Hairy Gorilla Race: A Wild Halloween Treat

by Christine Bishop

The Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon & Squirrelly Six Mile races on October 30 was a glorious event on an equally glorious day. We can’t give Josh and crew credit for the weather, but we can for the creative and scary touches that graced Thacher Park.

In addition, wonderful costumes abounded.

The event was adult, kid and family friendly. The first event was a costume contest and a gorilla impersonation contest.

This was followed by a kids' half mile race that was packed with enthusiastic racers from toddlers to elementary school age competitors.

Families were everywhere participating in the fun.

Then came the two races run simultaneously with one loop for the 6 miler and two loops for the half marathon. The races were incredible. Seeing monsters casually running by is not regular race fare. Neither is seeing wildly confining and sweltering costumes worn for racing miles.

Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon – Top Males

      1st Brendon Vanvlack, 2nd Alan Finder, and Bryce Spare

Top Females

           1st Tara Travis, 2nd Jaime Shannon, and 3rd Rachel Weller

Squirrelly Six Top Males

       2nd Aaron Major, 1st Frankie Disomma, and 3rd Robert Ordish

Squirrelly Six Top Females

    2nd Samantha Pelligrini, 1st Danielle Ecker, and 3rd Kate Forbush

The Refreshments

After finishing their event racers were treated to a barbeque of hotdogs and burgers and their veggie counterparts, casseroles, home cooked treats, and bowls of Halloween candy.

Awards ceremonies followed each race. The winners were all given exquisitely decorated cookies made by Ed and Jennifer Hampston, who have done this since the race’s inception in 2005. Interestingly, the original race was to take place in the Pine Bush but 4 weeks before it was to happen, Pine Bush officials withdrew permission. However, the John Boyd Thacher Park welcomed them and changed history by offering their spectacular grounds for the Hairy Gorilla and Squirrelly six races. Thank you!

                              Thank you Ed and Jen!

Click here for Google Drive with extensive pictures from the day!

Hairy Gorilla links to explore filled with wild pictures


The Untold Truth About the Hairy Gorilla by Josh Merlis
Trick? Or Treat? at the Hairy Gorilla by Laura Clark
The Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon and Squirrelly Six Mile: Racing in a Pandemic by Josh Merlis
Halloween is for Runners by Christine Bishop
What a beautiful day! Hairy Gorilla 2019 by Josh Merlis

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