Current Training Status: not blogging... running.

Monday, August 11, 2008

M+M Trail Marathon, Aug 22

This is an open invitation to run a marathon distance point-to-point run on the M+M Trail. The run is mapped below on 3925' of climbing over 26.25 miles. It is most likely a bit longer and taller than that, there is the Westfield River to cross, and lots and lots of rocks. We'll run across the river at mile 6. My time expectations are to take it slow on the climbs and try to finish in 6 1/2 - 7 hours.

Rising Corner to Westfield River via Provin Mtn.
The M+M begins on the CT/MA state line, midway along Rising Corner Road in Southwick, MA. It crosses a field on a farm road, crosses a marsh on a raised walkway, and follows mixed singletrack / ATV up the ridgeline. Cross a cleared utility corridor at mile 1. Appoaching Route 57, watch the white blazes closely. There is an archery range with many cross trails, and the M+M will actually cross a residential backyard and driveway before reaching the road.
Bear left toward the main road, boulders line the entrance to a quarry where the M+M continues. The quarry gate marks mile 2. After a long rolling climb, the trail emerges on an esposed ridge before the summit and Channel 22 transmitter towers. The trail briefly follows the access road before leaving to the left, for rocky singletrack. The trail emerges from the woods on an ATV trail into a field below the Kelly Hill Reservoir. Follow the worn path and sparse blazes, keeping the retaining wall of loose rocks on your right. After re-entering the woods, a brief uphill on a stone stairway marks mile 5. The trail emerges into a junction of various cleared utility corridors and ATV trails. Follow the utility corridor to the left briefly, white blazes will take you back into the woods after 50 yards or so. Soon the trail crosses Feeding Hills Road.
Blazes along the ridgelline will lead down to the banks of the Westfield River. There is an old wooden box for a hiker's log, mounted on a tree before the river crossing. A tree with a white blaze is visible across the river. Still waters run deep.

Westfield River to Bush Notch, between the Lane Quarry and Bear Hole Reservoir
The possibilities for trail description are amazing. The Google 'Street View' function of their map service actually makes it possilble to see all the trailheads, where they leave the road. So, I've described the last section in detail. This section is riddled with details. Basically, the M+M trail here is an overgrown rabbit run through a briar patch reached by a stretch I like to call 'Dagobah'. It is blazed well, and you will stagger along from blaze to blaze as you bypass several much more runnable ATV trails. Do not run where you can't see the footing, sharp sticks can penetrate amazingly deep into your calf.

Bush Notch to Route 202 via East Mtn. Ridgeline
Spectacular views.

Route 202 to 141 via East Mountain Ridgeline and Cherry Street WMA
Sharp rocks, and lots and lots of blow-downs. 

Route 141 to Oxbow via Mt. Tom Escarpment
September 14th, I'm plannig to run the Pisgah Mtn. 50k. This M+M run would be my only marathon distance run before that Ultra. The terrain gets very slow and challenging, so there is no pressure to run fast. 15:00 average pace is reasonable, 13:00 with inspiration on the downhills. Current plans are to head out early Friday morning, August 22nd. Please post a comment or e.mail if interested or if you have any questions!

1 comment:

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