Thinking about this race makes me smile. It exemplifies all things a race should be: fun, friendly, well marked, and well run. Also the series gives back to maintaining the trail system! It is clear the race directors have been doing this a while as nearly everything was dialed in.
Co-presented by Northwest Trail Runs and Seattle Running Club, who do we meet as we arrive on site, but Seattle Running Club President, Win Van Pelt! Not just that, he takes some time to talk to us about the trails and gives us some tips on trail running.
My one gripe with the race site was that there wasn't enough toilet facilities and parking might have been a bit tight. We got there early so it wasn't really much of an issue, but my guess is that others might not have enjoyed waiting in lines as the race was about to start.
Little details like confidence markers every 100-200 yards and flags indicating the direction of turns in and out of the turns made staying on course a breeze, a problem I've had in 2/3 trail races I've run so far. It was a bit annoying when the 13.X miler (they later called it a 14 miler so who knows how long it was) crossed the concurrent 8 mile race as I lead my race the entire time and had to pass people on sometimes tight single track.
That said, the course kicked my butt as it was pretty much a string of constant switchback ascents and descents. When I looked at the course record before signing up, I thought I'd have a pretty good shot at winning and setting a new record as the average pace was well over 7 min/mile. I finished extremely humbled and nearly bonking as I didn't expect what was billed as a little over 13 miles to take me 35 minutes longer than a road half marathon I had run the week prior.
I wish we had a similar well-run trail series in Chicago!
You can read more of my thoughts on this race in this guest blog that I wrote a while back: http://fluencysfolly.com/2013/10/30/kittaka-and-the-never-endingtrail/