Location: Kanawha State Forest, Charleston, WV
Place: 3rd Overall
This was the 14th time the race was held. The race director is Dennis Hamrick, who started the race with these words of advice: “Enjoy the scenery, but not for too long, as you may become part of the trail.” Good advice, indeed, as the trail presented many challenges, including exposed roots and rocks, slippery slopes, streams to cross, etc.
My problem with reporting on any race is that I am so focused on the course itself that I cannot recall very much of the scenery. Yes, I ran through a forest, and, yes, there were beautiful mountains, trees, streams, and rivers. What I recall most, however, was walking, jogging, running, slogging up very steep inclines, climbing a boulder, running down very steep hills, and jumping and/or climbing over many fallen trees. I’m known for being a very good downhill runner (as I imagine I’m four-years-old and throw all caution to the wind). I had to put on the brakes to keep from falling (which I did indeed almost do at about mile 29 or 30).
This was the most difficult race that I have ever run, for all of the reasons are listed above! Nonetheless, I had much fun, and found the entire experience to be very rewarding.
This was also the most low-key race I’ve run, which made it that much more enjoyable. I briefly attended the pre-race dinner (and I’m glad I did because I don’t know if I would have been able to find the park if I hadn’t already visited in the daylight hours), which consisted of pizza and drinks. The post-race meal was Subway, chips, and drinks. The race got started a little late as a late arriver (who did indeed get lost) asked for some extra time to get ready. Dennis began the race by holding out his arms and counting down from three. This is the kind of race I most enjoy! Many of the runners seemed to know each other and all were in very good spirits.
The aide stations were staffed with very friendly volunteers. I brought my own stash, so I didn’t partake of anything other than Powerade and water. Nonetheless, the stations had ample supplies.
I wore Adidas trail racing shoes, and I wouldn’t do so again if I were to run this particular race. I needed shoes that were a bit more rugged (I managed to tear them at some point in the race) with a little more traction. I got a big blister on my right little piggy who likes roast beef .
I feel surprisingly good today, even though I drove home last night and am still a little tired. I ran a 3.5 mile recovery run this evening, and once I got over the pain of the piggy, all went well.
If you’re up for a very challenging, low-key, fun race, give this one a try!