My experience with trail running is limited to a couple of runs. During my training for the 2010 Ottawa marathons I had a chance to complete a 16 km trail run a couple of weeks before the marathon while I was on vacation on Vancouver Island. I enjoyed the experience as it felt like a complete change of pace from my usual runs through city streets. Of course the background of snowcapped mountains and the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia certainly helped as well.
Last month I had an opportunity to complete my first trail race as I participated in the 5 Peaks Enduro Race at Camp Fortune, a ski hill near Ottawa http://www.5peaks.com/schedule.asp?p=oq&raceid=217. Given that I am currently training for the Prince Edward County Marathon on October 3rd, I treated this race as more of a training run than an actual race.
Two options distance options were offered for this race. The Sport Course (6 km) and the Enduro Course (12 km, two laps of the Sport Course). I decided to register for the Enduro Course in order to keep up with my weekly mileage for my marathon training program.
It was quite humid the morning of the race and it was raining on and off so the course was slippery, especially on the rocky portions. The first half of the course primarily running uphill on narrow switchback trails leading to the top of the ski hill. I managed to complete the race in 1:11 which was good enough for 20th place out of 57 finishers. Seeing as how I did not have a set goal going into the race I was quite pleased with my result.
Once again a trail run provided me with a change of pace and a nice diversion from my usual training runs through the streets of Ottawa. I am not sure that I want to take up traail running regularly but I would certinly contemplate doing this race again next year.