Fun in the Mud (about: 2009)|
R. W. from St. Louis (4/26/09)
6-10 previous marathons
| 1 Free State Trail Marathon
The Free State Trail is run on a challenging up-and-down course on the trails on the north side of Clinton Lake in Lawrence, KS. The race director and the volunteers make this a truly great event. The trail is perfectly marked for the race, well staffed with both manned and unmanned aid stations. The support at the manned stations is exceptional (they use seasoned runners/ultra-runners who make sure you have everything you need to keep on running, as well as making sure you are still ok to keep on running). This year's race had the additional surprise of an intense weather pattern that spawned tornadoes not too many miles from the course. Despite the crazy weather, the race director maintained control and did his best to ensure the safety of all the runners, volunteers, and spectators. Unfortunately, the severe weather caused the remainder of the runners still on the course to be removed at various checkpoints for their own safety (it was already after 6 p.m.).
This was a great experience and a great challenge. I give the spectators 5 stars - not for their number, but for their enthusiasm. Since you are running on single track trails, you spend most of the time by yourself unless you bring a friend to run with. And, be sure to bring your mud shoes! Several parts of the trail were nothing but mud/slop. Even though Lawrence had not seen much rain the week before the race, short sections of the course were nothing short of slop. The mud, rocks, tree roots, and terrain definitely slowed me down. If you are looking for fun people, an extremely well-organized race, and a challenging course, this is the place to go.