FKT: Jacques Saarbach - New England Trail (CT, MA) - 2023-06-03

Route variation
Connecticut Only
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 1h 40m 18s

Saying that this trail was at the forefront of my mind in the last months would be an understatement. Having had to postpone toeing the line last year, I was eager to finally run it this year. Most of the races I have run last year have been to prepare for this. Never have I scouted a route as much as I did here, thanks Jamie Miller and Lee Davis for all the training runs on the blue blazed trails. Based on the previous finishing times I had my eyes set on 26-27 h on a good day. Instead, we got epic conditions, from 90+ degrees to a torrential downpour for an hour. This would have been without the support of the Connecticut trail running community and my amazing crew (Stephanie, Tyler and Kevin crewing. Matt, Dan and James pacing)  who kept me cool, fed, hydrated and above all moving the entire time. I started the race at a decent pace in preparation to slow down during the hotter hours of the day, I was up to 40 minutes earlier than my expected splits. Training was paying off. I ran the first 20 miles with Matt, who was running the 100k following the same route but ended about halfway. I was alone after that and met with my crew about every 5-6 miles at road crossings. I really slowed down between noon and 6 pm, when temperature finally started dropping a bit. I picked up my pacer Matt at Edgewood before entering Hubbard park. We made quick work of Hubbard and kept moving at a good clip until the rain started before, we hit the last road section at the end of the Metacomet. Our road run was done in almost ankle-deep puddles on the roadside. Matt followed me through lamentation and until Giuffrida park, where Dan took over and carried me to New Guida’s. Things started to get dark at this point, I was not eating enough and needed caffeine, I was getting cold as soon as I slowed down and started feeling dizzy. After recharging at New Guida’s and picking up James, we left as a team of 3, until route 68. By then I had hit rock bottom and I thought that even reaching 28 h was impossible. I knew running through Trimountain was going to be hard and boy was I right, this stupid rocky downhill was awful at night. We did a much better work of Pistapaug and James really helped me to keep moving. Reaching the Bluff, I knew this was home stretch and a lot more runnable. We picked up the pace helped by sunrise and my rising energy levels. That’s when I realized that my math had been wrong the whole night, 26 h was still manageable. After Broomstick ledges, I told James to lead and keep jogging, we had business to finish. As we progressed on smooth rolling trails, we fell into a rhythm ad kept moving well. Once we hit the roads in Guilford, we managed to pick up the pace even more and make up some additional minutes. This run was really a team effort, and I can’t thank them enough for their help and this unplanned and unexpected result.

I always carried about 40 oz of fluid, as well as gels and baby food. I used poles during the night when legs were getting tired and dropped them after the Bluff.