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Courtesy photo Runners gather at the starting line.

GROTON – What a beautiful day for the 16th annual Town Forest Trail Race!

Temps in the 60’s with light clouds offered ideal running weather.

A total of 87 people signed on to tackle the 9.5-mile trail; 78 actually ran.

For the 3.4-mile race, 79 registered, 73 showed up and 71 crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, a twisted ankle thwarted the finish for one runner and one very loyal friend.

Total participation was 151 runners, a little less than last year due to a conflict with a big trail run out in western Massachusetts.

The 9.5-mile race was won by Steve O’Brien, of Clinton, with a time of 55:56, which is not his best on this course but gave him the first prize of an apple pie and a bottle of wine crafted especially for the GTFTR.

The top female on the 9.5-mile course was Robin Schulman, of Maynard, with a time of 1:19:07, also earning a pie and bottle of wine.

Despite the great running weather no records were set this year.

At age 67, Walter Perkins, of Webster, was our oldest 9.5 runner this year, coming in at an impressive 1:35:20. Emma Ordemann, of Groton, at 18, was our youngest runner of the 9.5, coming in at 1:31:33.

The 3.4-mile race was won by Kris Depew, from Acton, with at time of 21:47. The first female was Jessica McGarty, of Brighton, with a time of 27:19.

We had one record set on the 3.4-mile course this year with 9-year-old Malcolm Thornton beating his brother Nicolas Thornton’s record for 5- to 9-year-olds, with a time of 28:51. Our youngest runners were 7-year-olds Jorden Strauss, of West Groton, and Jack Whiteman, of Westford. Our oldest finisher this year was the lovely Rita LeBella, at age 62, coming in at 36:20. Rita has rarely missed the Groton Town Forest Trail Race and took home a bottle of wine as her reward.

Proceeds from the Groton Town Forest Trail Race go to the Groton Trails Committee, which maintains and maps 100 trails in Groton.

Registration and a post race reception are held at the Groton Senior Center, which generously allows the use of its facility. The race is held in October every year in the first or second week.