Lightning is something I’d rather avoid, it tends to make me edgy and does weird things to my hair. I was apprehensive when Saturday June 1, 2013 brought storms, heavy rain, lightning and thunder on the morning of the War Eagle Trail Running Festival. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go outside, much less run 15 miles of what was sure to be muddy trail. Mike Rush, of Rush Running and the eventual 1st place finisher in the War Eagle Tail Twister Trail Run 25K distance, was giving pre-race instructions to the huddled masses inside the Hobbs State Park Visitor Center. We would be starting about 30 minutes later than originally scheduled in an attempt to make sure everyone made the shuttle from the parking to the start and to hopefully allow the storm to move a little farther away. Rain would be unavoidable but Mike’s advice about the lightning? “Make sure you’re running close to someone taller than you.” I immediately looked at James Gaston since he’s about a foot taller than I. If only I could have kept up with him, he would’ve been the perfect lightning rod. Fortunately the lightning rod was not needed, while the rain continued on and off until after noon, the race organizers had held the start until the lightning dissipated.
The start was in the parking lot of the Visitor Center allowing runners just a few feet to spread out before hitting the trails. For some runners, the rain and the accompanying cool temperature were a blessing. For others, the idea of hours of soaking wet gear was not quite as pleasant. In spite of the overnight and morning rain, the trails were draining quickly and well. A few muddy spots gave runners a chance to test the treads on their trail shoes and get a little Hobbs dirt on their shoes and legs as a souvenir. The trails here are well maintained, smooth and fast with rolling hills. For those used to rugged craggy trails, the flow would be a welcome treat for the feet and for some runners, the flow would lead to PRs.
The 50K race followed most of the Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail which flows through the lush, green forest of oak, hickory and pine. The 10Kand 25K using shorter loops of the same.
The War Eagle Trail Running Festival has a great list of both national and local sponsors with food at the finish provided by Catfish John’s of Rogers and packet pick up and support from Rush Running. Proceeds from the race go to support the Friends of Hobbs group and the Rogers Lion Club. The 2012 race raised $2850 for those groups.
The War Eagle Trail Running Festival coincides with National Trail Day. What better way to spend the day than out enjoying the trails at one of our beautiful Arkansas State Parks? Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area has many miles of trail that allows hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and horseback riders to appreciate nature while participating in their favorite activities.
Many thanks to the park staff and race volunteers for weathering the elements so we could have our fun. When you’re muddy, wet and tired, it’s always nice to be greeted with a smile and words of encouragement.
Runners were offered a choice of 10, 25 and 50K distances. 96 runners finished the 10K, 98 for the 25K and 64 for the 50K. Race results can be found here. I think I’ll be back to get my tail twisted again next year. Will we see you there?
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