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The 13th annual Groton Town Forest Trail Races will take place on Sunday, Oct. 24. There will be a 9.5-mile race and a 3.4-mile race. The goal of these races is to increase knowledge of the town’s recreational trails, to encourage their use, to raise money for trail maintenance throughout Groton, and to promote fitness. The local area’s running club, the Squannacook River Runners, is the sponsor of the races.

The courses are well marked and have no road crossings. They are a combination of narrow dirt roads and winding single-lane trails, with lots of roots, rocks, leaves, uphills and downhills. The 9.5-mile race covers most of the trails within the Groton Town Forest. While the course record is under one hour, it takes most runners 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the challenging course. For those who would like to explore the Town Forest in a less-grueling way, a 3.4-mile race is available. It shares the last few miles of the 9.5-mile course (and some of the steepest hills), and provides some interesting inside views of kettle holes left by glaciers that once sat atop the Town Forest. Walkers are also encouraged to participate in the 3.4-mile race.

Parking will be available around the Senior Center, which is the site for registration. Overflow parking will be at the West Groton Garage of the Highway Department. The races will begin on “Newell’s Crossing” on the south side of West Main Street (Route 225) across from the driveway to the Groton Senior Center (163 West Main St.) in West Groton. The 9.5-mile race will begin at 12:30 p.m. and the 3.4-mile race will begin at 12:40 p.m.

The entry fee is $15 before Oct.17 and $20 after that date, including the day of the race. The maximum combined entry fee for a family (mail-in registrations only) is $35 before Oct. 17 and $45 afterwards. Please note that entry fees are nontransferable and nonrefundable. This year, all runners will receive a forest green long-sleeved T-shirt and light refreshments will be provided in the Senior Center. Professional photographers from Sportography will also be on the courses to capture participants mid-stride.

Application forms are available at Moison’s Ace Hardware and can also be obtained from the Groton Town Forest Trail Races website at www.GrotonTFTR.freeservers.com. The website also contains photos, course records, a link to convenient online registration and other information about the races. The website can also be accessed through a link on CoolRunning.

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