Of all the different kinds of competitive events available to us in the Northwest, trail runs are probably the most fun with the lowest barrier to entry: Put on a pair of running shoes and go for a run in a forest!
Northwest in Motion, along with our partner Mercurys Coffee, loves supporting the trail running community with tasty *real* coffee before and after the races. Last weekend we were at Northwest Trail Runs‘ Summer Blast at the Redmond Watershed Park. Race distances included a 5-mile, 10-mile, half marathon, and full marathon.
The race organizers make it easy to have a positive experience. Prior to each race, the race directors give a pre-race briefing during which they explain the routes, course markings, and aid station locations.
If you are new to trail running, start with using whatever shoes and gear you already have. With the mild weather conditions here in the Northwest, sport-specific gear like a hydration vest or a hand-held water bottle is really more of a nice-to have than a requirement. Start simple, and modify your kit as you learn from your experiences. You can count on the aid stations to have water at a minimum, but more often sugary sport drinks as well as sweet and salty snacks. Runners are allowed to wear headphones, but folks are asked to keep the volume down, and only use one earbud so you can hear other competitors and trail users.
Although “trail running” does have the word running in it, I think it’s a misnomer. On hilly courses, most people can actually move faster with less effort by power-walking the hills, then transitioning to a trot and a run on the flat and downhill sections. You can see what kind of uphill pace works for your body by experimenting with a heart rate monitor while doing hill repeats.
Trail running participants range from first-timers, to speedsters who love to compete at the front of the race, to folks who mostly power-hike the courses, to folks who do an ultra distance (longer than a marathon) races almost every weekend.
58-year old Kerry Farrell says he loves the low-key, fun vibe at trail runs, but he’s a fierce competitor and usually finishes on the podium. At Saturday’s Summer Blast Trail Run Kerry won the 5 mile race in 33:28.5.
30-year old Somer Kreisman won the 5km at last week’s Cougar Mountain Series race hosted by the Seattle Running Club. She won the Summer Blast 10-mile in a time of 1:10:38.9. On Facebook Somer said “Kerry, we had a good first lap!” After his race, Kerry confided that running just five miles with Somer was tough. The fact that the two have an almost 30-year age gap is both impressive and intimidating.
Daniel Bucci won the Summer Blast marathon in 3:36:26.1 wearing flip flops!
Daniel and his partner Sabrina Seher recently scored major credibility points after completing a second consecutive 2-person Ragnar relay earlier this summer. Ragnar’s “Northwest Passage” race is ~190 miles from Blaine to Langley, and is typically done as a 12-person relay, with each person running three legs.
Check out the Northwest in Motion calendar for upcoming trail runs.