Christy Boris completes Ghost Train trail race ultramarathon
Can you imagine someone running 100 miles? Can you imagine someone wanting to run 100 miles? I can’t. (For some of us, 100 miles is a long drive.) But running in a 100 mile race was a goal Christy Boris of Templeton set for herself… a very tough challenge for a 52-year-old woman… but SHE DID IT! Absolutely amazing!
We’ve all heard of a marathon race, especially the Boston Marathon which takes place on Patriot’s Day in April, and we’re very impressed with those hardy souls who run that 26.2 mile race. But, when we heard Christy Boris talk about getting ready to run in a 100-mile ultramarathon race that had to be run in 30 hours, which meant running all day, all night and part of the next day, we could hardly believe our ears. We decided right away that we wanted to go watch — the daytime portion.
It took place October 15 and 16 on an old railroad track that connects Brookline and Milford, New Hampshire.
Brookline’s Buddy Dougherty told us, “Ice built this railroad. Ice? He went on to explain, “The clean water of Lake Potanipo produced high quality ice and a railroad was built to transport it to Boston. When refrigeration was developed in the 1930s, ice was no longer needed and the railroad went out of business. missed the sound of the train, some said they still sometimes hear its whistle at night, and it became the ghost train.
After:Local view: Meeting with Andrii from Ukraine
The tracks were removed in the 1940’s to be used as scrap metal for the WWII war effort and the beautiful wooded area next to the trail began to expand over the track bed. It looked like the historic railway was going to disappear completely until Conservation Commissioner Dougherty came up with the idea in 2008 of a way to save it…turn the railway bed into a running path, a place to host a growing sport that people pay to participate in and that could provide funds to maintain the trail.
Ghost Trail Trail Race
The Brookline and Milford Conservation Commissions met to plan the event, which began with a 15-mile run, 7 1/2 miles each way. It was well received and three years later the innovative committee decided to organize a 100 mile ultramarathon and chose an interesting title that reflected its historic past: the Ghost Train Trail Race.
Only 18 participated in the first event, which now has 400 people. This year, all tickets were sold out within two hours of their availability on February 22, and 185 runners were on a waiting list hoping for cancellations. Runners have registered in many states, even Puerto Rico. Christy was quick to sign up.
Preparing for the race had been his focus for several years. She ran her first race on the Ghost Train Trail in 2012 and completed 30 miles. Every year since, except the Covid years when the race was canceled, it has progressed. In 2016, she covered 75 miles.
Christy has great determination and has not given up. She bought a book by Bryon Powell with a guide to running ultramarathons, and she started her plan last winter and followed it religiously – she ran five times a week, sometimes 20 miles and one race was of 45 miles.
“Running is relaxing. It’s peaceful,” she said. “I run in the woods, and there’s never a bad day in the woods.”
While preparing her body, she was also preparing her mind. A winner from a previous year told us, “A person whose mind is trained for the task has a better chance of finishing.
Preparation for the race is essential
Christy has carefully thought of every detail – good socks, an extra pair of trainers, light clothes for the day, warmer clothes for the night, a good headlamp, lots of snacks high in carbohydrates and also some with sugar and salt, lots of water.
“It was a running picnic. I carried food and water in a backpack and ate and drank while running, just a small amount at a time,” she said. “I only stopped to use the bathroom and pick up supplies.”
Christy called the race “a team effort”. Her husband Mike played a big role in her success.
“He trained with me. He rode his bike next to me every time I went for a race and during the race he prepared my backpack for the next segment of my race. He drove the car in back and forth for 7 1/2 miles between the two check-in stations, removed the pack from my back and handed me a new filled one for the return trip.” Mike did this for 25 hours. He is a devoted husband!
She had five other important people on her team – the point guards. They were friends running with her. She ran the first 30 miles alone, then a pacer joined her for a 15-mile segment.
“They were encouraging, we had a great conversation, they reminded me to eat and drink,” Christy said. “It was especially helpful to have someone with me at night.”
The race started at 9 a.m. Saturday. Of the 400 who started, 49 finished. Christy finished in 25 hours, 39 minutes and 29 seconds. She achieved her dream, and beyond that, she came first in her age bracket of 50-59.
Her husband Mike said, “You can’t imagine how proud I am.”
Carole Gariepy is a Phillipston resident and author of “Dragging Gerry around the World” and “Why Go There?”