Usually the Molalla River Trail Race is held in October, but due to the epic storm that never was, BLM recreation areas were closed on race day delaying the event until November. Thankfully, November has been quite mild and we had perfect race temperatures with just a light amount of rain. While trails were a bit muddier than last year, overall trail conditions were pretty decent – especially for November.
Since parking is limited At Molalla River Trail Race shuttle buses were available, however this year a group of us from Canby opted to bring our own “bus” (a Sprinter van) and we arrived early so we could park near the check-in area. Check-in was quick and easy, so we had plenty of time to use the port-a-potties, socialize, warm-up, use the port-a-potties (again,) and take the 1/3 mile hike up to the starting area.
I ran the 10K, but there was also a 5K and half marathon option. The 10K starts with a lot of gradual uphill, which had me removing my long-sleeved layer less than a mile into the run. Not far into the course, roars could be heard in the distance. The roaring Big Foot was found at the first water stop. He seemed happy to have company out on the Molalla River Trails and high-fived us as we passed by. Next we arrived at the infamous “wall.” A 3/4 mile hill that I found to be more of a hike than a run. Just walking up that hill had me breathing hard. It is quite the climb. Fortunately, what goes up must come down and the 2nd half of the course had more downhill than up. The 2nd half of the course is also on single track trail. While that can slow you down a bit, I find that to be the most fun part of the run. Running on single track forces both your mind and body to participate in the run together. You have to watch your footing closer, pay attention to the direction you are going, and yet you can still enjoy being out in nature. I find it more challenging than just pounding the pavement, but something about it is just exhilarating. I feel like I’m just out having fun – because I am!
The 10K wraps up with a sweet downhill, and finishers were given a medal and a bottle of water. There was an area set up right next to the finish line to check your results and then there was a 1/3 mile cool-down hike to grab snacks, warm soup, and any gear that was checked.
My fellow Run Oregon blogger, Joe Dudman, ran the 5K and set a new course record this year. Way to go, Joe! You make us all proud.
I was wet from the misty rain and had muddy feet and legs, but it was a great run. The Molalla Running Club does a great job with organizing this trail run and the course is staffed with plenty of volunteers and signage. The race ran smoothly from start to finish – despite the need to change the date. I would highly recommend this fall trail run. I will definitely be back again and again.