I am excited to start inviting people to Digby’s first* trail race, but we have to wait just a few more days.
Early next week, we should be able to give you all the details, but here’s what we can say so far.
First off, mark April 25 on your calendars and start training for distances close to 2k, 5k and 10k.
April 25 is early – we know. Our hope is this will give some local runners a little push to start preparing for the summer season. And this shouldn’t conflict with any other races on the NS Trail Running series.
True, it’s hard to say what kind of weather we’ll have in late April and hard to say what the conditions will be like underfoot.
Suffice to say, you can do a chunk of your training on the treadmill, but you’re going to want to do at least a little outdoor work to get used to running in the cold weather – just in case. And you’re going to want to do some work on trails to get used to rocks and mud and maybe snow and ice underfoot too.
If you’re new to trail running, I’ll let you in on a little secret: there’s a lot more walking than you might imagine. If things get too rocky, too rooty, too slippery, too steep – too whatever – then trail runners think nothing of slowing down or even walking. This lollygagging might feel strange if you’re used to hammering out a 5 or 10k on the roads.
Our course is perfect for beginners wanting a taste of the woods, or for experienced runners looking for a warm up race. It’s mostly flat with some small climbs, nothing too steep – but steep enough that many racers are going to walk a few sections.
Underfoot could be interesting depending on the weather and how much winter is hanging around – we will use a mix of gravel service roads and single track, mostly single track. You’ll start on access roads heading slightly downhill and then transition to a lovely stretch of narrow but grassy single track before diving into the woods and starting the climbs. The single track has roots and rocks galore, some muddy parts, some small streams, and did I mention rocks?
The course is a loop and you’ll do one lap for the 5k and two laps for the 10.
The 2k course is an out and back designed for those under 13 years old and for beginners. It’s a separate route on service roads and smooth double track and maybe a tiny bit of single track and beach.
We’re hoping to keep the entry fees super cheap, down in the range of $20 for adults and $10 for those under 13, hoping to have tee shirts and some cool swag and prizes.
Digby Area Recreation Commission is hosting the race with support from the Digby Lazy Bear Runners and a couple organizations we can’t name just yet.
We are also planning a five-week clinic to help beginners get used to trail running starting in March. Local, experienced trail runners will slowly introduce you to more complicated terrain, starting with railbed and adding a bit more challenge every week. Before this clinic, you should feel comfortable running a super slow and easy 5k on roads. To be clear, this clinic isn’t about running fast or far – our focus will be on moving slow and developing confidence over rougher terrain.
So there you go: that’s all the basic information you need to start planning your preparation – and we’ll have some more information for you early next week.
Excited? Heading out for a run soon?
If you have any questions about trail running, training or trails in general, feel free ask or to let us know what you think of our race plans so far, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Digby does already have some cool off-road races though they aren’t quite trail races. The Lobster Bash Mud Dash (July 4, 2020) is a muddy wet 3-km run on the ocean floor at low tide around the Racquette or small cove to the north of town. The Scallywag is another ocean-floor race; this one 8-km on a mix of road, railbed, dirt roads, sandy beach, rocky beach and mud flats starting and ending at the Smith’s Cove Fire Hall with the course leading you around Bear Island in the middle of the Annapolis Basin. Both races are tide dependent and the amount of water on the course can vary.
Jonathan Riley, trails and open space coordinator with the Municipality of the District of Digby