The 1st Annual Strafford County 4-H 5K Trail Run was a fun cross-country style race. This event supports the Strafford County 4-H youth development programs. The challenging trail course takes runners through the Waste Management Trail System just off Rochester Neck Road in Rochester, NH and parallels the Isinglass River on wide logging paths and single track trails.
Parking/Facilities/Registration: There was plenty of easy parking in the lot just across the road from the registration tables and porta potties. Registration tables were set up for pre-registered and race day registrants and runners moved through both lines swiftly. You could buy t-shirts for $8. Four porta potties could be found close by, and I never had to wait in line. A DJ kept the music flowing and helped racers get pumped.
Race Course: The race started just outside the trail head and runners were encouraged to place themselves at the start with the fastest runners up front. I expected a bottle-neck at the entrance to the wooded path, but I was pleasantly surprised when the running pack quickly thinned out and settled into a groove. Mile 1 was a quick downhill mile that took us over small bridges and through the woods on some single track trails. Miles 2 and 3 demanded some careful attention to foot placement as runners had to navigate around roots and rocks, over and under fallen trees, and around (or through) mucky, muddy sections. Several short, but very steep hills ravaged our legs and kept things honest. The course was very well-marked with brightly colored tape, flags, and arrows. Plenty of volunteers were visible at every intersection to keep us on the right path despite all the twists and turns. Significant roots and rocks were spray-painted orange to help prevent mishaps. There was one water stop at Mile 1.
Refreshments: Chocolate milk, water, bananas, orange slices, and granola bars were available under a tent near the finish line. Hand sanitizer and wipes were available to freshen up and wipe down after a muddy trail run. This was a nice touch and much appreciated.
Awards and Results: Timing was conducted by Granite State Race Services and the results were posted on the registration table quickly after the finishers crossed the line. The first male and first female overall received Runners Alley gift certificates. The names of the first place finisher in each age group were announced, but we were told that the awards would be mailed out later. This is a bit of a buzz-kill for those who won awards, but I imagine next year will be different. Two raffle prices for month-long memberships to local yoga and cross-fit facilities were given away.
Overall Experience: This was a fun trail race and a well-organized event. Although the field was small this year at just 82 runners, I’m sure it will double and triple in the coming years. Several runners said that they’ll be back next year. I know I will.
Did YOU run this race? Leave your comments and thoughts below. Your thoughts and comments really help!
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