I had a wonderful morning with fabulous friends this weekend at the 1st running of Trail Days Half Marathon! What a blast! Because I have been spending so much time on roads, I have monsterously missed my trail friends as I opted for weekend runs of solo time on pavement instead of trail dancing with fine folks. Damascus,VA is about an hours drive from my house on an early Saturday morning. (Much longer during mid day in the summer).
The following is my review as per request on http://www.active.com/running/damascus-va/damascus-trail-days-trail-12-marathon-2010?act=EMC-HowdItGo_P1&Section=EventDetails&cmp=32:
This is the first running of this event and very well done! Partially sponsored by Montrail, and designed and executed by talented runner Nick Whitehead and assisted by many experienced trail and ultrarunners make it a fine event. The race is a combination of tiny bit of pavement,rail trail, steep, technical up and down single track and glorious ridge running in the Iron Mountains! I think the route may be a few 10ths of a mile short-(due to running this is 1:34:54 and my best road 1/2 marathon being 1:31:30...I'd expected to be out there for at least 10 minutes more...After taking a quick dip in chilly White Top Laurel Creek and changing my clothes and more finish line hanging out... I walked over to Tent City and met up with some of the fine folks from Nomad (reps for Montrail and Mountain Hardwear. Hunter (pictured above) came in a speedy 3rd place!
That being said, there are lots of places where runners can go fast and some great technical downs where experienced trail runners can FLY!
Make sure you wear shoes good on wet rocks. Your feet will get wet, some rocks will be wet and you will have fun! I wore Montrail Sabino Trail running shoes and Smartwool socks =all was well.
The race organizers will likely be changing up the finish area for next year-to look at finishing at a place w/ less pedestrian and vehicle traffic...as the streets of tiny Damascus VA were mobbed by 10:00am. Perhaps if the run started an hour earlier some congestion could be avoided?
The race logo is beautiful, Mountain Hardwear Technical T's attractive and useful and great prizes: Some cash money, handcarved hiking poles, locally made pottery, gift certificates for Montrail running shoes and sandals, hats, t-shirts and other runner -enviable stuff!
I plan on returning next year and recommending this race / run to all who love running on trails!
Nick is planning on making this fine trail run a yearly event! A great addition to the world of Southern Appalachian Trail races! Thank you Nick, Eric, Maria, Tim, Rick and all others of the seen and unseen that helped this event unfurl this weekend! IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME!