Friday, April 16, 2004
Taking to the streets: Carlisle runners share their favorite routes
Though the bicyclists who zoom through Carlisle tend to attract the most attention, with their breakneck speeds and their tight neon attire, the town's streets teem with runners as well, and never more so than on the mild days of spring. We've invited several Carlisle runners of varying levels to share their favorite routes. Since most of them depart from their own front doors, the starting point does not always coincide with convenient parking, but several of the routes below pass through Carlisle Center, where space is often available at the post office, the library, Church Street or the school.
Safety is always a crucial concern for anyone using the roadways. Many runners mention that the advent of footpaths in the town center, currently under development, will do a great deal to improve conditions in the busiest parts of town. Asked to comment on the question of safety, Police Chief David Galvin declares that he is an enthusiastic proponent of running as a good means of physical fitness and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. His only caveat is the request that people not run during snowstorms when visibility is at its worst and plows are on the roads. He also asks people to remember to run against the traffic.
All mileages below are approximate. Happy running!
Kate McCandless, River Road
Runner's profile: On Monday, Kate will run her first-ever marathon, and no one seems more surprised by this development than she does. As she explains it, she has volunteered for the Pine Street Inn, a men's shelter in Boston, for nearly 20 years. The Inn is one of many charities that provides registrations (official numbers) to runners who use the race to raise money on its behalf. Upon learning of this option, Kate resolved to give it a try. Many neighbors, including fellow marathoner Karen Ringheiser, have expressed admiration for her diligent training schedule, especially given the frigid conditions of this past winter. Having raised the amount of money necessary to register, Kate mentions that friends who would still like to support her charitable efforts can do so by contributing directly to the Pine Street Inn in Boston.
Her favorite four-mile route (modified slightly to allow for convenient parking): Start at Kimball's Ice Cream, where you can park on the far east end of the lot if space is available or, alternatively, park on the other side of Bedford Road at the Banta-Davis Fields. Head east down Bedford Road to Maple Street. Take a left on Maple Street, left on East Street, left on East Riding Drive, and right on Brook Street, which brings you back to Bedford Road, where you'll take a right to get back to Kimball's. If you do park at the ice cream stand, the rewards waiting for you at the end of this pleasant neighborhood run are obvious!
Karen Ringheiser, Garnet Rock Lane
Runner's profile: As a teenager, Karen was a competitive figure skater. After the birth of her second child, Alden, she began running whenever her husband was available to be home with the children which was on Saturdays. In the space of three years, she progressed from running once a week to completing her first marathon. This year she will run Boston for the third time.
Her favorite three-mile route: From Carlisle Center, take Church Street to Bedford Road heading east, then right on Stearns Street, left on Baldwin, right on Woodridge which is a crescent and takes you back to Baldwin, left on Baldwin until it ends, and right on School Street back into the Center.
Kim & Tom Ratcliffe, Concord Street
Runners' profiles: Kim and Tom were both high school runners who continued with the sport through college and beyond. In adulthood, they have completed many road races and marathons together, and frequently train with their young children in strollers. As a professional athletic agent-representative, Tom is also responsible for the training and professional development of many elite runners, including a large number of marathoners from Kenya.
Their favorite 4.5-mile route: Tom and Kim call this "the Harte Loop" and clarify that it is "so named because it passes Ken and Marilyn Harte's house, and they were the first people we met when we moved to town." From the Town Center, head up School Street. Take the second left onto Bellows Hill Road, which turns into Estabrook Road. Take a right onto Kibby Place, right onto Robbins Drive, and right onto Russell Street, which turns into School Street and takes you back to Carlisle Center.
Lauree Eckler, Heald Road
Runner's profile: When Lauree moved to Carlisle from Concord in August with her husband and two-year-old daughter Isabella, finding local running routes was one of the last things on her mind since she was pregnant and on bed rest. Eight months later, this avid runner is busy whipping herself back into shape, thanks in large part to the challenge of pushing two small children in a double-jogger every time she goes out.
Her favorite five-mile route: From Heald Road, take a right on Acton Street, then a right on Westford Street, right on Cross Street, right on South Street, right on West Street, right on Acton Street, and right back to Heald Road. (Parking tip: Use the parking lot at the Mosquito office, 872 Westford Road, and start this loop at the junction of Acton Street and Westford Road.)
Tim Harte, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (formerly of Estabrook Road)
Runner's profile: Tim ran his first Boston Marathon while still a student at CCHS, training under the mentorship of acclaimed Carlisle runner, Ronald Kmiec. Since that time, he's competed in marathons worldwide and in the Boston Marathon seven out of the past ten years including 1999, when he placed 38th. He'll skip this year's Boston Marathon due to the higher priority of completing a book based on his graduate dissertation in Russian literature.
His favorite eight-mile route: Tim writes from Pennsylvania with this recommendation: "My favorite route in Carlisle cheats a bit since it also goes through Concord and Acton, but it generally avoids major roads, which is always a good thing. The route starts on Estabrook Road, goes to Bellows Hill Road, and then takes you left on Russell Street out to Lowell Road. You then take a left on Concord Street, and then a quick right onto South Street. Go all the way to West Street, where you take a left and then a quick right onto Pope Road. Go towards Acton for about a mile or so, and then go left on Strawberry Hill Road, which you follow all the way to Barrett's Mill Road in Concord, where you take a left. You cross Lowell Road, going straight as Barrett's Mill Road turns into Barnes Hill Road, off of which you take a left onto Estabrook Road (the Concord version of the road). This takes you straight into the Estabrook Woods. To get back to Carlisle, all you have to do is enter the woods, take your first left, and then follow this main trail for about two miles until you reach the pavement of Carlisle's Estabrook Road. That loop is about eight miles, but one can obviously add on to it by coming from Carlisle Center or tacking on miles on various trails in Estabrook Woods.
Ronald Kmiec, Bingham Road
Runner's profile: Ronald Kmiec is a legend both on the streets of Carlisle and in the larger world of distance running. His official stats include the fact that he has logged over 45,000 miles in the past 23 years; is about to complete his 31st Boston Marathon, putting him seventh in the world for number of consecutive Boston Marathon finishes; and perhaps most mind-boggling of all, has not missed one day of running since November of 1975, putting him 13th on the official listing of unbroken running streaks in the U.S. and first in Massachusetts.
His favorite twelve-mile route: From Carlisle Center, take Concord Street into Concord Center, past the Colonial Inn and onto Monument Street, which turns into River Road. Then follow Bedford Road back to Carlisle Center.
© 2004 The Carlisle Mosquito