Toss up here. I ran two trail races last year – the Wulfman Continental Divide 14k Trail Race – Butte, MT and the USATF 15k National Championship Trail Race held near Spokane, WA. The Wulfman CDT race is hosted by a local running club who does a very good job attending to details. I call this race a “destination” race due to the fact runners put this race on their calendar early in the year and point training specifically in this direction. Staggered start – run along the spine of the CDT -point to point - well over 6,000′ elevation with plenty of ups and downs. Great trail, tough competition, good race support, high value for the race registration fees, and a tremendous feast post race held at the nearby Homestake Lodge.
The USATF 15k National Championship Trail Race was a tough race. The start went up – and up with a 23% grade for at least 300+ meters – in loose gravel. Ouch. Two loops so we ran this twice. Fun trail – plenty of wide single track, turns galore amidst the Ponderosa Pine trees. The late July heat took a toll so adjusting pace throughout the race was imperative. Jeff Thomas – Helena, MT aka “mountain goat Jeff” and I traded positions numerous times throughout the race. We had two Big Sky Distance Project Male Masters finishers in the top 5 of the 50+. A great competitor – no one runs the steep stuff as well as Jeff. MT women did quite well – check the results via the USATF website. Regardless of where you finish in a trail race – there is a sense of accomplishment running as fast as you can through the trees, across rocks, up and down hills – this is fun! If you plan on running the Wulfman – enter early – this race has a cap and fills up! If you plan on running the USATF 15k National Championship – the race will be held once again in Spokane but in mid May vs late July. There is just something special about a trail race. Hard to explain – unless you have developed a passion for the dirt, rocks, hills, streams, and? Enjoy.
Next up – favorite road race of 2010. The entry may surprise you. Until then – enjoy the run.