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The First Billygoat Gruff

The Gruff was a 2.4 k sprint through mostly open woods that, in Billygoat style, had a skip and a fork. Mt. Tom doesn't lend itself particularly well to designing sprint courses, which ideally combine short legs with lots of route choice; but I thought the skip and the fork would add some sprint-like flavor, requiring some extra mental concentration. 24 runners signed up for the Gruff; 15 actually started. I would rate it a moderate success. I would have liked to have more participants, but, understandably, doing a sprint course after running a physically demanding Billygoat was the last thing on most people's minds.

Ross Smith won the course easily with a very fast time of 15:43, beating second-place runner Eddie Bergeron, by three and a half minutes. Canadian Michael Lucente was 3rd in 20:48. Sam Seager made it a double, winning the Gruff in 23:03. Ali Crocker was 2nd and Alex Jospe 3rd.

There were nine controls, six of which were chosen as skip by at least one competitor. The most common, and probably the best, choice was to fork right to 6 and skip 7; this was chosen by Ross and four others. That skip saved saved Ross 1:54 over Eddie's fastest combined split to 6 and 7. Eddie and Jeff Shapiro skipped 5. When the course was set, 5 was a better skip because it avoided the marsh crossing; but by the time the course was run (as could have been predicted from running the Billygoat), the marsh was not much of an obstacle. Other good skips that were chosen were 1, 8, and 9, each of which tended to save between one and half and two minutes.

The Gruff was a junior team fundraiser, and all revenue raised from the Gruff will be donated to the team. Thanks to everyone who contributed.