Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Epic North Shore Trail Run Gloucester to Beverly

An idea is born.....

I could not wait to show Todd Callaghan the trails that surrounded Beverly as soon as he moved here a year ago. Since I gave him a tour, he scoured more trails and researched a plan suggesting a run from his house to the Cape Ann Brewery via the trail network that parallels along Rt. 128. A run from Beverly to Gloucester? Why not? Afterall, over 100 mountain bike riders converge every October at the Monserrat Train Station in Beverly to ride the trails commencing at Lobstaland in Gloucester. It is referred to as the Big Kahuna. It is not advertised and is a bit of an underground event that you will not hear about unless you are in the right circles. The vision was to go through the following trail networks: Beverly Commons Trails (Witches Woods), Gordon College Woods in Wenham, Manchester Essex Woods (see Cheever Commons Conservation Area), Red Rocks Conservation in Gloucester, and finally Ravenswood in Gloucester. The "Epic North Shore Trail Run" was founded - a proposed twenty mile run with less than six of them on paved roads. The response to embark on this expedition was solid. Jonathan May, Jeffrey Silveira, Sean McDonough, Matthew Fuhrmeister, and Dan Verrington wasted no time accepting the challenge.

Man's it's cold outside......

It's Sunday morning, maybe 25 degrees outside, and the alarm wakes Krissy up at 5:30. I woke up ten minutes before, gathering inventory for the run. I bagged up two six packs of Gatorade, a few bottles of water, a dozen GU packets, assorted gels, and granola bars that would fuel us just beyond the halfway point in Manchester. I bagged up extra shirts for everyone in case they forgot to bring warm clothes for the finish. Otherwise, I had a Chico bag so that everyone could fill up with whatever they needed at the finish. Krissy followed me to Todd's house just before 6:00. Each of us drove up to Gloucester and dropped off two cars. I left some water in the car and a change of clothes. I took the rest of the inventory and the three of us headed back down Rt. 128 to Todd's with a quick detour dropping off the fluids and fuel in Manchester. It was now 6:45 and we were back at Todd's trying not to wake up his wife and daughter upstairs. Everyone started to arrive along with daylight. Ben Strain ran over from his house. My friend, Patrick Taylor (two time Big Kahuna participant) arrived to bike along. We collected outside for a photo and a few words from Todd on the expectations. We left about ten past seven from the sleepy neighborhood to the Sandy Milligan Woods. 40 minutes later, we navigated through the Beverly Commons where Todd, Dan, and Sean raced in August. While running through the trails, we are reminded how close we are to Rt 128, as we hear cars going about their speed limit to our left. Meanwhile, we respect our pacing knowing we are going to be running for 3.5 to 4 hours. The group exits onto Grapevine Road while seeing two deer. I am in the back of our pack of eight so I don't see them until a minute later crossing the street. Ben had to get home so he took a left down Hull Street and we went right into the Gordon College Campus and toward Manchester's Ancient Line trail which I was looking forward to for the first time. 

Getting your money's worth.....

We reached our at the water stop an hour later. I took two GU's and drank a Gatorade. The group was now more than half way through with our sights now toward the Red Rocks Convervation area. We reached Haskell Pond quicker than I expected and now we are running with Rt. 128 on our right and Haskell Pond to our left. The topic of conversation among the group is hiking up north and bagging 4000 ft peaks. We ran into John Gillis who was hoping would run into us. His family dropped him off about 15 minutes earlier. I was pumped to see him as he gave Todd and I a tour of this very area three weeks ago. He took us up to a scenic vista within Red Rocks overlooking the Gloucester Harbor to the right, Annisquam River in the middle, and Cranes Beach to the left. I wished I had a camera. When we climbed down from there, my hips started to tighten up. John had to turn around and head home to Manchester as we reached Rt. 133 where we had a 1.6 mile stretch of road. We took a right into Fernwood Lake for the blue dot trail which got us into Ravenswood. Ravenswood had some tricky footing but it was worth it as we took the Ledge Hill Trail with another scenic vista of Eastern Point and Gloucester Harbor. Soon we left the trails and onto New Salem Road which dumped us out at Stage Fort Park. We ran through there and wrapped up the Epic run at the Cape Ann Brewery. It was awesome to tackle this run with a great bunch of guys. I know several of us never spent that much time on our feet (running) before. After getting into some warm clothing, we heading in for some beverage and food. I was wiped out and was not looking forward to a plane ride with no leg room to Nashville four hours later. Would I do it again? Of course. I am looking forward to this again in the Spring.

Matt downloaded the GPS data here.
Distance: 22.45 miles
Time: 3:41:53
Pace: 9:53 min/mile

Jeffrey Sliveira, Patrick Taylor, Jim Pawlicki, Matt Fuhrmeister, Todd Callaghan, Jonatahan May, Sean McDonough, Ben Strain, Dan Verrington. Photo by Krissy Kozlosky


  1. Sweet run! Looks like a lot of fun.

  2. Sounds like a great time. It's suprising how far you can go off-road by connecting all the green spaces in the area. So many trails, so little time....

  3. Dan - I hope we can say the same thing 20 years from now...