Once again it is time for the South County 4th Season Trail season put on by Mike Galoob. It's always a fun, low-key race series that brings out the best local runners. Last year featured some stiff team competition between WTAC and Rhode Runners, with WTAC taking the win thanks to RR not showing up for this race last year. That would not be the case this year as they were out in force.
Past races here involved frigid temperatures, plenty of snow or both. This year was downright pleasant. Most people had more layers but after a short warm-up I was content to run in the singlet and gloves. Galoob lined us up and went over the course - it was plenty different from previous years. We'd be going in the opposite direction and incorporating some new trails. With a shout from Mike we were off. The new start was less frantic which was a big plus. After rounding the ballfield I entered the woods, close on the heels of the lead pack.
|The start was more reasonable than year's past - Photo by Jana Walker|
|Hot on the heels of the lead pack as we enter the woods (it would not last)|
Photo by Jana Walker
A young kid in a Level Renner singlet was ahead of me and began to slip and trip almost immediately. The uphill climb made passing tough and once it leveled off I went by him, sticking close to the lead pack. This was probably a mistake but it was hard to ease off. Jeff soon went by me and he quickly put distance on me. I heard footsteps behind me so I tried to keep the pace up. We hit a muddy stretch, most of which I just plowed through. The mud/leaves was definitely slick and there was some slipping/sliding on my part. A bearded fella passed me on this muddy section and soon Chris Fox did the same. I didn't have another gear to stick with them and watched them speed off after Jeff.
|A respite from the trail with Bob Corsi hunting me down|
Photo by Jana Walker
The muddy section ended with a stream crossing and then we doubled back on familiar trails before heading around the pond. There was no one in front of me now. The passers had left me in the dust. Robert Corsi and a bunch of Rhode Runners were on my heels so I tried to push hard through the next rooty section. We came out of the woods for a brief section of pavement/grass and I was very tired now. Galoob was there and said that there were big hills up ahead. Great.
Back in the woods, Galoob's hills soon arrived and I felt like I was barely moving up them. I was hurting now and ready to be done. The hills were followed by a twisty section of new downhill trail before it began to climb one last time. I saw bearded guy amongst these turn arounds but he was way ahead. When the final downhill section began I could see that I had a big lead over Corsi & Co. which was good as I was feeling spent. I crossed the finish line in 8th place, wiped out but happy with my race.
|Wrapping up the pain - Photo by Jana Walker|
It was a tough race for everyone. People were muddy and bloody at the finish. Jonny had a great race and placed third. Shira Fuller was the female winner. Unfortunately the Rhode Runners made a statement, placing 1st, 2nd and 4th. They easily took the male team competition but luckily the WTAC women also showed up to race and took the win for the ladies. Afterwards a very short cooldown and then food and conversation as Galoob distributed prizes like Santa Claus. This is always a fun race and I'm looking forward to the Resolution 5k next month.