Thursday, October 21, 2010

Race Review: The North Face Endurance Challenge

Last weekend, The North Face brought its Endurance Challenge to Georgia. The event featured seven races – from a 5K run to the grueling Gore-Tex 50 Mile competition. And all these races were run on trails.

My friend and colleague Kevin Coffey hit the ground to run the 10K race. Having never run a trail event, I wanted to learn more about Kevin’s experience and find out what it’s really like to run a race on a trail.

How long have you been running?
I started running a year ago. Running was something that I could easily fit into my schedule and it gave me the opportunity to explore my neighborhood.

Not only was this my first trail run, but it was also my first organized running event.

So, how was the trail?
It was definitely a challenge. The trail featured all the obstacles you could imagine – rocks, tree roots, stairs, streams, bushes and branches – with lots of elevation changes. For the most part, the trail was narrow and racers were forced to run single file. Some parts of the trail edged along the side of a very steep hill –one wrong step and you’d find yourself off the trail and sliding downhill.

While it took longer to run the race on a trail vs. a paved surface, the scenery was extraordinary. I liked the challenge that the trail presented. Overall, it was a great experience.

What shoes did you run in?
I wore trail shoes from La Sportiva. I liked the fact that the sole was durable while the upper part was mesh.

How many runners were on the trail with you?
There were probably around 200 runners for the 10K race. Most of the other races seemed to have 100 participants each.

It’s amazing to think that there were seven races taking place at this event. Was it well organized?
Definitely. There was a festival center with a runners recovery area, massages and live music. And for kids, there was a fun run that included costumed characters who ran the race along side the kids. The North Face also hosted a panel discussion with Dean Karnazes and other elite runners. They talked about tips and techniques for trail running.

What about the swag?
Each race featured different types of swag. Along with Kleen Kanteen water bottles, 10K runners received a branded bag and two technical shirts. There was on-site screen printing were runners could have a design for their specific race printed on their shirt.

So, is there another trail run in your future?
Yes – I’m already looking for more trail races.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Atlanta Runners: Lace Up for October Races

Can you believe it? It’s nearly mid-October yet the temperatures have been flirting near the 80-degree mark. Not exactly fall weather, but that won’t keep runners sidelined. October is a popular month for road races in Atlanta. Whether you’re looking for a Halloween-themed event or a charity run, there are a lot of options to choose from. Here are a few to consider:

Monster Dash – October 16
Break out the Halloween costume early and head down to Grant Park for this family-friendly race. Costumes are encouraged and strollers are welcomed. The 5K race starts at 8:00 a.m. Got a little monster? Register them for the Little Goblin Run which starts at 8:50 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Grant Park Cooperative Preschool.

Gold Rush 5k – October 16
Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Atlanta? Head to Dahlonega. The Gold Rush 5K starts and ends at North Georgia College & State University. Enjoy the scenic run through downtown Dahlonega. The race starts at 8:00 a.m.

Candler Park Fall Fest 5K – October 23
No need to wake-up early for this race – the start time is 11 a.m. (hallelujah!). Plus a great neighborhood course that’s close to Marta. After the run, stick around for festival food, beer, art and live music. Registration is available at

The Morningside Mile – October 24
Are you fast? Strut your stuff and earn cash prizes. The showdown takes place at noon. Not only are the prizes good ($250 for the fastest male and female finishers), but so is the block party. Show your race number at the party and get a free Sweetwater beer or a yogurt. Doc Chey’s is a sponsor, so you can count on good food too.

Be The One Run – October 30
Planning to indulge in Halloween candy? Burn a few calories before your sugar-laden snacking begins at this Halloween-eve run. This is a new race event, with the first taking place in Atlanta at Atlantic Station. The race aims to encourage people to become part of the National Bone Marrow Donor program’s registry. Along with the 8:00 a.m. 5K run, there’s a tot trot at 9:15 a.m.

Run Like Hell 5K – October 30
What better way to celebrate Halloween than run a race through a cemetery? Atlanta’s famous Oakland Cemetery serves as the site for the race course. You’ll get to run past the final resting place of notable Atlantans, including Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell. Proceeds benefit the cemetery’s restoration.

UPDATE: Run Like Hell 5K reached it's maximum number of runners this week. Registration is closed. And yes, I'm bummed for procrastinating because I really wanted the T-shirt for this race!