East Coast Trail Racing Report – March '10

Welcome to the East Coast Trail Racing Report, your ultimate source for trail racing news from the East. As Tony Portera’s column, This Week in Running, does a great job covering ultras, this report will focus mainly on marathon distances and below. As the name implies, we’ll be covering the East Coast. Specifically, every month ECTRR will cover trail racing news from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Early 2010 East Coast Racing
Below are some early 2010 highlights from out East.

January
In January, the lack of snow and ice disappointed those of us who like to run screws through perfectly good shoes, but the trails were fast. Here are some highlights:

  • Bushwhacker’s Nightmare Trail Run near Pittsburgh saw George Toomey pick off the 10k win for his third straight year. Tammy Slusser, a prolific winner in the area, won the title for the women.
  • The Carolina Trail Run Series started the year with the Charlotte Running Company Trail Race at the National White Water Center in Charlotte. Lat Purcer and Colleen Angstadt were fastest in the half marathon.
  • Pretzel City Sports drew over 600 to the Chilly Cheeks Trail Run in Reading, PA. Cooper Linde picked it up a notch and out dueled Daryl Weaver for the victory, but the big story of the day was Gina Lucrezi knocking a whopping five minutes off the 7.2 mile course record for the women.
Chilly Cheeks Trail Run

Debra Gantz leads a pack of runners up Mount Mud near the finish of the Chilly Cheeks Trail Run in Reading, Pa. Photo by Derek Schultz

Early February
The double whammy of winter weather in early February postponed many events, here are some that survived:

Upcoming Races
Here’s just a few of the great races coming up in March on the eastern seaboard.

  • The Swannanoa Splashdown kicks things off on March 6th with 15k and 6k races in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Climb to the ridgeline of the Swanannoa’s on twisty, turny, mostly double track trails. The 15k takes you to High Windy, the highest peak at 4270 feet.
  • While I won’t cover a lot of  Fat Ass events, Harry Smith’s Buzzards Marathon near Harrisburg, PA, on March 7th stands above most. A true Fat Ass as God intended. Free, keep your own time if you want, one aid station at fifteen miles, unless there isn’t. Five killer climbs, no switchbacks here, but very runnable in between.
  • The New Jersey Winter Trail Series has their ten and five mile finales in Morristown on March 7th. With ninety percent single track trails, it’s a great new series that’s brought out a lot of new trail runners. Also, check out their website for a new multi-day, fixed time ultra coming up this summer.
  • EX2 Adventure’s Spring Backyard Burn Series comes to Hemlock Overlook Park, along historic Bull Run Creek, in Virginia on March 14th. Choose a five or ten mile distance in this D.C. area favorite.  The stacks of pizza waiting at the finish are reason enough to make this race worthwhile. The courses are run on mostly single track hiking trails and there are several areas where family and friends can watch the action.
  • On March 14th , the Trout Creek Trail Runs in Thonotosassa, FL gives you the choice of  a 15k or 5k race. Run through pine forests, oak hammocks, and around lakes on beautiful single track. The folks at Tampa Races sure are setting the benchmark for Florida trail running.
  • March 20th, Conyers, GA, Dirty Spokes Runnin’ The Rocks 10k.  This one has some great technical sections and stream crossings, not to mention it starts off on the steeplechase course at Georgia International Horse Park.
  • The St. Patty’s Scramble from Trimax Endurance Sports takes place March 21st at Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport, PA. Fifteen and six kilometer race options offer all types of trails and beautiful views, as well as a post race party at Ganley’s Pub.
  • The Tiadaghton Challenge 20k is a new event in central PA on March 27th that promises over ten thousand feet of elevation change in twelve miles. That’s a lot by the way. This race is a cousin to the PA Grand Slam Series, and should be just as brutal.
  • Not much ahead in New England until the Grand Tree Series kicks off, but the Finally Spring 5k takes place on trails in Manchester, Connecticut on March 20th. It’s actually closer to 6k and will have you climbing for the first mile.
  • Finally, on March 28th, one of the most ridiculous races that I have ever run – and I mean that as a compliment, is the Mudders and Grunters 5 Miler in Yorktown, NY. It won’t take you long to figure out why everyone wears goggles and duct tapes their shoes to their legs. The unbelievable knee deep mud makes this race feel like a five mile hill workout. You’ll also run straight into briars, and cross a freezing stream, which if you fall in like I did, will send you immediately into shock. Don’t miss it.

Call for Comments and More March East Coast Races
Are you planning to lace up your trail shoes and race into Spring on the East Coast? If so, please share where you’ll be toeing the line. Good luck!

Still looking for a March race? Well, for a more complete list of news and upcoming races, be sure to visit www.easterntrailracing.com .

A big thanks to Bryon for giving us the space. We’ll be back again with more results and race possibilities the same time next month.

[The East Coast Trail Racing Report is a monthly iRunFar feature highlighting recent East Coast marathon or shorter trail racing results and presenting some trail race options for the coming month. States covered include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.]

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