RACE: Traprock 17K trail run
LOCATION: Bloomfield, CT
DATE: April 19, 2014
LENGTH: 17K (approximately 10.5-11 miles)
RUNIT RATING: Thumbs up!
WARNING: Road runners beware, this is no ordinary race! A successful Traprock run requires exceptional technical footing, mental perseverance, and a little bit of luck.
The weather this past Saturday was borderline perfect for hitting the trail. The sun was shining and the air was warm, but not hot. There was a spring breeze circling the Farmington Valley and at long last, even the tallest of snow banks had finally disappeared. I was excited for my first official trail race and had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Although this was my first trail race, I have many backcountry miles under my belt. As I said in a prior post, I am no stranger to the trail.
Sarah’s lack of familiarity with the trail might explain why her race day experience was so much different from mine. I personally feel that the Traprock was my best, most fun race to date and I can’t wait for next year! On the other hand, Sarah (I’m guessing) will probably stick to running on pavement in the future.
The Traprock terrain is difficult with both single and double track trails, some of which are quite rocky. We ran the 17K, which was one loop but a 50K Ultra Marathon (3 loops) was being held at the same time and some of the 50K runners made their way past me and Sarah at lightning speed! I think they’ve done this a few times before! The 17K course has a significant and impressive change in elevation of roughly 2300 feet! This is one of my favorite perks of being out on the trail – the beautiful views!
“Look how far you’ve climbed!” I said to Sarah as we approached a clearing.
Despite our different opinions on the fun factor, Sarah and I both agree that the race was a great event overall. The Traprock was organized well. The course was clearly marked with orange ties and volunteers were stationed at tricky intersections to keep runners on course.
The volunteers went above and beyond to ensure that runners had everything they needed, including a sweet and salty smorgasbord of goodies to re-energize runners during and after the race and a post-race BBQ.
The crowd and overall mood of the race was not surprisingly much more laid back than the typical atmosphere at your everyday road race. Sounds of tambourines and drums could be heard echoing through the woods signaling to runners they were approaching an aide station and the few spectators who were there brought their own chairs and their pets and camped out for the day to cheer runners on as they finished the race or just passed through between laps.
Fellow runners crossed paths during some of the out and back and common portions of the course and shouted words of encouragement to one another. Trail runners unite!
Finishing the Traprock was a milestone I will not soon forget, but this won’t be my last trail run. Running the Traprock has confirmed what I had already suspected – I am a trail junkie at heart! Combining running and the trail is genius to me, a perfect storm of physical and mental challenge.
Running it on the trail is a roller coaster ride that only the strong will survive, and I am happy to report Sarah and I both finished. We tripped over a few roots and our times may not have been anything to write home about but we did it!
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