After serving as the race director of the Solstice Sprint 5K for the past seven years and the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon for the past six years, I was given the opportunity to race direct the Hogsback Half Marathon.  The Hogsback Half Marathon was founded in 2001 and has been under the custodianship of the Hartford Track Club since 2009.  Lee and Linda Bradley did a great job growing and caring for the race in 2011 and I was given the opportunity to race direct in 2012.  Keeping in line with the work Lee and Linda did last year, my goal is to continue to grow the race and improve on the amenities for the runners.  The race’s biggest asset is the course (USATF Course #CT01016DR), which is gorgeous.  The course starts on top of the Goodwin Dam, winds along the Still River and then along the banks of the West Branch of the Farmington River (a National Wild and Scenic River) for eight miles before returning to the Goodwin Dam and finishing on top of the dam. 

Here’s a pictorial mile-by-mile and turn-by-turn of the course:

Registration Area / Race Start

Registration and packet pick up takes place at Goodwin Dam in Colebrook, Connecticut.   The Dam is a 135-foot-high structure that holds back the West Branch Reservoir.  Packet pickup and the race start need to be be accessed from Eno Hill Road and the gate at the intersection of Durst and Hogback Road will be closed.

Here’s the view of the reservoir from the finish line / packet pick-up area.

From the registration area, there’s a short walk uphill to the race start.  While there’s is a little hill to climb to get to the race start, runners don’t have to climb the hill again.

Here’s the actual race start line (where I’m standing).  Immediately after the start there is a short climb to the course’s elevation highpoint (810 feet).

At about the .5 mile mark, the course makes a left hand turn onto Eno Hill Road.  From the turn onto Eno Hill Road until about the 3 mile mark the course is all downhill, making for a very fast first 3 miles.

Mile 1 is located on Eno Hill Road. This a very lightly traveled road.  You should expect little to no traffic on the road on race morning.

At about the 1.5 mile mark the course takes a left onto Robertsville Road in Riverton.  Once you turn onto Robertsville Road, you’ll be running along the Still River (and can see it by looking to your right as you run down the road).

Mile 2 is on Robertsville Road.  The road is newly paved and very lightly traveled.  Once again, you should expect little to no traffic on the road.

At about the 2.7 mile mark, you’ll make a right and cross a bridge over the Still River. 

Here’s the bridge over the Still River.

You’ll then turn make a quick left across Route 20 onto West River Road.  The course runs along West River Road for the next 3.5 miles.

Mile 3 is on West River Road.  At this point you are running along the banks of the West Branch of the Farmington River. If you look to your left you can see the river, if you look to your right you’ll be able to see the American Legion State Forest and several of the trails that run through the forest.  From Mile 3 until Mile 12 the course is relatively flat with a few occasional rollers.

Mile 4 is on West River Road.  In the picture you can see the West Branch of the Farmington River off to the left.

Mile 5.  Again on West River Road. You can see one of the bumps in the road along the West Branch of the Farmington River in this photo. 

Mile 6.  Final mile marker on West River Road. 

At about 6.4 miles, the course takes a left and crosses the West Branch of the Farmington River.  The bridge is part of a Connecticut scenic road. 

Immediately after crossing the bridge, the course takes a left onto East River Road.  You’ll now run for about 3.5 miles along the West Branch of the Farmington River on East River Road.

Mile 7 on East River Road.  What you can’t see in the photo is that there are goats on right hand side of the road.  They were bleating at me as I was taking the Mile 7 picture.  Immediately after Mile 7, you’ll see Squires Tavern on your right. 

Mile 8 on East River Road.   Between miles 7 and 8 you will pass by the entrance to People’s Forest State Park.  There are flush toilets available at People’s Forest State Park if needed.

Mile 9.  Still on East River Road.  On this section of the road you can look to your left and see the West Branch of the Farmington River. 

Mile 10.  Final mile marker on East River Road (and location of the 5th water stop on the course).  All of East River Road is newly paved making for very smooth running.

At about the 10.5 mile mark, the course heads straight onto Route 20 and continues to follow the river.

Mile 11 on Route 20.  This road is a little busier that East and West River Roads but there is a nice shoulder to run on.  At about 11.6 miles, the course bears left onto Hogback Road (sorry — no pictures of this turn). 

Mile 12 is on Hogback Road.  At this point, the course starts to climb back towards to Goodwin Dam.

At about about the 12.8 mile mark, the course turn right onto Durst Road and into the MDC facility.

Here’s a picture of the gate runners will go through to access the dam.

For the final .3 of the race runners will run on top of the Goodwin Dam.

Views from the top of the Goodwin Dam.

Mile 13 is on top of the Goodwin Dam right where the stone wall begins. 

The finish line is at the end of the stone wall in the picture below (before the road heads up again). 

Here are the view from the finish line.

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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05


Michael Taricani · August 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Kelly….This is a great overview of the course. I ran it last year on that very humid day but still enjoyed it. I look forward to running the beautiful country roads along the Farmington River again this year. Probably the most unique finish of any race I’ve run being that it ends on top of the dam.

lucky883 · January 31, 2013 at 2:44 am

Its really easy to write when things are going well.Sharing successes is fun.Its a lot harder to write when things aren’t going well.Sharing failures and short comings doesn’t have quite the same appeal.
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