The 2020 Run

The current public health emergency has changed our world at least for now. Faced with apparently insurmountable challenges to holding a reliability run this year, the solution was simple: adapt the run to fit the changed environment.

For those who may not recall the premise behind the CT British Reliability Run, here is a brief recap of the event.

The Reliability Run has two goals: first, to demonstrate that old British cars are reliable and capable of being driven over much longer distances than most of their owners would normally attempt; second and more important, to raise money for a worthy cause involving children.

We have met those goals on the two runs that we have held so far. In 2018 we toured the Adirondacks and last year went further afield to the Finger Lakes region of New York. All cars that set off on the run returned safely. We have raised well over $20,000 for our chosen charity, the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp established by the late Paul Newman.

Planning for the 2020 Reliability Run began almost as soon as we completed the Finger Lakes tour. The consensus among those who had supported both runs was that we had enjoyed our stay in Glens Falls NY on the 2018 run and would like to use that as our base again, but this time touring northern Vermont rather than the Adirondacks.

By early 2020 we had arranged for accommodation at the Queensbury Hotel in downtown Glens Falls and as the first signs of the virus appeared we were completing the plan for the Friday drive. That was where we hit the roadblock.

A major part of planning this kind of tour involves selecting places for pit stops and meal breaks. In the short term this was impossible, but in the longer term there was no way of knowing which restaurants would survive the lengthy period of restrictions.

There was also the likelihood that people might be reluctant to visit hotels and restaurants because we cannot predict with any accuracy the path this pandemic might take.

It was clear that for this year the event needed to be re-invented. The goal of raising money for the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp would of course remain the same, but the event that would accomplish that needed to be different. The date could remain the same as we had already published it and it seems unlikely that there would be any change in the various public health measures in place if we moved the event. And while the oppressive heat of August is gone September is usually warm enough to enjoy driving with the hood down.

While I was mulling over the available options I learned that the PA Reliability Run was moving to a single day format to avoid these issues with hotels and restaurants. I thought that a similar format might work for our event because a one-day tour needs no overnight accommodation and lends itself well to taking a picnic lunch along instead of finding restaurants.

I did not like the idea however of covering fewer than a couple of hundred miles. After all, the British edition of this event covers about 2,000 miles in 48 hours, driving just a tenth of that does not really establish any credentials for reliability. Your car is barely warmed up! 

So I came to the conclusion that the event would remain a three day affair but would consist of three separate day tours of between 150 and 200 miles each rather than a single three-day tour. There will be no requirement to participate in all three days, although I hope most entrants will do so. On the other hand, I also hope that people who might not be able to commit to three days of driving will turn out on at least one of the tours to support the event and of course help raise money for the charity.

On Friday September 18th, the tour will depart from Southbury and head north for a tour of Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires, including an ascent of Mt. Greylock.

Saturday’s tour (September 19th) will depart from Abingdon Spares in Deep River for a lap of Connecticut, touring the Quiet Corner in the northeast and the Litchfield Hills before returning to Deep River.

The third tour on Sunday, September 20th will again depart from Southbury for a tour of the Catskills.

I am hoping that this new format will allow the event to be as successful in raising money for a very worthwhile cause as the previous two events have been and that you will consider joining the run.

For answers to any questions you may have about the event or to receive a registration form please email me at nwardle2@comcast.net

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