Unique Race Preview: Shellburg Falls Trail Run in Lyons

So this past weekend was the ever-popular Silver Falls Marathon weekend, put on by Run Wild Adventures. But RWA is so much more than just a weekend of running – they have plenty of other amazing Winter and Spring events – the next of which is the Shellburg Falls Trail Run on Saturday, December 6.

This race is 5.2 miles of scenery, exhaustion, and downright awesomeness. The city of Lyons is about 25 miles east of Salem on Highway 22, and features and area that really should be on more people’s radar. I competed my first time in 2012, and it was one of the more memorable runs I have participated in. The weather was chilly (it was December after all), but was mostly dry – overhead at least (underfoot was a little different story). The 2013 event was a majestic and snowy wonderland.
Shellburg 3.JPG

Disclaimer: the trail may actually be much wetter, muddier, or slick than this photo (read: more fun). Photo by Run Wild Adventures

The 2014 event is actually a shorter distance than in year’s past (5.2 compared to 7) and is taking out roads in place of trails. For those who have run before, you probably remember the long 1.5 mile stretch along the logging road. I personally liked this stretch, as it allowed me to make some headway on the people ahead of me, but I would agree that it sorta threw off the flow of the primarily trailed course. There will continue to be solid elevation gain (including one spot coined the “death hill”). It also features running behind a waterfall! You may be exhausted at the end, but you will not be disappointed. Here is a snippet from my 2013 recap:

Mile 2 is the “money” portion of the event- featuring yet another Run Wild Adventures race with a run behind a waterfall. Shellburg Falls is smaller than the giant ones elsewhere in the park, but it is breathtaking nonetheless. In fact, it was make especially awe-inspiring with icicles gripping to the cliff side. There were a few steps of literal frozen trail here, but lasted only a few seconds.
Following the waterfall, a gradual incline over the next 3/4 mile or so lead us to the Hill of Death. In fact, mile 1.75-3.75 almost feels like one continual Hill of Death. If you can make it thorough this section, you can make it on many area trail runs. But back to the Hill of Death specifically. Last year, I highlighted how it took me more than a few times to get up the hill due to the mud from the rain. I came in expecting the same, but was pleasantly surprised that there were no issues this year, even with the snow. HOWEVER, the hill still sucks (pardon my french). It’s not overly long, but it’s straight up. And just when you think you made it to the peak, there is more climbing. And when you finish that climbing- oh yeah- there’s a bit more.
But the scenery from the top is spectacular. Like crazy good. Like want to stop running for the day and just gaze over the Valley good. The next stretch along a narrow canopy-covered trail is a blast. The final few miles were along the snow covered service road, with running made easier by following the pre-made tire tracks, and a long downhill stretch to the finish.
With the capacity only at 250, make sure you don’t miss out on another great RWA event! For only $20, how can you go wrong?
When: 9a
Where: Shellburg Falls
Register: Online here; $20
About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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