FKT: Wayne Ball, John Torrone, Danny Hartman - New England Trail (CT, MA) - 2021-05-16

Route variation
Massachusetts Only
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 11h 49m 57s

On Saturday May 15th, 2021, a group of five runners (Wayne Ball, Danny Hartman, John Torrone, Andrew Woodbury & James Burke) set off to run the Massachusetts section of the New England Trail (NET), this is from the MA/CT Border to the NH Border. The group met up at Rising Corner in Southwick, MA and began a short walk south to the official MA/CT border marker & just like that they were off at 6:08am. Right from the start, they were joined by various pacers and friends cheering them on. Their support crew was able to leap-frog them at various internals to provide much needed food, water and morale support.

The weather was quite warm for mid-May (approximately 78 degrees Fahrenheit and full sun), the group dealt with the weather conditions as best as possible by hydrating early and often. Unfortunately, one runner (James) got hit hard by dehydration and the heat; he had to stop at approximately mile 26 (at the Oxbow Marina). The crew took care of James & the remaining four runners continued to push on.

This run is no joke with the terrain, elevation and the days unrelenting warm weather/lack of cloud cover. From an elevation perspective it packs a one-two punch with the Mount Tom Ridge and Seven Sisters being back-to-back. After you descend Bare Mountain to reach the Notch Visitor Center you are dealt a few more blows, one being Mount Norwottuck through the Horse Caves and the second being Long Mountain. Finally, there is a bit of elevation/terrain reprieve as you make your way to the Bay Road area in Belchertown.

As the hours passed the runners remained cheery & enjoyed ticking off miles one-by-one. Unfortunately, around mile 55, Andrew was having some stomach GI issues and had to call his day there. Again, the amazing support crew took care of Andy & tended to him.

John, Wayne & Danny pushed on & thankfully the night hours were arriving so they could enjoy the cooler temps rolling in. They were lucky to be joined during the night by a few different pacers which helped them pass the time. The runners were excited to start seeing first light roll in around 5am. They began to become rejuvenated with the new dawn and the new day.

Wayne, Danny & John were quite excited to see their friends Andy & Jim again at mile 73 (approximately) - they were both able to bounce back and re-join the group all the way to the finish. As the day went on, the temps began to rise again and the water consumption rose too. However, the runners remained positive, tended to their nutritional needs, fixed their feet and yet again pushed on. Around mile 88, the runners felt they were dealt yet another sucker punch. They had to climb Little Mount Grace and Mount Grace. The increased elevation in these late miles, the sun baked climbing and bug ridden air definitely zapped a bit of their energy but they had no choice but being so close to finishing, they had no choice but to keep moving forward.

With the warm temps, the support crew was able to check in on the runners on a more frequent basis and ensure their fluids were topped off. Although they were still 10 miles out from the finish, the runners could start to breath a small sigh of relief knowing that they were so close to the finish. Mile by mile their energy levels increased as well as the pain in their feet and legs BUT as the old saying goes "the hay was in the barn". Finally, met by their crew and some family members all the runners arrived at the NH Border at 5:57pm. The total adventure took Danny, John and Wayne 35 hours 49 minutes and 57 seconds and total elevation gain was 20,000+. Jim was able to end his weekend of running with 50+ miles and Andy was able to log 80+ miles.

There are so many people to thank who made this happen, the support crew, the pacers and the family and friends who cheered us on in-person, from Facebook or via text messages throughout the day. Truly, the love was being felt by us all.