the whole way the mountain beat you.


The Wall


Confronting the wall.

Click for large image

Just when you thought it was safe to look up, just when it seems the hill has crested, this course has one more surprise in store. You make a slight turn to the left, catch your breath on a little downhill stretch and then you see it. The Wall.

A final insult, the wall is the most severe grade you will face on this run. Slippery packed snow makes you hunt for traction and you have to shift to your lowest gear. Nestled between boulders and rock, the wall is a short, steep grind.


A Sparkling Finish

An ice-coated landscape greets the runners finishing in the shadow of Castle Craig.

The reward for making it to the top is a view that extends to Long Island Sound...And a 3.1 mile run back down the mountain.

All finishers receive a commemorative patch. This year it celebrated the fact that Castle Craig has now been perched on East Peak in Meriden for 100 years.

Info on the next
Tradition Run -
Be there!

The 2002
Tradition Run

The 2004
Tradition Run

The 2005
Tradition Run

The 2006
Tradition Run

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