It’s not often that someone can run trails for 4 hours and then feel like a pansy for not doing enough. Yet those were my exact feelings after this weekend’s sold out Wood Splitter Summer Solstice trail race benefiting For Those Who Would. Most participants signed up for the full event – a 15 hour trail ultra, designed to be run from dawn to dusk of the longest day of the year (summer solstice, hence the name). There was also a 4 hour version, which seems like a lot…. until you put it next to 15.
The course consisted of a 1 “and some change” mile loop around a lake, across meadows, and through woods. While a 1 mile loop for several hours sounds horrendous, there were so many different elements and views on this beautiful country trail that it didn’t become monotonous. I admit my bias, but this event had the feel of one of those niche races that people do every year and it becomes incredibly difficult for newcomers to get in to. Here are just 8 reasons why I think this.
- Restricted numbers of entrants (20 this year, maybe a few more next year) makes it feel more like a family affair. None of the worries that come with being just a number in the larger races.
- Racers, staff, and crews are in close contact with each other throughout the day, which also adds to the social appeal.
- Once again, the course was absolutely gorgeous and fun to run. Although it rained about 8 inches the week of and there was considerable mud, it is easy to see how it would be fabulous in normal conditions.
- Because the race is time-based and consists of a 1-mile loop, it provides racers with numerous options on laps, pacing, rests, etc. Almost everyone had different goals and were able to run their own race. Some were trying for peak miles. Some were training. Some were testing themselves. Some (me and David B.) ran it with their teenage kids. This was a great father-daughter experience.
- It attracted some serious runners…just check out the results from the 15 hour event.
- Pretty cool awards.
- The race benefits a charity that supports those who are unable to undertake physical challenges such as this because of chronic disease or devastating injuries.
- If something goes bad, worst case scenario is that you’re a maximum 1/2 mile from the finish line!
Caylan Hord, race organizer and For Those Who Would Supporting Athlete, had this to say:
“Wood Splitter Solstice Series is an intimate race for those athletes that are looking for a truly mental grind throughout the day.
The most gratifying part of the entire day, for me? It had to be waking up Sunday morning, and beginning to read the reviews from the runners, and how they were thinking about others and how they would be toughing it through the day, if they were able to. You don’t usually know if people truly think about the charity the race supports, when they are doing it, but this group of runners clearly took it to heart.”
Next up in the Wood Splitter series is the Winter Solstice Run in December, which is a mere 8 hours!