So on 7-11 I did something wild. I ran an event that takes runners across central Connecticut traversing 7 different 7-11’s in search of free slurpees for Free Slurpee day.
I felt that this would be a wonderful excuse for a nice long run and to get some volume under me as I prepare for the World Snowshoe Running Championships. I am hoping to get as strong as I can to power through 12ks of high altitude snowshoe running (race is at 8,000 feet).
The run was created by Jimmy Mac, local CULTRA podcast star and RD. He was inspired when he did a 7-11 run in California and wanted to bring this concept to his home in Connecticut. And so the Slurpee run was born. The course connects Vernon to Meriden through 7 7-11’s. Your entry fee would cover the coach bus ride to the start of the run. With it being in the middle of Summer, historically, it has been as what Jimmy says is “Hot Garbage” and this year’s edition was hot but not as sticky as it has been in past editions. The 2022 version had 19 starters. We would all keep together for the most part throughout the first 4 7-11’s before the pace would pick up.
Distances between 7-11’s:
Vernon to Manchester – 6.2 miles
Manchester to East Hartford – 5.4 miles
E. Hartford to W. Hartford – 5.7 miles
W. Hartford to Newington – 3.9 miles
Newington to New Britain – 5.2 miles
New Britain to Meriden – 8.2 miles
I drove out to Meriden about and 1.5 hours from me and arrived a little early. I was able to relax and hang out before meeting-up with everyone. Once runners arrived, it was fun to meet so many new faces as I am new to the whole New England trail running scene. On the bus, lots of war stories were shared. The coach bus was a nice element and once we arrived, we had about 15 minutes to hang before right at 11am we could then start and get our first slurpee. I packed a good amount in my Nathan 12L Vaporkrar–similar to the amount I had with me for Cocodona. I wanted to carry some extra food, my wallet, plenty of fluids, a spare shirt, and a cooling towel. You want to be prepared for these type of adventures.
Location # 1–Vernon, CT —Slurpee # 1
Promptly at 11am, we entered our first 7-11 to indulge on some delicious icy drinks. I added an additional challenge of drinking a different flavor of slurpee at each location and once you consume one flavor, it would be eliminated from the list. After our first stop we then headed to Manchester which was a 6.2 mile segment. We hit some miles in town and then onto a sweet bike path. It was a nice segment here. This would be our nicest stretch of shade before we would hit the more urban/suburban stretches. We ran together as a big group and it was fun to hang with everyone. Our pace hovered around 10-11 minute miles for the first chunk.
Location # 2: Manchester, CT
Stop 1 I tried cherry. Stop 2, I went with the Vitamin water flavor which had no sugar and was delicious. It was fun having a crew of us come into every 7-11 and the staff there know exactly that we were in need of the free slurpee. There were a lot of cool art murals throughout this run and some nice suburban sections through here. We ran by Wickham park which is where a lot of Cross country races in High school happen in CT and we also found a sweet fountain to jump into to cool-off. It was already in the mid 80’s with a breeze so it was nice to cool down.
Location #3: East Hartford, CT
I think it was here that we had some free slurpees bought for us out of the group which was really nice since our App only gave us 1 free slurpee. They only cost like $1.15 so it was not a bank-breaker. I was getting into the groove of taking in the slurpees thought the sugar was hurting my stomach a little. It was around lunch time and had to wait until the next 7-11 for a slice of pizza.
Location #4: West Hartford
This was a top section of mine. It was so cool to go through Hartford on the big bridge, by the Traveler’s building into UCONN Hartford and other cool sections in the city. We even found a splash-pad here to cool-off.
After running through the heart of downtown Hartford we then entered some of the rougher neighborhoods. We stuck together here as we had some vocal residents cat-call us and say a few profanities. To each their own. This is where we stopped for a while and fueled up. I had a slice of pizza, a Nesquik, slurpee and a peach iced tea. From stops 5-7 we would start to do our own thing. The group would then split-up and run our own paces. For me it was 8 minute miles. I felt good to know we were getting close to being done. It was around 3pm. I whipped out my cooling towel and that was clutch in staying cool. This stretch went by some cool shops and a vegan market that I have never seen like Vegan monkey or something.
Location # 5: Newington
It was at this stop after I made a little push that we had like a Rabi recite a ritual I think with Jake which was cool to witness. I had a coke slurpee here which was clutch though I was getting pretty tired of slurpees at this point. Now at around 4:15pm, I wanted to get going so that we could finish before too late.
Location # 6: New Britian
Newington to New Britain began the series of hills as the last 14 miles had some nice rollers. I ran with the woman’s champion out of Boston,, Traci. Traci was a very strong runner as we pushed in the 8 minute range. At stop 6, Jimmy Mac said his stomach was killing him and he kept going without having a slushy. I guess that would DQ him perhaps. We left a couple of minutes after. This section was on a narrow road as the 5pm rush of cars made us have to be extra careful. It was nice lush green countryside so it was nice to have the shade and knowing the heat of the day was over with. We stuck together up and down the hills and then hit the reservoir which was where I dropped at the CUT 112. It was crazy to instantly recognize that spot and then see Castle Craig up on the hill-side. This section was so pretty though as we wound up and down a few more steep hills in some neighborhoods and then descended right down by our cars. I went over to the 7-11 and had my final slurpee and some Liquid Death to rehydrate. I separated from our ladies champ on the last climb as she wanted to stop to drink some more fluids. It was awesome working together and she is going to crush her next race.
Location # 7: Meriden
Nothing better than drinking your last slurpee after a long day: 7 hours and 51 minutes worth. It was a great run tour of Connecticut and a fun challenge. With some 38 miles of running in for the day, it was a great way to start the week. The concept of running across a bunch of different 7-11’s linking them on foot is an amazing idea and I hope perhaps you get to do something like this in the future.