Massasoit State Park is literally 10 minutes from my house, but until this race I had never been there. When I heard there was a 5k trail race being held so close to home, I was all in. This was the first race held here in quite a while as East Taunton stopped approving requests for such events a few years ago. Evidently there has been a big trail biking race here in the past, but with budget cuts the park has also started to need a little more love and attention.
The race description as per the event website (northeastracers.com):
“We are very excited to feature just a sampling of one of our favorite trail systems! This 5K trail run starts off on some nice flat fire lanes, but don’t let it fool you! Soon enough you’ll be winding through single tracks and rolling through the hills along the shoreline of Lake Rico. This trail race is put on in cooperation with the Friends of Massasoit State Park, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Our hope is to revitalize interest in the recreational uses of Massasoit. After being unstaffed by the State for years, some of the park has fallen into disrepair. However, the trails are still in great shape and you are going to love this course! We hope to see you there!”
Parking: Free and inside the park, close to the finish line
Registration: Simple and organized, close to the finish line as well
Schwag: A comfy Tshirt, offered in cuts for men and women. Bling awarded to overall winners and all age group winners received a reusable cinch backpack.
Post-Race: At the finish line they offered water, Muscle Milk, mini muffins, bananas, and Pop Chips. (Not a bad spread for a race consisting of 80 or so participants)
It was a short walk to the starting line from where everyone parked (and the finish line), just long enough to loosen up the legs a bit.
This course was great, and technical. I am by no means a speedy runner, but when I am on my game I can crank out multiple miles in the sub 10 minute range. I wasn’t pushing my pace, but I was comfortably running and cranked out 12 minute miles. The trail definitely started off fairly flat, and eased into some rolling hills through the woods. Toward the middle of the trail the hills were fairly significant.
My favorite part was climbing and descending hills with “steps” created by roots. Some of the climbs were steep, some of the descents were a little tricky. The trail was winding, but it was so much fun!
Anytime you take the the woods in a race the idea of course marking comes to mind. The course marking for this race was great! Signs were placed where turns were necessary or questionable. Cones were set out where runners shouldn’t go, therefore forcing everyone to stay on the same trail. There was one point I, for a split second, did not realize where I was supposed to go. I attribute that more to “race brain” as there really was just the one trail to follow at that point. In speaking with Dan, the RD, he lamented not using mile markers. I actually didn’t see this as a problem, and suggested maybe using a “1 mile to go” sign at the end and call it a day. If you sign up for a 5k, you pretty much assume it will be right around 3 miles and this one was right around 2.9 miles.
I can’t say enough about how great it was to run in the woods, along water, on a beautiful and sunny day. I look forward to more events held at Massasoit State Park!
For more information about future races please go to: http://www.northeastracers.com
For more information regarding the revitalization of Massasoit State Park, click here.