Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon Race

Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon Race

by Elaine Campbell

This past weekend was the first Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon Race in Charlemont, MA.  The race started with a 4.5 mile trail run, 23 mile bike, 5 mile kayak on the Deerfield River, a hike up a small portion of Berkshire East, and then ski down a short section.  The area had a tough winter with not much snow plus 80 degree weather for consecutive days 2 weeks ago which pretty much melted most of the snow so the last two legs of the race were much shorter than what they were supposed to be. 

I put together a team of five called Afore Vous (before you). Our team was Bill Simpson our runner, Chris Jalbert biked, I kayaked, Nancy Caldwell hiked, and Ali O'Rourke was  the skier.  

The race kicked off Saturday at 10:30am with 43 overall racers which included teams of 5, duos, and soloists (120 competitors all together). It was snowing and around 30 degrees but reached 40 with cloudy skies by mid-day. The trail runners started from Berkshire East ski area and headed out to the trails surrounding the town of Charlemont.  The next transition was at Zoar Outdoor where the runner tagged the biker or the soloist just kept on hoofing it to their bike.  Simpson tagged Chris and he ran to his bike hopped on it and started passing people.  At that point we were in 30th place and Chris was able to move us into 23rd place and his bike time landed him in 17th place.  While the bikers were climbing up hills the kayakers waited patiently for the bikers to arrive while we trash talked each other.  I of course was distracted talking to people and Chris all most flew by me with out the tag but I was able to slap him five.  I ran as fast as I could to the river and Jeff helped me get in my wildwater boat and my leg of the race was on!  I paddled my brains out for 5 miles and think I passed 3 or 4 kayakers. Jeff was following me on the road in the truck yelling at me to paddle faster. I paddled pretty hard which led me to the second fastest kayak time in the race out of 43 people which moved the team from 23rd place to 16th.  Nancy was waiting for me at the side of the river for the next transition.  I came barreling into shore and we tagged. She had to run like a mile up the access road to Berkshire East then up the steep trail where Ali was waiting for the tag to ski.  Nancy was able to move us into 15th place with the tag and she finished 12th in the hike. Ali skied down the gates and our team finished in 14th overall with Ali's ski and 7th in the team of 5's and she placed 11th in the ski.  It took us 3 hours 15 minutes and 11 seconds to complete it.  We did pretty well for our first team event and brought on Simpson and Chris last minute to race with us.  A couple of our friends soloed the event and am super proud of them Joanne Grogan, Mike Porter, Ryan Shackleton, and John McCarthy they slayed it!

The after party at Phil and Ali's was awesome as usual with lot's of food and drinks!  We all got after it that night and felt it the next day. 

The event was pretty flawless overall the only issue which they couldn't control was mother nature didn't drop enough snow this winter and super warm temps changed the snowshoe and ski event.  A huge thanks to the organizers and volunteers for putting on such a great event!  I'm looking forward to it next year with Team Afore Vous!  

The next event on the schedule is coming up in 3 weeks another Pentathlon this one is the MT. Washington Tuckerman Inferno Race in NH.  We are competing as a team of 5 women called Team Broads for the Tuckerwoman Inferno!  It's going to be awesome!  Team Broads is Kim Seaman 8.3 mile run, me 6.2 mile kayak on the Saco River, Nicole Vassar 18.2 mile uphill bike, Nancy Caldwell 3 mile hike 2,268 ft climb, and Ali O'Rourke GS ski down Tuckerman Ravine.  It's a step up from the race this weekend and we are going to bring it!  

Here are some photos from the race and Jeff apologies for no kayaking photos since he was yelling (he says motivating) at me to paddle faster which he feels was more important than photos!

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Getting Ready!

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Run to bike transition.

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Mike Porter Soloing it!

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My fast boat!

Till next time,

Elaine Campbell

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