XTERRA ST LOUIS TRAIL RUN SERIESwr6.jpg (418103 bytes)

Details: Series Race 1
Saturday JUNE 30
Wildwood Romp Trail Run 10K
Place: BablerState Park

COURSE: The Race will take place on the park hiking trail system and utilize three interconnected trails: the Dogwood, Woodbine, and Virginia Day Trails. Runners will encounter a wide variety of challenging conditions. Footing is generally good, but there are root systems and some rocks.  Steep inclines, sections of tight single-track, numerous switchbacks, potential standing water, and dense side brush are just a few features of the heavily wooded course. There are even a few stretches where racers can run all out. The course will be well marked with arrows and trail tape.

XTERRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: The top 10 in each age group will score points in the 3-event XTERRA St Louis Trail Run Series. At the end of the series, the top five in each age group will be invited to race at the XTERRA National Trail Running Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

wr8.jpg (393466 bytes)Iíve only done one trail run and that was the Quivering Quads 10K. It was such a fun experience that when this run series was created I signed up right away. I was happy to find out that Carol and Jim Wright were going to run it too. The week prior to the race Carol mentioned that there might be some fast, serious trail runners since it was a championship qualifier. We decided that we were running it for fun.

wr4.jpg (447033 bytes)Race morning I checked in and got my number-4. I guess I was the fourth one to sign up. I think the highest bib number was around 64 or 65. Ticks reportedly had been a problem in Missouri so I applied bug repellent before I left home. I also decided to wear a cap. They had a different type of bug spray at the race so I sprayed that on too.

wr5.jpg (712901 bytes)Carol and I ran a warm up and then waited for the start. The race director gave us several instructions and I just hoped it was marked clearly because I could not remember all the details. The start was pretty laid back. The race director says ďI think weíll just run around the parking lot and then up to the trail, that should spread the pack out a little.Ē Carol and I were together in the parking lot and then I got kind of excited on the trail and I was running a bit ahead of her. Soon I realized that my pace was a bit too quick and slowed it down.  Carol and I ran then together for a while. Carol said she kind of wondered about me going out that quick and afterwards I thought about it. There was another lady that I was sure was our age group and I wanted to get ahead of her. Yeah, sure I was running for fun. Speaking of fun, I enjoyed running up and down the trails. The trail did have a lot of dense brush that at times invaded the trail. It had rained for two days prior so there were so slimy slippery spots. You really had to watch your step. Carol was wr7.jpg (853148 bytes)cautious going downhill and then would fly going uphill. For a while I ran behind Carol. About halfway though the race I could tell she got comfortable because she zoomed up a hill and I could no longer stay with her. The course was sort of like a figure eight. We went out to the left did a loop, came back to the start and went to the right for a loop. At the start was an aid station with water and heed. I made one wrong turn on the course, realized it and then ran back only to find myself behind people I had been ahead of. I worked hard caught up and passed them. It was an overcast day consequently it was a bit dark in the woods.  Trail running is a great adventure. There are roots to watch out for and logs to jump over. You are surrounded by the beauty of Godís creation and it is truly exhilarating.

Hereís an editorial from the Swim Bike Run St. Louis site:

The event took participants through a very challenging off-road course in BablerState Park. Runners were confronted with a pair of twisting, 200-foot gains within the first two miles as well as very humid conditions throughout.

wr3.jpg (613114 bytes)The people who run trail races are different. You tend to see stockier people than you do at a road race. Some wear trail shoes and not everyone wears running shorts.  Before the race you donít experience the tension like you do around the sleek thoroughbreds at say a 5K road race. Itís a little more relaxed. Thatís not to say there arenít some incredibly fast serious competitors. I had the opportunity to watch the first three leaders go by me on an out and back section and they were extraordinary.

wr.jpg (408947 bytes)I finished with a time of 1:06:24 and afterwards Carol and I ran a little more. We got back while the attendance prizes were being given out and they were calling her name. She won some no tie shoe laces, Jim got some cool Rudy Project sunglasses and I got some socks that say swim bike run St. Louis. I ended up taking third in my age group and received a cool bronze medal with the Xterra logo on it. Carol came in second. There are two more races in the series and I canít wait to go do the next one!

Ps-no ticks or poison ivy.