Yesterday Hank and I traveled across the Potomac River to West By God Virginia to run my first trail race, the Race for the Birds. Hank runs cross country in the fall so this was old hat for him.
In keeping with my new post-injury outlook on running, my goal was to finish upright and have fun, which I did so the short version of this recap is -It was a success!
This was a pretty low key race with about 250 runners overall, and 4 distances - 7+ miles, 4+ miles, 2 miles (self-timed), and 1 mile kids trail fun run.
The 7 and 4 mile runners started together with the first mile or so on the road. This gave us the opportunity to spread out before reaching the trail.
The trails weren't very technical - a mix of dirt, gravel and grass, and they were wide enough for people to comfortably pass me (which they did, often!), and it was 2 loops, a smaller loop within a larger one.
I looked at the course map a few times beforehand and it seemed pretty simple, but once I got out there, I had almost no sense whatsoever of where I was in relation to the finish line. Thankfully it was very well marked with happy, cheering volunteers at each significant turn; I think it would be practically impossible to get lost during this race.
Another exciting element was the ambiguous distance. One flyer I saw said 4.4 miles. Later literature said 4.9 miles. The official distance was listed as 4+ miles. I saw 4.4 miles on my Garmin with no finish line in sight. At 4.9 miles I was in the woods but could hear cheering so I knew I must be close. I crossed the line - and forgot to stop my Garmin, must be part of my new laid back persona - at 5.12 so the 4.9 mile description was the correct one...and now I know for next year.
Hank did really well. He took off without me from the very beginning and ended up 3rd in his age group though the awards were given for the top 2. He said he had to walk a couple of times because he was too hot but that he had a great time. And he wants to do it again next year. Yay!
The kids 1 mile fun run was a trail run and I'm definitely bringing Ella and Shane next year. The kids who ran looked ecstatic as they crossed the line...and of course as a little kid, what is more fun than running like a monkey through the woods and being rewarded with a ribbon, chocolate milk and a Chick Fil A sandwich?
My official time was 53:05.6 and Hank's was 51:38.1
Course: pretty and well-marked
Volunteers: friendly, helpful and enthusiastic cheer-ers
Atmosphere: fun and laid back.
Entry fee: reasonable, $20 (kids run = free)
This race was a win in all respects and we definitely plan to do it again!
And all the photos are from the Potomac Highlands Dispatch website.