This past weekend was Dixon’s Revenge Trail Race hosted by SIX03 Endurance and North Country Hard Cider. This race has been something I have been looking forward to all year since it was my first time serving as a co-race director for a trail race. We went big for the first year: We had a canicross 5k, a 5k, and a 20k race that were running largely concurrently. This might have been foolish, but it ended up going just about as smoothly as you could hope for an inaugural race.
On Thursday of last week, Tom (the other race director) and I went out to the 20k course to mark the trails. We were shocked by how wet the course had become since the Sunday before when I had run a preview with a couple friends. There were 50 meter sections that were ankle deep that we had to throw logs and boards down in so people would have a chance to make it through at least a bit dry. It was a long slog for us – we went out to start marking at 9:15am and didn’t make it home until after 2pm. We did 8 miles of walking and “bridge building”. I’m looking at it as great “time on feet” training.
On Friday before the race, I spent most of my day at North Country Hard Cider getting the beer tent set up, working on getting the prize bags for the Canicross race ready (thanks Kurgo!), and leading the normal Friday night pub run.
The morning of the race, I couldn’t sleep. I was wide awake at 2:30am after going to bed at 11pm. I was so excited to get the day started, and of course a bit nervous. We had no idea how many entrants would show up the day of the race and it was SIX03’s first time hosting a long trail race. There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re dealing with water stops, road crossing, trail markings, and of course we even added dogs into the mix! Tom and I were out doing last minute markings of the course and dropping of jugs of water for the aid stations by 4:30am.
Our first volunteers showed up around 6:30am and got the registration table ready for bib pickup. Shortly after that, the water stop crew showed up to man their posts.
At the start of each race we reminded the runners that the course was going to be MUDDY. We had a late melt this year with snow all the way up to April 1st and a rainy week preceding the race. Luckily trail runners are an adventurous bunch who are always up for a challenge and didn’t complain too much about knee deep water in some sections of the course!
Our first race was the canicross at 8am. We had 22 participants run with their dogs. I have never seen a more organized and friendly group of people and dogs at a starting line. Everyone was so respectful and kept their dogs under control, even when they were barking and ready to get going!
The race went off without a hitch. The dogs came back happy and muddy and the humans came back smiling! Here are some photos from the finish! We can’t thank Kurgo enough for providing prizes for the top 3 male and female finishers and for giving every dog an awesome collapsable water bowl as a participant prize!
Shortly after the canicross finished, we got the 20k runners together to give them a rundown of the course and its markings. We were thrilled to have over 50 runners sign up for the 20k! We warned them they’d get wet and that it was going to a mushy 12 miles. Everyone was in good spirits and headed out at 9am.
We weren’t really sure how long it would take people to finish the race since we had never really tried to push the pace on the course before. We assumed somewhere around 1hr 30min for our fastest male finishers, and we ended up with the winner finishing in 1hr 18min! Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of pictures of the 20k race because I had other duties that had to be attended to at the registration table.
At 9:30 we gathered the 5k runners and sent them off on their way. It had warmed up considerably by this point which was good since the 5k course had knee-deep water at mile 2. We ended up with 65 runners in this race. The turn out was absolutely amazing for a first year!
All in all, we only had one person get lost on the 20k course, we had no major injuries, and no dog incidents. The race gods were definitely smiling down upon us.
The after party at North Country Hard Cider was fantastic! There was cider (of course) and beer from Smuttynose and Garrison City Beerworks. We also had a mobile woodfire oven from Embers Bakery come to make some amazing pizzas. I ate 3/4 of one by myself.
Even with all of this going on this week, I had my biggest running mileage week ever! I didn’t even count the running around that happened at the race on Saturday!
Would I do the race director thing again? You betcha! I’m really looking forward to organizing more trail races – specifically, I’m looking at creating a canicross race series for this year or 2018.
Mileage: 45.8 running, 3.3 walking
Time on feet: 8hr 17min
Mileage: 61.8 running; 10.2 walking/hiking
Time on feet: 14hr 19min