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35th running of the Litchfield Hills Road Race. A look at the 2011 version.

POSTED June 12, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

The famous "Gallows Hill" in Litchfield, a key part of the Litchfield Hills Road race course. The hill, which the runners go down at the start of the race, looms large as they make their way towards the finish line which awaits about a mile from the top. Many a lead has evaporated on this tough stretch of earth.

LITCHFIELD-Lace ‘em up folks!

It’s that time again. It’s Litchfield Hills Road Race time. The 35th Annual LHRR to be precise.

When the clock next to the Litchfield Green strikes one o’clock and the First Litchfield Artillery unloads it’s cannon shot, over 1300 brave runners will take to the streets of Litchfield and the woods of White Memorial for a seven mile jaunt.

It looks like it nay be a humid one so hydrate now, beat the rush.

As is the case almost every year, many an entry will come on the morning of the race and this year is no exception.

It was unknown as of Saturday night whether last years men’s winner, Julius Kiptoo, will be in Litchfield to try for his record fourth title.

Kiptoo set the mark last year with his second straight win, his other win came in 2006.

On the woman’s side, it was thought by race director John Clock that Malika Mejdoub had a chance of being here to defend her 2010 win.

One face familiar who has been an LHRR favorite for years, Gideon Mutisya, will be back in town for the first time in a while and will most certainly make the rounds over this tremendous weekend in Litchfield.

Mutisya is a two-time winner himself with wins in 1993 and 1999.

His 1993 time of 33:37 still holds firm in third place overall in the 35 years since Joe Concannon started this now grand tradition back in 1977.

Both of last years second place finishers are scheduled to be back in town this year.

Geena Tufa was just two second behind Kiptoo in one of the tightest race finishes in years while Serkelem Abrha looks to close the six-second gap she had from victory a year ago.

Lucas Meyer, from Ridgefield, CT, gave the elite Kenyan runners a battle in 2010, staying with the front back most of the race before finishing just 21-seconds off the pace (35:19) and good enough for third place..

Eric Blake, from New Britain, came in in the sixth position with a 35:49 time.

Two world class runners who continue to give back to the children of the world, Rod Dixon and Steve Jones, will both be on hand.

Dixon has been instrumental in developing the highly touted kIDSMARATON, a training and education program for kids that focuses on nutrition and the importance of staying fit. His kids finish a 26 mile endurance year that wraps up on road race weekend every year and has become a staple of the race.

There will also be the kids runs that showcase the future competitors of the LHRR as it rolls along it’s timeless fashion.

Come rain or shine, the Green will be the place to be, as it has been all weekend.

Families will grab their favorite spots as soon as they can to greet their runner or just hang out with good friends.

“Gallows Hill” is a calling, who will answer the challenge?

NOTES: Runners and fans are encouraged to bring their old, worn out sneakers on Sunday to the Litchfield Bancorp tent, near the top of the Green. The sneakers will be recycled into material used for athletic and playground surfaces.

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