- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Trail Race
- Event Website
For some context, Tails 'n Trails is a dog-friendly event, where people can run or walk with their dog(s) over a 1 mile, 5k, 10k or half marathon distance.
This is the 3rd year of Tails 'n Trails, and my first time actually running it. Usually, I do the 1 mile walk with our kids and dog while my wife runs, so I was really excited to give it a go. The race takes place at Chalco Hills Recreation Area, which is in the Southwestern part of the Omaha metro. It has a huge lake and a variety of trail options including paved, a wide mowed grass trail and some single track (but I wouldn't say it's a great place if you're looking for a lot of single track).
The first thing you notice when you arrive is that the race is all about dogs. It's the whole purpose of the event - the proceeds go to three local area dog rescues. If you don't like dogs, don't do this race. If you love, or even like, dogs, you'll have a blast. Music is playing loud, dogs (all leashed) are making new friends and dog lovers are making new friends. Having been to this event for the past three years, I can say there's never been an issue with a dog getting aggressive with another dog or a human.
The races start at 8:00 with the gun for the half marathoners. At 8:05, the 10k runners go. 8:10 for the 5k and 8:15 for the 1 mile. From the start, you're immediately dumped into the trails, which are wide enough to run a few people across. You start a gentle climb almost immediately, and it's rolling hills from there. Some of the trail is tree-covered, while other parts are fully-exposed to the sun. There are a couple of water-ish crossings in the first couple of miles, but I was able to jump them without any issue.
At around the 2.5 mile mark, you hit some paved trail for a brief period, before getting kicked into some single track. It really is single track. If you try to pass, you'll be running in hip-high grass, so you had better make any passes beforehand. The single track doesn't last long before it widens again, only to kick you back into more single track. This continues for another couple of miles, at which time you come to the top of a really tall and steep, wide, mowed grass hill. This is a great time to let your legs go and let momentum carry you down.
From there, you go up another hill and you're within a mile of the finish. You wind around some wide trails that are net downhill and can use your momentum to cruise in for a fast finish.
Throughout the course, there are several water stops/aid stations and plenty of volunteers to direct traffic. I thought the course was well-marked, too. The 10k and half marathon runners (who do two loops of the course) follow the orange markings and flags, while the 5k runners follow the yellow. I had no issues finding my way at any point on the course.
All half marathon finishers receive a finishers medal. Awards for all races were $50 Fleet Feet gift cards. The swag is great, as each participant gets a t-shirt and a bag full of stuff including dog treats, dog food, a Tails 'n Trails bandanna and some other stuff.
This is one we look forward to every year. If you like animals, I highly recommend giving this a shot!