A year-and-a-half ago, when Eric told me he was going to meet some guys from “the internets” at Red Robin for beer and discussion about a trail running group, I didn’t think much of it. I mean, other than that it was weird that he was going to a restaurant with a group of guys he’d met on the Internet who wanted to talk about running trails. I don’t think any of us could have predicted how that one meeting would change all of our lives profoundly and positively. At that meeting, the guys decided to start #TrailsRoc, to bring together the trail running community and promote responsible trail use in Rochester. What started small has become bigger than any of us could’ve imagined, and we thought it would be fun to look back at 2013 and all of the amazing, fun activities we did together!!
#TrailsRoc hosted numerous group runs!
We had “learn the trail” days on weekends, a “Troubled Turkey” Thanksgiving morning run, Tuesday Trail Trots, Wednesday morning runs on the Crescent Trail, and Thursday headlamp runs (led by MedVed during the spring/summer/early fall and #TrailsRoc when the weather got colder and the days shorter). Our own members even posted and organized group runs on weekends! Logging thousands of miles together has really solidified several groups of runners, and we love seeing new faces, so if you haven’t joined us for one of our many runs, come on out!!!
#TrailsRoc celebrates its first birthday!
We celebrated in style after a 0 SPF preview run. A group of us gathered after the run in the Valentown parking lot for cold drinks and some mud cake.
#TrailsRoc coordinated and pulled off 3 amazing new trail races!!!
We hosted our first trail half marathon, the 0 SPF on July 20, 2013. What had been an idea for a fatass half (which many of the #TrailsRoc board members had already run the previous summer, courtesy of a course/organization by Matthew French) morphed into a “real” event with sponsors and prizes and a post race party in the rain! We couldn’t have asked for a better group of runners and volunteers for that first race, and we got LOTS of great feedback about what a stellar event it was.
When the idea for 0 SPF was conceived, other races were not on our horizon. But we had so much fun with SPF that we realized we had to do another race! I (Sheila) make no secret about being a relatively “soft” trail runner. If you ran 0 SPF, you get a badass high five from me, because that is a seriously tough course. Post-SPF, Eric and I had dinner and recapped on the positives and negatives of the race, and I said that we needed to have balance in our events, so we should do a “just-for-fun” race. And so Ready, Set, Glow was born, and we invaded Dryer Road Park, normally a GROC park, for a night-time race on October 12, 2013. I had envisioned people dressed up in glow gear, the course marked with glow sticks and a crisp fall evening. Everything in my vision happened. AND we had no injuries!!!! It was amazing seeing runners (well glow sticks) coming down the hill through the trees!
So of course, the hard-core board members of the group decided that after the fun of Ready, Set, Glow, we had to do another “tough” race–and the 0 Degree Winter Trail Festival (affectionately nicknamed WTF) was created. It was a very cold, very snowy winter race day on December 14, but runners completed their 5, 10 or 15 mile race with smiles on their faces. Hot soup, pizza, snacks and a warm lodge waited for them back at the start/finish area of Powder Mills Park. After 3 fantastic races in 2013, we’re looking forward to adding 1 more fun run in April, Mess the Dress, which will put us at 4 trail races for the year! We are so thankful to all of the amazing runners who put their faith into us as an organization by registering for our races.
#TrailsRoc gives back!
We really wanted to focus more efforts this year on volunteering our time to give back to the trail community. We use the trails often, and maintenance is important. We partnered with GROC at Dryer Road and the Crescent Trail Association to do clean up days on our courses. Dave and Sean Storie built a new section of trail at Black Creek Park, which will be featured at this spring’s Mess the Dress 5 Miler. We donated over $1500 in race profits to local trail organizations and the parks department to help them fund THEIR maintenance efforts. We sent #TrailsRoc contingencies to man aid stations for the Cayuga Trail 50 and the Virgil Crest Ultras. We are really looking forward to next year, when we will be hosting more trail clean-up/maintenance days (stay tuned to the website and Facebook page for more details) and working with more great local groups who love the trails as much as we do!
#TrailsRoc hosted this year’s Trail Runner of the Year (TROY) series!
Runners could participate in one race a month, and we scored overall results from each person’s top 4 races. Winners this year received gift cards for Lori’s Natural Foods, and we had a big party at MedVed. We also announced the winners (plural–SURPRISE!) of our first #TrailsRoc Trail Runner Sponsorship. We asked YOU to dream big and you responded. We ended up awarding Pete Lacey and Heather McLendon sponsorships to run their choice of trail races in 2014, and we can’t wait to hear how their races go and be there with them through their training!
#TrailsRoc received a couple of major accolades!
Trail Runner Magazine put us in their “dirty dozen” for top trail running clubs for the year! AND we were just selected to host the USATF Niagara Region Trail Championships at the 2014 0 SPF Trail Half Marathon! We owe both of those things to YOUR enthusiasm for the trails and what we do.
We think we’ve had a stellar year, and we owe that to all of you–the amazing trail runners of Rochester (and our surrounding areas). So to each of you who has helped to make this year a great one for #TrailsRoc, we want to say thank you. And we will see you next year, for more great fun and comaraderie on the trails!!! We love you and think you all rock just as much as the trails do!!