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Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon on tap

  • Eric Goodchild plays the bagpipes while standing on a large flat rock on a hilltop pasture overlooking scenery that transformed into the Scottish Highlands during a local festival earlier this year.

    Eric Goodchild plays the bagpipes while standing on a large flat rock on a hilltop pasture overlooking scenery that transformed into the Scottish Highlands during a local festival earlier this year.

  • Braveheart competitor Josh Flannigan finishes the 23 mile road bike leg of the race at the Zoar picnic grounds where kayaks are put into the Deerfield river for the 5 mile paddle.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31v  Geoff Bluh<br/>

    Braveheart competitor Josh Flannigan finishes the 23 mile road bike leg of the race at the Zoar picnic grounds where kayaks are put into the Deerfield river for the 5 mile paddle.

    Story DR 12/3/31v Geoff Bluh

  • Gabe Porter Henry tags “Thunder “ team mate Tom Gorman at the  end of the 5 mile kayak leg , where Gorman will run to the downhill ski leg finish of the Berkshire  Highlands Pentathalon.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31 Geoff Bluh<br/>

    Gabe Porter Henry tags “Thunder “ team mate Tom Gorman at the end of the 5 mile kayak leg , where Gorman will run to the downhill ski leg finish of the Berkshire Highlands Pentathalon.

    Story DR 12/3/31 Geoff Bluh

  • The first Berkshire  Highlands Pentathalon gets of to a start with runners leaving the base of Berkshire East for a 4.75 mile run as a light snow comes down.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31  Geoff Bluh<br/>

    The first Berkshire Highlands Pentathalon gets of to a start with runners leaving the base of Berkshire East for a 4.75 mile run as a light snow comes down.

    Story DR 12/3/31 Geoff Bluh

  • osh Flannigan, of Cohasett, #404, and John McCarthy,#420,  are the first runners to appear at the top of Riddel road in Charlemont where they are greeted by a view and the sounds of bagpipes. Both are Bravehearts, completeing all five legs alone, in the Berkshire East Highland Pentathalon on Saturday. Ultimately, Josh was the first Braveheart to finish while John was fourth.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31 Geoff Bluh<br/>

    osh Flannigan, of Cohasett, #404, and John McCarthy,#420, are the first runners to appear at the top of Riddel road in Charlemont where they are greeted by a view and the sounds of bagpipes. Both are Bravehearts, completeing all five legs alone, in the Berkshire East Highland Pentathalon on Saturday. Ultimately, Josh was the first Braveheart to finish while John was fourth.

    Story DR 12/3/31 Geoff Bluh

  • John Ferris ,of Team Thunder , skied the final leg of the Berkshire Highlands Pentathalon and finished first for teams.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31  Geoff Bluh<br/>

    John Ferris ,of Team Thunder , skied the final leg of the Berkshire Highlands Pentathalon and finished first for teams.

    Story DR 12/3/31 Geoff Bluh

  • Eric Goodchild plays the bagpipes while standing on a large flat rock on a hilltop pasture overlooking scenery that transformed into the Scottish Highlands during a local festival earlier this year.
  • Braveheart competitor Josh Flannigan finishes the 23 mile road bike leg of the race at the Zoar picnic grounds where kayaks are put into the Deerfield river for the 5 mile paddle.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31v  Geoff Bluh<br/>
  • Gabe Porter Henry tags “Thunder “ team mate Tom Gorman at the  end of the 5 mile kayak leg , where Gorman will run to the downhill ski leg finish of the Berkshire  Highlands Pentathalon.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31 Geoff Bluh<br/>
  • The first Berkshire  Highlands Pentathalon gets of to a start with runners leaving the base of Berkshire East for a 4.75 mile run as a light snow comes down.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31  Geoff Bluh<br/>
  • osh Flannigan, of Cohasett, #404, and John McCarthy,#420,  are the first runners to appear at the top of Riddel road in Charlemont where they are greeted by a view and the sounds of bagpipes. Both are Bravehearts, completeing all five legs alone, in the Berkshire East Highland Pentathalon on Saturday. Ultimately, Josh was the first Braveheart to finish while John was fourth.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31 Geoff Bluh<br/>
  • John Ferris ,of Team Thunder , skied the final leg of the Berkshire Highlands Pentathalon and finished first for teams.<br/><br/>Story DR  12/3/31  Geoff Bluh<br/>

Mike McCusker and Bruce Lessels are used to running big events.

McCusker, founder and organizer of the popular Bridge of Flowers Road Race, and Lessels weren’t quite sure what to expect when they began organizing the inaugural Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon last spring at Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont.

What they ended up with was 125 participants from seven states competing in five sports that make up the event — running, riding, paddling, snowshoeing and skiing.

McCusker was thrilled with the 2012 turnout. Now he’s confident that this year’s edition — scheduled for March 23 — will be that much bigger.

How much bigger?

“We’re cutting (registration) off at 300 individuals,” he said. “They can compete individually or as part of a team, but we need to cut it off — 300 competitors means we’re going to have some 200 kayaks or bikes that need to be removed from those parts of the course.”

That became an issue last year, so McCusker said they will require every individual/team to have a non-competing support person with a vehicle, who will help with removing bikes, kayaks and other items from the course after they finish those segments of the race.

Participants can sign up to compete individually, in tam o’ shanter teams of two, or tartan teams of up to five. All teams must be mixed gender.

As popular as this event — co-sponsored by Berkshire East and Zoar Outdoor — may become in future years, it’s really just a small part of an entire weekend of activities in western Franklin County.

• On Friday night, participants are treated to a pasta buffet dinner at the Warfield House in Charlemont. After-dinner activities include music from an area band.

• A free Fitness Expo featuring various vendors and open to the general public will run all day Saturday at the base of Berkshire East.

• Mohawk Park will put on a post-race evening pasta buffet for competitors, and another area band will entertain those on hand after dinner. Both dinner events are sponsored by Berkshire Brewing Company.

• On Sunday, free fitness workshops will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., conducted by staff members at Baystate Medical Center.

Mike McCusker can be reached at (413) 834-3477, e-mail mtmccusker@comcast.net

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