As noted in a previous post, this series has to be one of the best running deals in the state. If you are a member of the club ($20 individual, $30 family) the races are free - well actually we pay you, because the club buys breakfast from the Rocky Mountain Bagel Works (sponsor of the FireKracker 5k) after the race. In addition, the top five finishers over the series receive checks to one of the two local running stores in town to the tune of $85, $50, $30, $20, $15 (in addition to the 15% discount that all club members enjoy at Runners Roost or Foot of the Rockies). Better yet, the T&H is a handicapped series, meaning everyone has an equal shot at scooping the loot, regardless of age, sex or ability.
The focus of this series, and FCRC more broadly, is participation, but it is always nice to add an extra element of competition and a shot at a free pair of shoes. As an added bonus to an already mind-blowing deal, each and every race will be wheel measured (with the exception of the trail race, which is GPS measured), ensuring an accurate course. We have designed the series in such a way that distances build towards the Club's Horsetooth Half Marathon, with the longest run - 10 miles - coming just two weeks before Fort Collins' biggest, best and most scenic 13.1 miler.
I've been RD'ing this series now for a couple of years, and finally talked the board into including a trail race in the series. With weather and other concerns in mind, we have made the 3.8-mile trail trip around Pineridge Reservoir the first race in the series.
Pineridge at dusk. Photo: James Leveille
This is a great opportunity for those looking to explore the world of trail racing. The distance is manageable, the footing varied (crushed gravel and singletrack), and there are a sprinkling of rolling hills to keep you honest. It's also a great race for more experienced trail runners looking to set an inaugural course record (and FKT) for others to take a stab at in future years.
The rest of the series looks like this:
Oct 4 Pineridge 3.8 miles (from Pineridge parking lot, not Maxwell)
Nov 1 Warren Park 5k
Dec 6 Edora Park 8k
Jan 3 Rolland Moore 4k
Feb 7 Lee Martinez 10k
Mar 7 Cottonwood Glen 12k
Apr 4 TBA 10 mile
Another (free) race I am excited to draw people's attention to is an out-of-state tour around Utah's beautiful Zion National Park. Pure Zion is an inaugural race being put on by the fine folks at Wilderness Running as a means of giving back to the running community and trail running more specifically. The guys at Wilderness Running operate out of St. George, Utah, and offer nothing ... nothing ... but trail running gear. Their expertise in the field is unsurpassed, and their pricing is as competitive as the more generic retailers of trail running gear (especially if you use the coupon code advertised on the right sidebar of this blog).
I love red dirt! Photo: Wilderness Running
The run is set for November 7, and will include a 20-mile course and a 15-mile course. Like the T&H, the emphasis is on participation and an appreciation of the beautiful places we trail runners get to suffer in. This inaugural event is a test run for both Wilderness Running and the Park Service issuing their permit, so space is very limited - act fast. More details here: http://www.wildernessrunning.com/index.php?page=pure-zion-2009.
One last race note: The Fort Collins Trail Runners' Blue Sky Marathon (half, 'thon, 50k) is 100 percent sold out, but there is a bib exchange for those hoping to get in. Contact the race committee if you want to run, and they'll do their best to hook you up with someone who has an entry but can't make the race.