by Patrice French

The mountain goat series is a lot like labor pains. At the time you think, never again. After the race, the euphoria sets in and you can’t wait for the next challenge.

There are a total of 8races and you have to complete 6 of them to be an official “mountain goat”. This honor entitles you to a Tshirt and a free bypass to the 2017 Mt Washington run.

The races are as follows:

  1. Sleepy Hollow VT May 15: 6.4 miles of total trails consisting of single track, open field and mud. It is very challenging but fun and really makes you realize since it is held in May how much training there is to do.
  2. Wachusett: May 28th: This starts on the mountain road to the summit so on pavement about 3miles and you can stop here or do a 10k total distance which descends on trail and pavement to the base of the mountain. Easier than Sleepy Hollow but the ascent can be tough. Some people also have quads like speed skaters and will go buzzing by you like they are on a suicide mission. Do not let them deter you, they are genetic freaks of nature.
  3. Pack Monadnock June 5th: 10miles of pavement and rolling hills ending in the Park with an incline too steep to run but typically an enjoyable run if you have got the distance down. This can also be run as a relay but not sure how that works for points.
  4. Ascutney June (date to be announced): 4miles to the summit on paved road. Not hard if you have the hill workouts down. The goal is not to walk or let an 80 year old  man pass you or a very chirpy woman walk by you singing and moving effortlessly. However, it does give you some evil thoughts to think about while your labored breathing propels you up the mountain.
  5.  Loon Mountain July 3rd : Don’t let the scenic views lull you into thinking you are on the set of “The Sound of Music”. This is a brutal 10k trail race that culminates in a 40% incline that will make you wish you were in a field of poppies like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Again watch for the quad crushers go crashing by you on the descents but quite an accomplishment when you are done and a cool bumper sticker to show off on your minivan if you are a middle aged mom.
  6. Cranmore Hill Climb July 10th: this is a trail run about 10k to 13k to be determined that ascends to the top of Cranmore followed by a descent to the bottom but wait, you must repeat this once again. This is usually a hot very hilly climb. If I am running this, do not follow me as I merrily led a group of women who would have PR’d ,down the wrong path. You will rue the day you were born but the post race hydration will go down that much smoother.
  7. Mt Greylock Road Race Sept 4th: This is a paved race to the summit about 8miles slow and steady. Nice to not worry about a twisted ankle and by this time you are in great shape.
  8. Bretton Woods Fell Race Oct 1st: This is one race I have never done.  It consists of a short course which is marked and a longer course which is half marked and half requires navigation on your own. Not sure how I feel about the long course but with my mapping skills I would probably just lag behind someone who appeared to know what they were doing.

As far as training, I would recommend the usual hill repeats ¼ mile sprints and ½ mile repeats and get the base mileage up to about 13miles to feel comfortable.

The people who run are very friendly and no flash or lycra with this crowd. They are in it strictly for fun which I found humbling since these are some great runners. You really get to know a lot of people on the trail and after the race.

I would highly recommend this race series to anyone. Let me know if you have any other questions.