Monday night was the first in a series of five 5K trail races hosted by the Saratoga Stryders. Although I intend to run all five races, I don’t expect I’ll post a report after each one – this post is meant as a plug for the upcoming races as much as a report from Monday’s race.
80 to 100 runners typically show up for each race, and it’s about as fun and low-key as a race can be: no chips or bibs, a shouted “GO” for the start, a hand-held stopwatch for timing and numbered popsicle sticks for the finish. Monday evening’s event drew around a hundred runners.
The race course winds through mostly wooded trails at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park’s Camp Saratoga parcel. Being part of the Saratoga Sand Plains, it sounds like the course would be flat. But instead, the course is surprisingly hilly and challenging.
The training I’ve done this spring has made me feel stronger, lighter and faster than last year, and I ran the course in 23:13 - faster than 4 out of my 5 times last summer and just six seconds off my fastest. Last year I improved my time with each successive race, but I don’t know that I’ll be able to do that again this year. There’s an “Ironman” and “Ironwoman” award for the fastest cumulative time for all five races - maybe I’ve got a shot at that if the 17 runners who finished ahead of me Monday night each miss at least one of the remaining races.
The upcoming four dates in the series are July 11 and 25, August 8 and 22, all Monday evenings at 6:15. Results and additional information are here on the Saratoga Stryders website.