Running is not immune to trends. Trail running is becoming more popular and the running industry continues to support and encourage the growth with trail-specific shoes, gear (GPS, camel packs, etc), and running races. Nationwide, the number of trail races has nearly doubled since 2004 to 220, up from only eight in 1997, the 14-year-old American Trail Running Association says.
It is no surprise that runners are glutinous to torture. We seek out new and interesting ways to tweak our training and push the envelope. Though there will always be a need for fast, flat courses whether its to qualify for Boston or make PR’s, trail events are becoming more popular across the nation.
Last weekend two events stole many Baltimore runners away to compete on challenging trail courses throughout the region. The Half-Wit Half Marathon in Reading, PA was certainly not a PR course. Runners were required to pass the 9 mile mark at two hours and 30 minutes to continue the race, many runners did not complete the course in under two hours-an reasonable half-marathon time. Bart Rein, a regular trail runner, recently completed this race. He says trail running is peaceful and requires you to stay engaged the whole time, “You have some long runs where you just sort of zone out while you were running. But if you did that on a trail run you’d do a face plant. The more technical the terrain, the further ahead you have to think.”
The River Valley Ranch 10K was run mostly on trails with the option to cross a river or a narrow wooden bridge. Either obstacle will prevent you from holding your desired race pace, so once again the course is not intended for those who have a need for speed. 10K finisher Justin Berk said, “It was tough with lots of varied terrain and running surfaces. At one point there was a narrow drop with a back up of people bracing on each other to avoid slipping on the mud, rocks, and tree roots. However, I’d recommend it and will do it again for sure.”
Upcoming local trail events:
- August 22 Boordy Trail run 5K —This event is sold out!
- August 28 Blue Crab Bolt 10K trail series final-Clarksburg, MD
- September 5 Charm City Run 20 miler-NCR Trail (fast and flat; not a technical course)
- September 18 BRRC Gunpowder Keg Ultra Races 10.5, 21, or 50K trail run-Event is free, but you must supply your own food and drink
- October 23 Baltimore [email protected] 5K CrossCountry Challenge-only 30% trails
- March 19 The HAT 50K run will open registration in September. Check back for details.
See more on trail running from our Trail Running Examiner.
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