I prefer small trail runs for a number of reasons, and the Harmon Farms 5 and 10 Mile Trail Runs are exactly that. They are easy to get in and out, parking is simple, and the trails are great. The course starts out in the open park area, but quickly (less than a mile) makes its way into twisting single-track trails that wind through dense trees and open fields for the majority of the two lap course. The trail itself is mostly hard-packed dirt with occasional rocks and few roots. And at $25 (early registration) including a long sleeve shirt, it’s a rare cheap race.
Weather was great this year, especially compared against last year’s cold rain. With the cool start in the low 60’s, one couldn’t ask for better running weather. The sun did get warm on the open sections of the trail, but it was still very nice. The trail held up well for the two lap course, and should have produced fast times. My only real gripe is that the course is short… possibly very short. My Garmin charted this at 9.25 miles. That’s quite a bit short of 10 miles. Now there are certainly accuracy issues with GPS tracking, but that seems like a very large discrepancy. Meh, it’s a trail run.
I had actually planned on running the event in my New Balance MT100 trail shoes but after a year and a half of running in FiveFingers and Merrell Barefoot shoes, during the warm-up the MT100s felt like too much shoe. I had my Vibram KSO Treks on hand and changed into those for the race. My main concern was how they would deal with the rocks and roots at race pace (if you can call it that). I was pleasantly surprised with the KSO Treks’ performance. I could certainly feel the stones and roots that I stepped on, but I wouldn’t say that any of them hurt. That’s one of the goals of minimalist running anyway (proprioception): to make you more aware of where you are putting your feet and what’s underneath them.
All in all, I’m happy with the day. I clocked myself at 105:54 over 9.25 miles (GPS!) giving me a pace around 7:08min/mile. I’d like to think I’m faster than that, but it seems fairly accurate, especially at the end of my first 30 mile week in a very long time.
Go out and get some dirt.