Will this be your first trail race?

The first-ever race in the Summer Trail Series was held on July 14, 2016. I’m biased, but I think the race was a success. It attracted a great group of runners who ran well and told us they enjoyed themselves. As soon as the race ended, the race directors sat down and talked about what worked well (so we can keep doing it) and what we’ll do even better next time.

I was so pleased with the number of runners who came out on July 14 who said that it was their first trail race. Based on their feedback and on questions we got before the race, we have updated our page on frequently asked questions to provide more information.

If you are an experienced road runner who is thinking of joining us on the trails, here’s a quick summary of the ways you can expect a Summer Trail Series race to be a little different:

  • The advertised distance is not always the actual distance on the course. We keep these races informal and affordable, so we forego hiring someone to do an official course measurement. Changing course conditions (fallen trees, excessive mud) sometimes mean we need to change the course on short notice, too.
  • It’s easier to get lost on the course. We are going to have more course markings for future races, and our volunteers will be equipped with maps and ready to answer your questions if you’re wondering about your next turn. That being said, it’s not like a road race where road blocks and spectators make the route very obvious. You’ll have to keep your eyes open for signs and flags, which will be at roughly waist-height level (or waist-height for me).
  • It’s trickier to pass other runners. Our race starts on a short section of road, which gives you a chance to position yourself in the group according to where you might hope to finish. The trails themselves are narrow. To pass and be passed by other runners, you’ll need to be considerate and aware of what’s going on around you. If you’re passing, considering saying something to the runner ahead of you so they know your intention. They will usually hug the right side of the trail to let you go by on the left. If you think the runner behind you wants to pass you, try to give them room to do so.
  • Trail races are often less formal and more festive. We’ll probably give our pre-race briefing by standing on a rock. There won’t be a starting gate. We’ll have lots of snacks at the finish line. You’ll be able to talk to the race directors and hang around after the race for as long as you like. In short, trail runners typically try not to take themselves too seriously, but do care a lot about being welcoming and making sure you have a good time.
  • We don’t break our race results down by the same narrow categories as many road races. Our first race had 79 runners, so we don’t bother announcing all of the age group winners. For our first race, Alain Foidart kindly noted in the results which runners are under 18. So, if it’s that important to you, you can at least find out whether you were faster than the children.

We hope to see you on the trails!

Mallory Richard

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