Despite cold and ice, more than 200 run up to Castle Craig in Meriden 

reporter photo

MERIDEN — Dodging sheets of ice on the road in temperatures hovering around freezing, hundreds ran from Hubbard Park to Castle Craig in the 52nd Bernie Jurale Memorial Tradition Run on Sunday.

Marlborough resident William Sanders completed the 3.1 mile course in 18 minutes and 55 seconds. Regulars said it was one of the fastest times they could recall and it was within a minute of the record time.

The ice on the road up to Castle Craig made a difficult run more challenging. 

''A long, slow steady climb wouldn't be an issue, but you get those rough uphills that are really steep — especially with the ice, you've kind of got to work a little bit to keep yourself stabilized and moving," Sanders said.

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Bourdon said 232 participants were at the starting line at 10:30 a.m. The Tradition Run was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

To avoid having participants gather indoors this year, registration was held outdoors.

The run honors Bernie Jurale, a Platt High School science teacher who ran from Hubbard Park to Castle Craig in 1970 to show his students that he was still a tenacious runner at 70 years old. Jurale died in 1998. 

Participation in the city-organized race is free, though runners are encouraged to bring warm clothing to donate for local homeless shelters.

“It’s not about competition, it’s about fellowship and just doing it,” Bourdon said.

That sense of community is what made Wallingford resident Katie Overstrum excited that a run she grew up participating in had resumed. She finished in 25 minutes and 18 seconds, the fastest time among women participating.

“I enjoy the spirit, because it's not everyday that you run a run and you're talking to everyone on the way up and you're having fun and this guy is wearing chili pepper shorts and people have their ice spikes on," she said. "People are supportive of each other in races in general, but this one in particular is just so spirited and the fact that you run up here and they tell you your time, but there's no real results or anything, I think that's real fun.”


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