Beautiful and Challenging, All Rolled into One (about: 2011)|
R. R. from Memphis, Tennessee (2/19/11)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Cross Timbers Trail Runs Marathon
First, let me say this is not an easy start line to find. Do not rely on the registration site's directions or you will be in the wrong place. The race's website gives good directions from the tiny town of Whitesboro, so look that town up first, and then follow the race site's directions - and you'll be fine.
Cross Timbers is 4 races rolled into one event and include a 50-miler, a full marathon, a half-marathon and a 5-miler. All races are out-and-back runs with the 50-mile variety running over the marathon course two times (minus some loops inside the campground.)
The first half of the course is very beautiful but also the most technically difficult with plenty of steep hills and even a few areas where the rocks and steep inclines make things very challenging. It is slow going here at points and the single track can get a little congested from time to time. This is no easy PR course but some of the views can take your breath away (if you still have any after scaling some of those wicked hills).
The second half (beyond the half- marathon turn around) is less challenging and less crowded but also less scenic. It is flatter and is a good place to recoup or make up time before re-entering the more difficult trails near the finish.
The trails are mostly welled marked but you most still keep your wits about you to avoid missing a few unexpected twists and turns. The swag is decent, with a nice, technical, long-sleeve shirt. The finishers' "medal" is a printed wooden slab and is adequate. The post- race food includes grilled hot dogs, burgers (both meat and veggie), soup and a variety of Coke products.
The time limits are very generous and the overall atmosphere is laid back. The race director sends you off with a hearty, "Have a good time!" For the most part, that is exactly what I did. This is a scenic run with plenty enough challenge to fill even the most adventuresome spirits.