What’s the history of the Litchfield Hills Road Race?
One of the signs that summer is approaching is the running of the Litchfield Hill Road Race on the second Sunday in June. Now in its 40th running, it has been one of the highlights of the community.
The race was founded by Boston Globe sportswriter and Litchfield native Joe Concannon, who wanted a venue to bring together his hometown running friends with his out-of-town ones. In fact, it is referred to by many as the Friendship Race. Although the event begins at 1 pm, spectators begin lining up, waving flags, and shouting encouragement long before that.
The course is approximately 7.1 miles, beginning at the top of the Village Green, continuing along Meadow Street, down Gallows Lane, along White Woods Road, into White Memorial, out again, and back up the ultra-steep Gallows Lane hill, and ending at the original starting point. Approximately 1,800 runners compete. Many of the same people return year after year from places as far-flung as Ireland, New Zealand, Kenya, Belgium, Tanzania, Canada, Yugoslavia, and Morocco. Many are serious runners; others participate to be with friends. Along the way, participants are met with volunteers offering water and support.
Whatever the impetus, the Litchfield Hills Road Race is a part of the community—it is impossible to imagine June without this very special event.