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If your experience as a runner has been largely (or exclusively) on the road, it’s important to recognize the trails are different. You have hills, uneven terrain, and more to deal with when you run on the trails.
Running on the trails is a blast, but it’s generally a bit more demanding to run on the trails than to run on the road. So, if it’s your first time doing a trail race with us and/or you’ve never done any kind of trail running before, err on the side of caution. Do the 5K or 10K. Save the half marathon for your second or third trail race.
Unlike a typical road race with thousands of runners, our races are smaller, more intimate affairs. Our races usually see 200-300 people. So, if you’re expecting thousands of people and spectators, you’ll likely be disappointed.
This being said, we always have 2-3 aid stations on the course (that frequently play music), we always have 2-3 course marshals (if not more) that are friendly and often play music. We also include a trail treasure hunt as part of our races that gives all runners a chance to win some cool prizes.
In short, what we may lack in ‘numbers’, we try to make up for with ‘energy’. We really try to show you a good time and deliver a high quality ‘trail party’.
You can always count on massage at the end of our races, chilled, local microbrew, tons of snacks, Robot Dance Party providing music and entertainment, games, vendors providing samples, and more.
The trails are a wonderful, special, magical place that we’re very fortunate to have access to. In contrast to a road race where you typically see road closures and you have exclusive access, our races do not entail this kind of exclusive access.
This means we share the trails with other runners, cyclists, hikers, and critters that live in, on, or around the trails. Please keep this in mind when you’re out on the trails. Be kind, respectful, and share the trails. We’re lucky to spend time on them.
As a runner, it’s always a good idea to do some due diligence as race day approaches. It’s important to know where the race starts/ends, what the weather is going to look like, what’s being provided at the aid stations, etc.
This is PARTICULARLY important when it comes to tackling a trail race as there are simply more variables and challenges to consider. You may be running up and down hills. You may be dealing with uneven terrain. You may even encounter some critters!
We provide our runners with course maps via MapMyRun w/accompanying elevation charts, a downloadable PDF document w/turn-by-turn directions you can print, and lots of detail around the logistics of our races via email, our Facebook page, and more.
Take advantage of the all the information we provide and try to spend a little time getting acquainted with the course. Identify the tough hills. Get a better idea of what you’re tackling. If possible, get out to the park where the race is taking place and run a few miles on the trails.
A little due diligence can go a LONG way towards having a positive experience on race day!
Every day before one of our races, we spend hours marking our courses with colored flagging tape (yellow for 5K, blue for 10K, red for half marathon, black/white indicates you are going the wrong way). This is pretty common practice with most/all trail races.However, we have limited control over what happens AFTER we put down our course markings.
We do our best to communicate to the park where we’re hosting our races and communicate to anyone/everyone who uses the park that the markings are for a race and they are temporary in nature.
This being said, our markings do get tampered with on occasion. This may be because someone is annoyed by them. This may occur by accident.
Whatever the reason(s) may be for tampering with our course markings, it’s important to recognize that this can and does happen on occasion.
Fortunately, we do provide all our runners with printed cheat sheets that include turn-by-turn directions. We consider it MANDATORY for all our runners to have a printed copy when they head out.
Independent of this, we try very hard to place course marshals at key intersection where there might be confusion. We also try our best to put up additional signage at spots that might be challenging/confusing.
This is pretty much required. We print copies of cheat sheets/turn-by-turn directions and have them on race day for all runners. Independent of this, we always send a link to a PDF document that you can print that has the cheat sheet/turn-by-turn directions prior to race day.
It is critically important to have a printed copy of the cheat sheet/turn-by-turn directions because course markings ‘are’ tampered with on occasion. This is where the cheat sheets can come in really handy.
We don’t want any of our runners getting lost. The cheat sheets can help a great deal in preventing anyone from getting lost. Please use them.
It’s a natural instinct, but if someone is heading down a path in front of you that is not marked with our course flags (red, blue, yellow) or following a trail not indicated in the cheat sheet/turn-by-turn directions, it’s probably not a good idea to follow them. It may even be a good idea to let said person know they may be heading the wrong way.
In short, it’s not the best idea to ‘assume’ that the person in front of you knows where they’re going or what they’re doing. This is particularly the case if they are heading somewhere that is ‘unmarked’. Keep this in mind on race day.
We’d discourage wearing headphones and zoning out during our races. It’s important to be engaged and attentive during our races. This enables you to more readily identify course markings, key turns, and maybe even find some prizes!
It definitely pays to pay attention during one of our races. Pay attention to where you’re going, look for course markings, and pay attention to the trail in front of you. Being engaged and attentive during your race will pay dividends in a variety of ways!
No consumer GPS device and/or app (Garmin, Suunto, MapMyRun, SportMe Run Trainer, etc.) is 100% accurate in the BEST of conditions.
Let’s assume you were to run an easy, flat two miles on the road with a friend. You use a Garmin to measure mileage. Your friend elects to use the exact same Garmin device. The chances of the two of you getting the ‘exact’ same 2.0 miles on your respective device(s) are slim to none.
What might be a ‘slight’ discrepancy on the road can become a MARKED discrepancy on the trails. Please keep this in mind when you participate in our races. GPS can be unreliable on the trails.
We have measured our courses. We have mapped our courses. We have run our courses.
The distance reflected on the course maps are generally accurate despite the fact that your device/app might say otherwise.
There are tons of great races out there. We like to think that ours are pretty good too.
We try hard to give our runners a world class experience providing well marked courses, chip timing, technical shirts, well-stocked aid stations, medals for half marathoners, woodallions for 5K/10K runners, a nice post race experience including lost of snacks, beverages (including BEER!), massage, and entertainment.
We have no illusions we’re going to make everyone happy. But, this is always the hope. We always strive for this.
If this is your first time doing one of our races, recognize that our races ‘might’ be different from races you’ve done in the past. Maybe what we offer at the end of the race is different. Maybe the food we offer is different. Maybe we don’t do things other races do. By the same token, we may do things that other races don’t.
Every race production company out there (and there are A LOT of them) does things a bit differently. This is something to consider. The Hot Chocolate Run is not the same as The Color Run.
A race produced by Sasquatch Racing is probably not going to be the same as a race produced by another production company. It’s important to recognize that all races are different because they are produced by different companies. Each of these companies likely has their own ‘vision’ for what they want their races to be, how they look, and what they want the experience to be.