Out on Saturday the 25th of October for my first ever trail run. Not sure exactly what was going to happen, just that it was very likely to be hilly! With the Obihiro half-marathon coming up in a week, I just wanted to finish without pushing too hard or injuring myself. Oh and not to come last either… Not sure how many casual runners enter this kind of race, after all!
The race started at 9:30am with 18 entrants in the men’s event. The course was flat to start with and very soft underfoot. I even managed to roll my ankle quite early on, but no damage there fortunately! It started to go up and down quite quickly after that though with one particularly steep climb. Hard work. The first water station was at 2.5K, didn’t need it, but took it anyway.
After a while the course flattened out and the trail got a lot firmer underfoot as well. Started to pick up the pace and pass people too. Some people had stopped to walk as soon as it flattened out so I knew I probably wasn’t going to come last. Of course, there were a bunch of river crossings to deal with to keep things interesting. Four on the way out (and naturally, four on the way back). The first two you could just skip over, but you had no choice but to get wet on the third and fourth. Once you got used to the idea that you were going in shin-deep, they were actually quite refreshing!
The turnaround, and the second water station, was at 6K. Was quite enjoying running on the flats, but I knew it was going to get hard again. At this point I passed a guy thinking that I wouldn’t see him for the rest of the race, but he ended up passing me on the climbs. Slightly disappointed about that! I kept him in sight, but when we got to a downhill section he fully sprinted as hard as he could go (kinda nutty considering the trails we were on…) and totally burned me off. Funny though, as I came across him barely even walking and looking completely beat a little later. He didn’t pass me again!
Pretty tough going back up again and even managed to face-plant at about 9K. Fortunately the trail was really soft so it didn’t actually hurt, but it did take the wind out of me. Hard work getting back to my feet as well, wouldn’t have minded just staying there and taking a nap!
The third and final water station was at 9.5K and after that I just tried to hang on without letting anyone pass me again – with the exception of the winner of the 23K event, he cruised past me EASILY as the different races started to merge near the end. Wasn’t too worried about that though!
Ended up finishing in 1:26:49 and came 13th (out of the 18 guys in my event). No complaints there. Definitely interested in doing more of these races, just need “a little” more hill training and a pair of trail shoes too. Definitely fun. Kinda!