Friday, I skipped out of work a little early to run 13 miles on the Arcadia Trail with Rusty and my friend Ian. It was 25F and icy. The trail took us 3.5 hours to complete and we finished about 45 min after sunset. While it sounds a bit stupid, we didn’t have a choice; we are in the Border Patrol Challenge and had to get it done.
The Border Patrol Challenge is an annual running challenge that highlights various trails along the CT/RI state line. The BPC began on the Winter Solstice (Thursday, December 21 2023 at 10:27 PM EST) and ends on the Spring Equinox (Tuesday, March 19 at 11:06 PM EST). There are 20 total trails range from 1.9 miles to 26.5 miles. The total of all 20 trails is about 164 miles and 99 people signed up this year.
The way it works is, you download the gpx file for the route and go run the designated courses whenever you want within the 3 month Winter season. Once complete, you upload a link to your own file (Garmin, Strava, etc.) and your time gets ranked amongst those who have completed the course. Each course has a technical difficulty rating that combines with the distance to create an overall multiple. Using some hidden math formulas, points accumulate for each runner as they complete my courses. But the rankings are constantly changing as more people complete the courses.
I participated last year, however, I got sick multiple times and wasn’t able to make as much progress as I hoped. I love this challenge because it pushes me to try a different local trails I probably wouldn’t otherwise experience. It also creates motivation to push myself through the winter season.
My goal for this year is to complete all 20 courses; so far I have made it through 10 of them in the first month, so I’m definitely on track. The fact that days are getting longer helps. The warmer temperatures that are coming again this week are also beneficial. Considering that I was coming off no running as my ribs healed, I have been very pleased with my progress so far and I have laid out some running goals for 2024:
- Complete all 20 Border Patrol Challenge Trails
- Complete the Traprock 50k trail race in April
- Run at least 1000 miles in 2024
- Run the Twisted Branch 100k in August
Rusty loves to run with me and has completed all 10 of the trails so far. The 3.5 hours on snow and ice did a number of his paws, so he is going to be limited to shorter runs whenever we have the ground covered. If everything thaws, he can probably do all but the 26 miler. Here is a photo from another trail we recently completed that passes by this marker at the corner of MA, RI, and CT.