Next week--Thurdsay evening to be more precise--is the third running of the Warrior Princess Trail Race. This unique race is a 10.3 mile run that is half trail, and half rural county road. There is also a 10.3K race that is all on the road. Throw in a 1.03 mile fun run, and you have an event with a distance for everyone.
The location--the Keystone Mountain Bike trailz just south of Keystone Dam on the east side of the highway. Cross the dam heading south, and follow the cars. I recommend getting there early for a decent parking place. This is a sweet course, with 5 miles of winding single track under a canopy of trees. Much of it is smooth and runnable, but there are a few rocky technical sections, and a few steep climbs and decents. It's a challenging course and fun to run.
This race, in it's thrid year, is the creation of Chrissy Whitten and is held to honor her daughter Lillian Grace Whitten, who came into the world on April 25th 2010 and was with us for 103 days before earning her wings August 5th. Chrissy loves the trailz as much as I do, and a trail run to celebrate her memory is so cool.
In the first year, there were a few water crossings, but none that could not be crossed easily. This year, I expect a few shoe soaking opportunities, but there is still a good probability of dry feet.
For those running who are not obsessed with running a PR, enjoy the run and take your camera. This is one of the most scenic trailz in the area.
Keep your eye on the trail, but look up often. I have bumped my head here once. It won't happen again.
When you pass the powerline tower, you're about halfway through the trail portion.
You'll have a couple of awesome views of the Arkansas River near the tower.
Here's one of the rocky sections. Actually, walking these rocky inclines is not really much slower than trying to run them--unless you're a mountain goat.
Once you finish the trail portion, you hit the road. The first half mile is a long downhill where you can really pick up the pace. At the bottom, the 10.3 milers head east, while the 10.3K runners take a left to do a short out-and-back, and then they head east. It's well marked, and there's a course marshal here to make sure everyone goes the correct way.
The road section is tree-covered for most of the way. About 2.5 miles out there's an aid station with water, Gatorade, and all sorts of yummy goodies.
Last year, the train track crossing was under construction, but all is repaired this year. Hopefully, no one will have to wait for the train to pass.
This race, with the unique distances, is a sure PR--if you've never ran a 10.3 mile or 10.3 K race. And it's a good challenging venue for the speedsters like this trio.
It's also a good course for those wanting to support Chrissy's cause with the 1.03 mile fun run/walk.
There's great shirts and finishers medals for all participants, and awards for the winners. Following the race, it's been a tradition to launch a sky lantern. This will be the last year for the race in April at Keystone. The event will be moved to Chandler Park, and will be held on Lillian's angel-versary on August 5th. The format will be a timed event, where the runners will see how far they can run in 103 minutes--sort of like the 3 Hour/6 Hour Snake Run. Keep an eye out for more details in the coming months. But don't miss the Warrior Princess Trail Run next Thursday!