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Race Preview: 2014 Willamette Mission Trail Challenge in Salem

willamette-mission-trail-challenge-logoI have said it once, and shall repeat it many times, road running is fun but the real excitement lies in trail running. Soft footing, generally a nice natural setting, and a more variegated view than the road are all the bonuses involved with leaving the pavement. Depending on the location, things like animals, treacherous footing, and getting lost could be possible downsides. At yet another awesome race put on by Run Wild Adventures, those should not be an issue at this particular event.

Located at Willamette Mission State Park, just outside of Salem, the Willamette Mission Trail Challenge offers a 5K and 10K race. Scheduled for May 3rd, the terrain, and severity of the water crossings will depend on our ambivalent Oregon spring weather. It could be dusty and dry, or muddy and wet, depending on the rainfall in the days leading up to it. In fact, Matt’s recap from last year’s event described:

What could have been (and what has been prior to 2012) a muddy trail run, was instead a dry and sure footed atmosphere.

The course is described as mostly flat, traversing single and double track trails. Both courses are loops, and start at the same time, so the 5K just branches off first to head back.  Matt also described the course this way:

The newly mowed and trimmed trails greeted runners of both distances as we circled the park. The first 3/4 mile is pretty slow, aside for the top handful of elite runners, as the trail is thin with only a few areas for passing. However, it is actually kind of nice, as the surrounding atmosphere is peaceful and meant to be taken in…As the trail widened, we hit a large open field that the trail encircled near the small Goose Lake, followed by a dusty dirt trail bordering the park boundary before disappearing back into the covered tree canopy. What may have been a river crossing, if conditions were different, were nothing more than a brief rocky path. The final few couple miles to the finish were the most “rolling” of the race but still pretty minor considering some trails races I have been to.

There will be age group awards in 5 year increments as well as random prizes. Pets are welcome, but jogging strollers are not.

The gun goes off at 9, but registration opens at 7:30.  You can also register online here. It is $25 on the event day, so you save seven dollars by registering beforehand. There are no refunds or transfers, and the field is limited to 300 participants. Sign up soon and I will see you there!!

Willamette Mission Trail Challenge (Salem)

When: 9a on May 4, 2014

Where: Willamette Mission  State Park

Register: Online here; $18 or $25 DOR

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