I must confess, when I decided to attempt to run all 12 races in the Minnesota Trail Run Series, the Trail Loppet 5K in Wirth Park really didn't sound all that interesting to me. It was scheduled just 2 weeks after Moose Mountain Marathon, which is primarily why we chose the 5K for the 10'th race of the series rather than their flagship half marathon. Moose Mountain was my "big" race this year (and on my favorite trail to boot), so in addition to needing a little recovery time, everything else afterwards seems a little bit of a let down.
Woke up to a hazy morning and drove the short distance to Wirth Park in Minneapolis. The weather was shaping up to be beautiful for a short hop through the woods - low 60's, a little humid, sunshine, and no wind. Met up with many of the usual cast of characters: Jim, Wayne, John, Kate, Brook, Steve, and Lisa - all except Wayne were running the shorter distance.
The 5K basically covered the same trail as the first few miles of the half marathon, which started only 10 minutes later. This did result in a few log jams on the narrow single track portions of the trail as the front runners in the half marathon caught up to the slower 5K runners. The beginning of the course was basically a wider asphalt trail that has seen some better days, which led up a short hill and then over broken concrete slabs in front of the building where we picked up our race packets. I thought this was supposed to be a trail race?
We finally got into some single track with a few very short technical sections. Very short. Then it was out onto grass and running past a school, back into the woods and along a power line section [nothing like the infamous power lines of Voyageur ;)], and more short sections of single track. The course then popped out onto a sidewalk which ran alongside a road bordering Wirth Park, then back onto asphalt pretty much the rest of the way to the finish.
There seemed to be a pretty good turn out for both events, and I believe the proceeds benefit the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation. If you've never tried trail running before, this would be a fun way to get your feet wet and see what it's like to run in the dirt, especially since you can compare it to asphalt and concrete all in the same race! Personally, I would have preferred more running on dirt trails instead of the pavement, but it was still a great day to be out in the woods with my buddies :)
Looking forward to a nice 10 miler in beautiful Frontenac State Park next weekend!
1 day ago