Hey look, I ran a non-Disney race. Local, even. And I love this race. Let me say it again. I love this race.
First off, the name “trail” is a misnomer – the race is on a trail, but it’s a paved trail. No rocks and roots and things to jump over.
This is a small race, held on the B&A Trail. It’s a half and a full that start together. For those who remember the crowds during the Annapolis Half, specifically during the part on the B&A Trail, that isn’t a concern here. This race has a cap of 1000 runners (for the half and full combined). I believe the Annapolis Half had over 5000 runners.
This race has the feel of a small town race, but the organization of a big race. The half fee was $50, and for that you get a great premium (this year it was track pants!), a well organized chip-timed race with great water stops, and more post-race food than you can imagine, including hot pizza that just keeps coming.
The race is a tune-up for the Navy Marathon team, so if you’re young, this might not be an award winning course for you. This year, the Korean Marathon team also showed up (and I loved the sign at the split between the half and the full written in Korean). The race also has a lot of 50 Staters (people who want to run a full or half in every state) because it’s such a friendly race. So there were quite a few Marathon Maniacs out on the course.
But don’t let that fool you – this race is also very slow runner friendly. The full has a 6 hour time limit, but if you’re worried about that, there’s an official start an hour early – you just can’t win any awards with an early start. Because the half and full finish together, that means the half also has a 6 hour time limit. Definitely friendly for the slower runners. And the race organizer is always sure that there is plenty of food left for the slow runners.
We took this race nice and easy, since three of us had run Princess the week before. We just set out to run a casual 1:1 walk/run pattern and chat the whole way. The course is flat save for one hill at the turnaround – but the benefit of an out and back means that what goes up must come down. Even with a stop to chat with some friends who came out to cheer, we finished almost 11 minutes faster than last week – and finished feeling strong. Not a bad way to race at all!
I highly recommend this race. The volunteers are amazing, and the water/food stops are always so cheerful. There are friendly faces all along the course, and the crazy teenagers making up dances always make me laugh. It can be a chilly time of year, but before the race, you can wait inside the high school cafeteria, so no worries about freezing in a corral. And there is a medal and hot pizza waiting for you at the finish. What more could you want?