Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Frozen Trail Run Fest 50k

What better way to prepare for the holidays than a 5 hour mudfest in nearby Eugene? Last Saturday, December 18th, was the inaugural Frozen Trail Runfest down in the Mt. Pisgah arboretum. Nothing frozen about the trails, though, just some serious puddles, bogs and mud!

26 brave runners opted for the 50k, while over 125 others chose from five non-ultra distances. The morning was cold and the sky looked ominous as the 50k started at a very casual pace. I ran the first mile or so with Dan Olmstead at the back of the lead pack. We both were there with the same idea: to get in a good long run with a little technical before heading to the Bandera 100k in three weeks.
Having fun in the mud (all photos by Long Run Photography)

The course was four slightly varied laps around or over Mt. Pisgah and the course map looked more like a child's scribbles than a helpful guide. The instructions to the map read something like: White loop, start white, then purple, then white, then white loop, then white trail to green loop back to white to the finish. But the course was exceptionally marked such that what was incomprehensible on paper became an easy to follow route on foot. Well, that is to say the directions were easy to follow; the running was not so easy. Much of the trail was unavoidable thick mud and there were many ankle deep "lakes" to splash across. With a dose of optimism, these vast puddles became an opportunity to wash some of the mud off ones shoes. All of the mud plus 3970' of climbing (and much of it quite slick) made for a fun, albeit slow, day. The rain held off for most of the day and I even got a sunbreak as I summited Mt. Pisgah at mile 28.

At 42 degrees and sunny, it was practically balmy on the summit! I even had to unzip my jacket!
Doesn't it look like I had fun? Check out the thigh-high mud! I did that all without falling.
Every runner dreams of being crowned champ with a plastic pine bough.
Dan and I say,"Bring it, Texas!" ;)

I came home just a wee bit muddy!

That reminds me - I still have a lot of muddy clothes in the laundry room sink to attend to!

This was a fun event that definitely upstages Hagg Lake for Oregon's muddiest ultra! Eclectic Edge events did a great job this year filling voids in March and December, by offering two new 50k's. While the Frozen Trail Runfest was a small event, it was challenging and unique. I could see this becoming a perennial pre-holiday event.