Sunday, November 6, 2016

World Run Day at Pretty Lake Camp

Thanks to the folks at Gazelle Sports, I discovered that Pretty Lake Camp near Kalamazoo was hosting a World Run Day event on November 6. I signed up for the 10k trail run.
It's a decent drive down to the camp, about an hour. (Even had to go through Texas!) Long drives aren't ideal before or after runs, but this wasn't too bad. Got there early enough to stretch out after sitting in the car, and stayed around for a little while afterward to cool down a bit before the ride home.

Pretty Lake Camp doesn't have a particularly imaginative name, but it is an accurate one. You can see the lake from the area near the main buildings, and there are some nice views of the water from the trails also. Proceeds from the race went to support the camp, which among other things provides free camp experiences to low-income youth from Kalamazoo County.
The run itself is almost entirely through a wooded area, on dirt trails (and occasionally some sandy areas). We were fortunate that the weather was beautiful, upper 50s with no rain. There's a lot of fairly steep hills along the trail, but the footing was decent and I didn't have much trouble with balance (unlike when I did the Hard Cider Run). Making sure I didn't trip over a root or step in a hole still slowed me down a bit more than running on pavement, but not too much.

The event was fairly small - I'd guess around 200 runners. A few dozen of us ran the 10k, which started first, then the rest did 5k. Which was still enough to make the trail feel crowded at the beginning, but after the first mile or so there was plenty of room. The trail was well marked, which I appreciated - no fun getting lost in the woods! I had to get around some of the slower 5k folks since the 10k route looped around the same trails twice, but everyone was nice about giving room on the trail.
According to Runkeeper on my phone, I finished in 57:26, which is about what I'm used to for 10k on my regular runs. It also said the trail was only 9.45 kilometers, though. Given all the up and down on the hills, maybe the organizers included some elevation change in the distance when they laid out the course. In any event, I felt pretty good about the run, hills and all.

I'm glad I went down for this event, although it's a bit further afield than I usually go. If there's not a World Run Day event in the Grand Rapids area next year, I may do it again.

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