After getting bit by the trail running bug a few years ago, I decided to try my hand (or feet?) at winter trail running. Fleet Feet Sports and YellowJacket Racing put on a winter trail race series each year called Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series, and in January 2013 I decided to give it a try.
The series features 6 nighttime trail races at Cobbs Hill Park in Rochester, NY. Each race varies a bit in distance, but promises a challenging (usually hilly) course between two and four miles. Because the races take place at night in the dark, headlamps are required for all runners.
This was not only my first time racing in the winter, it was also my first nighttime trail race. Although the trails are heavily congested during the first part of the race, once everyone settles into their pace and some distance opens up between runners the trails can become a peaceful winter wonderland.
The races go on as planned regardless of the weather (unless there is a state of emergency), and in Rochester that can mean fluffy snow at one race and muddy trails two weeks later. I got a nice taste of this variety in 2013, when I participated in three of the six events. The first race featured knee-deep fresh powder snow, and the last one I attended was a mucky, muddy mess. Whatever the conditions, the atmosphere is always a lot of fun and the post-race party is a great way to warm up in the lodge. I’m looking forward to registering for the entire series this winter and hoping for some snowy, wintry weather!
Do you enjoy winter trail running? Share your thoughts in the comments below!