It started out as an agreement. A dare. Our trail running buddies, Dan & Linda agreed to run a road race if I would come along and try out a trail run. They stuck to their word and ran Varsity Kudus (*gasp* of all races!) in January. The pressure was on!
So last week, I headed off to run the Biogen Love Run 2016 night race at the PWC Bike Park to close off my end of the bargain.
It was my first trail run. I have never even run Park Run before.
Here’s some differences I noted compared to road running:
- The field is smaller. We’re used to a couple of thousands of runners lining up at the start of a road race. Here there must’ve been a max of about 350 runners. You can imagine my panic thinking I would come last in such a tiny field!
- It’s casual. Very casual. Runners arrived and sat on the grass embankment, some snacking on crisps, others playing on their cellphones. No one was doing any serious warming up. No lubing or vaselining.
- No ASA or temp numbers are needed. We each received a little bar-coded card to pin to our clothes. Race results were up the very next day too!
- Runners go out in batches. On road races, everyone goes off when the gun goes off at the same time.
- The paths are quite narrow. This means that passing someone slower in front of you is quite a challenge. I was unsure of the trail race etiquette, but goodness me, hardly anyone moves out the way for anyone else. It’s as if, sorry Jack, make your own way around me.
- People walk. They walk and no one else gives a damn. In road races, the walkers get a bad rap. Faster runners are always complaining that walkers should have their own start or that they get in the way of ‘real runners’. Trail running is different. If you want to walk, you do, and no one gives you any grief about it.
- You get dirty. My socks and my shoes were so dusty when I got home!
I really enjoyed it. It’s way less competitive than road running. It has a very relaxed vibe to it. And everyone seems to do their own thing and have fun.
The best part? My time was fantastic! I averaged 8:14 mins per km. I thought I’d be much slower. And, I came 9/26 in my category and 109/234 total of 5km runners!
The question I’m sure you’re asking is, “has the trail bug bitten?” A little. But I’d definitely need to go shopping for the right trail running shoes and a camel pack and perhaps try out a more technical course? And a daytime run. But yeah… It was fun. Dan and Linda, you guys were right!