Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some unusual towns coming up

Update on running. So far it's been a good season. Bagged seven new communities since April, which takes me up to #120 out of 234 total. And many more possibilities starting in mid-July -- something like a dozen that I may be able to get in 2011.

I'm especially impressed with the number of one-shot races this year in the state's picturesque southwest corner. It's a place filled with sleepy small communities that often claim fewer residents today than before the Civil War, when they were in their agricultural heyday, or hayday.

Let's see: on Saturday, July 16, there's a 5K race in Langdon, N.H., a small community where as a reporter I once covered the doings of the Fall Mountain Regional High School. The school, which served five communities, was in Langdon, and so is the road race. I once profiled the community for the Keene Sentinel, and one thing I remember was that Langdon didn't get electric lines until the 1940s. Wow!

And then the tiny town of Marlow on Saturday, July 23 to celebrate the town's 250th anniversary. Marlow is locally famous as the starting point of a spectacular forest fire in 1941, one which miraculously missed the village itself, going around either side before continuing on through three towns. It's also as the birthplace in 1982 of PC Connection, Inc. a computer sales company that has since become a Fortune 1000 company with annual sales topping $2 billion. (And for which I worked for four years, from 2000 to 2004.)

And then on Saturday, Aug. 13, there's a 5K in the even tinier town of Richmond. It's being put on by Camp Wiyaka, which sounds good to me. (It's a YMCA camp celebrating its 90th season this summer.) Richmond is where, after graduating from college in 1986, I almost bought 48 acres of long-abandoned farmland for $15,000. On the property was were several cellar holes, a few derelict family cemeteries ("Here Lies Caliph, 1810-1836), a full-size beaver dam, and an abandoned school bus which a few years earlier had been the scene of a murder! The lot was pretty useless; no building permit could be issued because the lot did not front a town-maintained road. But still, the plan was to build a cabin where I could work on some writing. (Not as economical as, say, roistering in Istanbul and living like a prince for $10 a day, the going rate then, but I digress.) Anyway, the sale didn't go through, so neither the cabin nor the writing has happened. But here I am, getting ready to run through the town!

And, perhaps oddest of all, there's a 5K race in Lempster on Saturday, Oct. 8. What's unusual is that it apparently takes place on a wind farm: a series of giant propellor-driven turbines arrayed on a ridgetop. Just learned of this one, but that time of year the foliage should be beautiful.

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