If you have read my blog for a while, you know I am a fan of Mad Trapper trail and snowshoe races. You can click on the following links to read about my previous fun experiences at Mike and Monique’s races: The NOOTR Race, The Pancake Prediction Run, The Champs Snowshoe Race , The Hilly Snowshoe Race and The Night Snowshoe Race. I promise you that I am not being bribed in order to write all of these positive reviews. Then again… maybe I am. After all, what other event series offers you things like hot meals or tasty sandwiches, or healthy salad, or beer (!), or brownies (!!), or, like in this particular event, mimosas, (!!!)? Those mimosas by the way were served on a tray at the finish line – thank you Navid! OK, I admit it, I am driven by food, and perhaps a little alcohol, so it is pretty easy for me to walk (or stumble) away from a Mad Trapper race feeling pretty happy.
But the food really is just a bonus. The events themselves are worth the drive out of Ottawa into the rolling hills of Wester Quebec. Sometimes you make the journey for an out-of-town race because of the bling, the awesome tech shirt, or the flat course that always has a wind blowing at your back. (If that last one exists please let me know!) For a Mad Trapper event, you are making that trip out for the atmosphere and for the fun. I still love the chaos, the excitement, the nerves, t
he long porta potty lines, and the large, cheering crowds of a big road race. But I also love the intimacy, friendliness and casual atmosphere of a small event and you will find all of this in spades at a Mad Trapper event. There will be some very serious and very, very fast runners at these races, but the overall vibe is that it is an event for everyone to get out and enjoy trails. Whether you are a beginner or experienced trail runner you will have fun. That is not to say it will be easy – there are hills, hills and more hills to climb and descend. You are guaranteed to have a work out regardless of the distance you choose to run. But whether you run, walk or crawl over the finish line you will have a smile on your face and there will be a group of fellow outdoor enthusiasts waiting to applaud you. (Unless, I guess, if you come in first… not really something I will ever experience, so I can only guess).
This particular event was special in more ways than one. Firstly, Power in Pink was a fundraiser – and I suppose an awareness raiser – for cancer research. Mike’s good friend Trish is a cancer survivor, even though she had explicitly been told that there was no treatment. When a hospital in Ottawa told her there was no hope, she took matters into her own hands and went to Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, a world-class hospital for cancer treatment and research. You can read more about Trish’s story here. When she spoke to us all, her strength, determination, sense of humour and to-the-point advice was a highlight of the day.
The second aspect that made this event special was that it was a women’s only event and the majority of the 88 participants were running their first trail race. For me it was my second trail race, after trying a 6k race back in July. I definitely want to do more trail running, though I admit I am still a little cautious after tripping in the March Highlands and breaking my hand and dislocating a finger. And of course there have been a couple of other falls that luckily resulted in only cuts and bruises. The irony has not been lost on me that for a large chunk of my life my sport was horseback riding – a sport that had me crashing to the ground many times, sometimes at high speed, without ever breaking a bone. Like I said, my injury, still in the process of healing, has made me cautious and a little slower, (slow being relevant), but has done nothing to curb my enthusiasm for trail running. And while I had no time goal for Power in Pink, I did achieve my goal of staying vertical for the entire 10k run!
Trail running seems to go hand in hand with camaraderie. I have headed to many races alone and with my family. This was the first time I traveled to a race with friends, plus I met with more at the event, making it a great “girls’ day”. But trail running can also blend perfectly with alone time. I managed to have a large space during the race entirely to myself, in fact for most of my second 5k loop I was alone – and it was perfect. The stillness, the soft ground, the peace… what can I say?
The next Mad Trapper event is the Relentless (don’t let the name scare you… well, maybe just a little, but don’t let it deter you) on October 24th. For me, that will only be one week before my marathon, so I will probably stick to an easy-going 5k, but you can also choose between a 3k, 11k, 21k or 50k distance. I don’t want to miss it – I am sure that I read somewhere that beer and brownies are important fuel to take in a week before running 42.2 km You can find more details here: https://relentlessark.com/home
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