Trail Monster Running

Visit the official TRAIL MONSTER RUNNING website for information on upcoming group runs, local trails, trail races and more, including the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival and the Bradbury Mountain trail Running Series.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blackstrap Hell Trail Challenge

I don't know if Hell is really the right name for this event, Hell isn't supposed to be so much fun. I guess if you're not a Trail Monster then you might find these conditions Hell, but everyone I saw seemed to be loving it.

Jeff reminded me after the run today that it was only one week ago when we were out having a beer that we concocted the idea of a free and casual race for our fellow Trail Monsters on the land of the Blackstrap Hill Preserve in Falmouth. Luckily Jeff knows these trails well and had even made an attempt earlier in the year to establish a "real" race at this location, so he had already done a lot of the ground work (unfortunately some people in that town don't think running on these trails is a very safe thing to do). So all we needed to do was get the word out, do a little course marking and hope that a couple people would show up.

Jeff immediately jumped into action, ignoring his chores at home, and in no time produced a course map, a website, and devised an incredibly sophisticated/mysterious formula for predicting how long it would take someone to run his course based on their finishing times at other local races. The idea was that this would be a moderately competitive group run, not quite a race, and would try to strike the fine balance between extreme physical effort and a friendly walk in the woods. The plan was to start runners off one at a time, from slowest to fastest in an effort to bring everyone together at the end. Jeff's plan worked brilliantly with most people finishing no more than 3 minutes outside of their predicted time. That's even more impressive when you consider that no one, not even Jeff, had run the course in it's entirety before race day and no one was fully prepared for the severity of the wetness on the course (participants had to make a stream crossing just to get from the parking lot to the start line!)

I was amazed at the number of people that responded to our last minute plans for the event, a total of 26 runners showed up, plus 2 dogs. No one was safe from the water and mud. We all had wet feet before the start and it sounded like most people, myself included, fell in at the first stream crossing about 1/4 mile into the race. We all continued to get wetter and muddier as the run went on. I'll let the photos I took during the run do the talking for me, and share the experiences of a few other participants:

Another fun twist to the event is that we asked all participants to predict their finishing time, and then run with their watch faces covered. George Alexion was the winner in this category finishing just over 1 minute off his predicted time! Brett Hellstedt was a double winner by being the first person to cross the finish line and also running the fastest time overall (handicap races don't always work out this way). Shauna Baxter ran the fastest time for the women.


Thanks Jeff for all the hard work that went into putting together such a fun event on very short notice. Thanks to both you and Cacky for hosting the after-party, I'm sure you'll get the results posted as soon as you're finished cleaning up after all of us!


mindy said...

Wow, it sounded like a great time! Wish I could have been there - we are in PA until Tuesday. Hopefully I'll catch the next one!

middle.professor said...

Super pics Ian. Sore knee? I'm thinking you must have run pretty fast in between taking all these pictures!

Jamie said...

Looks like a LOT of fun! Awesome you guys had a great time.

Aurora said...

Being wet and muddy is fun. Unless you discover later that you don't have a change of clothes and can't shower for about a week. Then it's not so fun.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff and Cacky. Dante would be proud. Also, thanks Ian and Trail Monsters for getting me on the trails these past 6 months. Nate