I raced!! It’s been about a year, and I finally got back out there and ran double(ish) digits. I was happy to be on the trails. I felt great. I felt pretty strong. I ran a negative split. This was really a great experience.
The Montvale 5 and 10 Mile Trail Races are part of the Roanoke Non-Ultra Trail Series (RNUTS) put on by Mountain Junkies in Roanoke, VA. The purpose of the series is to highlight trails in the Roanoke area, and to provide some non-ultra trail distances. The series builds distance over time – with successive distances offered over time. This is the third race out of a total of six races. and those that register for the series and complete four races score a pullover.
Montvale is northeast of Roanoke and about an hour drive from Blacksburg, VA. The park is a recent addition to the town. I think Bedford County is really working to promote the trail systems out there. I found this nifty blog to describe all the trails in Bedford County, including the Montvale system. The Montvale park has about 7+ miles of trails packed into a tight rectangle.
On race day, I carpooled with two other Blacksburg runners. We showed up around 8am for a 9am start. Bib pickup was a breeze, and included a long sleeve cotton t-shirt with a slim fit and very soft cotton. Then back to the car to stay warm till the start.
The Race Director gave some pre-race instructions: 10 milers start at 9, and 5 milers just after; the course would be long for the 5 milers, and short for the 10 milers, and we should also expect our gps to be a little wonky since the trails double back onto each other; we would have to cross a stream to get to the start, and then run back through it to the finish. And then we headed over to the start.
I walked through the stream – there was really no way to avoid completely wet feet. Some runners carried over an extra pair of shoes and swapped them out. The majority just ran with wet feet. We’d have to come back through anyway. I placed my self towards the back of the pack, and after some more announcement that I really couldn’t hear, a gun signified the start.
Of course, we had slow, congested start. We ran a bit of doubletrack, and then quickly got into the single track that we would run for the rest of the race. The trails were nearly all runnable. The trails were single track, but I would say about 80% were not technical, and the other 20% had some pine roots and rocks but weren’t too bad. Also, the climbs were all runnable. I only really noticed the big climb the second time through – the course included a second running of the loop for the 10 milers. You can see the course map and elevation below.
I loved it out there – evidence below in a less than flattering photo that I’m sharing with you now because it’s clear that I’m having a good time!! I was able to run negative splits (according to race timing), and felt really great and strong. This was my longest distance in nearly a year (I’d gotten up to 8ish miles a week or so ago). I didn’t have any specific pains of aches, just overall fatigue from a good run towards the end. I pushed in the last half, passed a few runners, and then ran it in through the creek/stream again, and on to the finish.
We stuck around for awards, which were quick, but there were a lot of them. My two carpool buddies both won – an age group win, and the overall masters female finisher.
Bottom line: great little race, great production, friendly crowds, fun trails, would definitely run it again.
Registration: I paid $30 + fees to enter about a month before the race. Race day registration was still available.
SWAG: nice little cotton t-shirt, not gender specific, but appears to run a little slim, so the small fit me nicely.
Support: One aid station at about 1.5 miles into the race/loop. The aid station only had water and skratch. 10 milers hit this twice.
Finish Line: the park has a newer park equipment that kept the kids entertained. Food was plentiful (and homemade) under a covered area.
Crowd: all local runners, everyone seemed to know one another, a friendly vibe.
My performance: here’s my Strava entry