I ran this race last year, so I'll spare you my blow-by-blow, but below is a course description for the short course from fellow trail runner, Brian Kunkle.
The Chief Wetona Challenge, named for a native American significant to the area, is a two loop course. The first loop begins just below the parking area, following the lake for a few hundred yards (with the lake on your right), before ducking in into the woods and climbing back up to the level of the parking area. After crossing a small foot bridge the course climbs a short but steep, grassy hill up to the park's nature centre. The few hundred feet of elevation gained is quickly lost on a rocky, but fast and wide descent back to lake level. From there the course circumnavigates the lake on mostly rolling trail, putting runners back at the start line in under three miles. The short climb from the beginning of the race feels twice as long as it does the first time around. About half way around the lake the 2nd loop diverges from the first, hanging a left, rather than keeping right, and ventures off into even muddier territory. The majority of the 7 mile race's 1,000ft of climbing comes in the second loop. The trail wanders up muddy double track and grassy paths cut through open fields before climbing the "Haymaker" trail to the course's highest point at around mile 6. Once atop "Haymaker" the course follows a farm access road back down the hill, before veering to the right and sloshing its way down a drenched power line cut.
|Don't forget ladies- Fit is the New Skinny|
I didn't run the long course myself, but I did hear of several folks getting lost. Race director, John Johnson, was very apologetic and open to suggestions on how to ensure that it doesn't happen again next year. But as my friend Sayard said, "that's just a part of the sport!"
|Betsy, Cathy, Sayard, and Myself post-race|
I finished the 7+ mile race in 1:09:22 with a 9:36/pace. I was 17th of 95 overall and 2nd of 19 in my age group (F30-39). My friend Amy finished first in our age group with a time of 1:06:14!
|Amy being amazing!!|
I love this race. I love the trails and I love the park. I love the people and I love the food. Seriously, what more can I say?! Join us next year!