The Strafford County 4-H 5K Trail Run is a fun, challenging cross-country style race. The rolling and sometimes technical trail course takes runners through the Waste Management Trail System in Rochester, NH. The trail parallels the Isinglass River on logging paths and curvy single track trails.
Parking/Facilities/Registration: There was plenty of parking in the lot just across the road from the registration tables and porta potties. A fleet of volunteers were there to direct traffic, hand out race packets, and answer questions. Registration was quick and there were zero wait times at porta potties. A nice touch this year was the personalized race envelope with pins, race number, and coupons included. Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out which number goes with which runner, so it was nice to have everything neat and organized ahead of time.
Race Course: The race started 100m from the trail head and runners were encouraged to place themselves at the start with the fastest runners up front. The lead runners took off fast to beat any bottle necks on the single trail sections.
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 mossy logs, and around (or through) mucky, muddy sections.
Several short, but very steep hills ravaged our legs and kept runners honest. The course was very well-marked with brightly colored tape, flags, and arrows. Significant roots and rocks were spray-painted orange to help prevent mishaps.
There was a water stop between Mile 1and 2 at a trail junction, but the volunteers failed to point me in the right direction and I went off course for about 10 seconds. They said “I looked like I knew what I was doing.” Hmmm…
Many runners noted that the 5K course was a bit short. According to the GPS watches worn by my family members, the race was actually a 4K race, which explains the very fast race times on a tough trail course. As I told my son, “You come for the race, not the distance.” But, it’s worth noting.
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: Granite State Race Services timed the race and results were posted quickly after finishers crossed the line. The first male and first female overall received cash prizes and the age group winners received $20 gift certificates to Runner’s Alley. A raffle followed the awards ceremony.
Personalized results arrived by email about 30 minutes after the awards ceremony. The full set of race results can be found at www.coolrunning.com
Overall Experience: The Strafford County 4-H 5K Trail Run is a fun trail race, and a well-organized event. I’m disappointed that the field was a bit smaller this year with only 71 finishers, but several runners said that they’ll be back next year. I know I will! And, next time I’ll turn left at the water stop. 🙂
Did YOU run this race? Leave your comments and thoughts below.