Tuesday, 5 March 2013

5 Peaks Trail Running Series - Try It!

The gorgeous sunshine in Simcoe County drew me out of the house for most of the day, hence the late posting. Although I kept thinking, what a great day to go for a run, I didn't make time for it and I truly regret it. Saw my running pal and neighbour Janate out for a run with her dog. Knowing she just got off her night shift as a nurse and had barely slept and was now out running, really left me thinking I had no excuses, save for lollygagging longer than necessary with errands, making a pit stop at Barrie's Sojourn Outdoors store to check out their winter sale (31 Commerce Park Drive, www.sojourn.com. Got some great minimalist cross trainers on sale) and then scrubbing down my entire fridge before loading it with groceries. Who scrubs out their fridge on a beautiful, sunny, mild winter day? Me, apparently.

While I am excited to note I will soon be posting my first interview on this blog about a friend who is amazingly fit and who practises a fascinating sport, tonight I thought, in keeping with the coming change in season, why not blog a bit about the 5 Peaks Trail Running Series. Time is ticking away and before long, registration will be closed.

Last year was my introduction to running trails. I signed up for the  5 Peaks Southern Ontario series with my friend Janate. While we chose to sign up for all five runs, (there are discount incentives) you certainly don't have to. There is a limit to how many can register, and there are options for running a short ("Sport") course (about 5-7 km) or a long ("Enduro") course (about 12-15km). The series attracts families too, since every race offers timed events and free events for children.

What I loved about the 5 Peaks was the sheer pleasure of running on forest trails. While there are always those at the front of the pack who are aiming to "podium," many are there just for the experience - to follow along on a trail on a new adventure, to challenge themselves, to breathe the fresh forest air and drink in some spectacular views.

If trail running is something you'd like to try, I'd recommend trying one of these events. The participant numbers are small, you can easily run (and sometimes climb and walk) at your own pace. Courses are clearly marked (I never felt lost and I have a bad sense of direction on a good day), there are water and aid stations throughout the course and after the awards ceremony there are several draws for great prizes. Last year weather co-operated for the most part, but even if it's lousy, the experience just makes for a better story afterwards! For more information on the 2013 5 Peaks Trail Running Series visit www.5Peaks.com.

5 Peaks Trail Running Series 2013 (Southern Ontario)

May 25 - Hardwood Ski & Bike (just north of Barrie)
June 8 - Rattlesnake Point (Milton)
July 13 - Albion Hills (Palgrave)
September 14 - Heart Lake (Brampton)
October 5 - Highlands Nordic Centre (near Duntroon, S of Collingwood)

Trail Running Memories from a 5 Peaks "Newb"

  1. The soft ground means less of a hard impact on landing.
  2. The uneven ground slows your pace if you're not used to this kind of running.
  3. Rattlesnake Point has great rock climbing segments that give you a break from running.
  4. Hardwood Ski & Bike is a beautiful course and is right in our backyard in Simcoe County.
  5. Highlands Nordic is where I sprained my ankle about 500 metres from the finish. Ouch.
  6. I was passed at two of the runs by the same 70 year old man, who podiums every time for his age category because he is the only one in his age category. Awesome!
  7. A guy who ran with a knapsack packed with I don't know what (survival gear?) kept pace with me at more than one race. If it wasn't for the rhythmic clanging and clinking of the contents of his pack I wouldn't have minded so much.
  8. Running in the rain isn't so bad when you're sheltered in the woods.
  9. Often, likely because of my slow pace, I felt completely alone in the woods and it felt so peaceful.
  10. Arriving first thing gives one time to pick up your race kit, drink coffee, pee, stretch, pee, warm up and pee before heading to the start line.

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