A (free!) race report written by American Trail Running Association (ATRA) member David Reed. Texas based Tejas Trails is an ATRA corporate member.
ATRA should be renamed to A-ATRA or Awesome – American Trail Running Association. Why? Because they are simply AWESOME. They give away free race entries to their members!! How AWESOME is that?
I recently received one of these complimentary trail race entries to a Tejas Trails event, and it was so cool. I was especially excited because I have run Tejas Trails races in the past and knew it would be a super great time. Now if you have not run a Tejas Trails race, you are missing out. They have one of the best race day experiences out there. Tejas Trails not only take good care of the runners, but they have great options for the family and friends who patiently wait for their runners at the start/finish and festival area.
I was originally scheduled to run the Tejas Trails Pandora’s Box of Rocks trail marathon this past April. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be cancelled and interrupted my plans to race. Tejas Trails came up with a super alternate option as they created The Mirage to replace both the Pandora and Hell’s Hills races. As an added bonus participants could run virtually from home or still elect to run a marked course at the original venue over a several day period. SO AWESOME!!! Anyway, I chose to run virtually from my home, picked some trails and headed out for a good 26.2 mile run.
My first “solo” self-supported trail marathon was tough. At 5 hours and 29 minutes my elapsed time was longer than I wanted because I had to stop and mix my own hydration beverages and such. Because of this I can also tell you how much more I appreciate all the volunteers who staff the aid stations at trail races.
It also got pretty lonely out there after my friend had to leave at the 9 mile mark. Running alone for that long took some mental effort to keep going when my body started feeling aches and pains late in the run. I also kept in mind that this run was for the American Trail Running Association. I could not let ATRA’s Nancy Hobbs or anyone else associated with this race entry down by not finishing. So I pushed on! I did call in some support and had my boys drive out to help with the last couple of miles.
I was tired but thanks to the American Trail Running Association and Tejas Trails for a free race entry and all they do to keep trail running AWESOME!!! Join today if you are not an ATRA member, oh do you want more AWESOME? You get a subscription to Trail Runner magazine with your membership. FREE races and Trail Runner magazine!!! Nancy, I really think AWESOME needs added to the ATRA name! Well, I must go and hit some local trails. Good running and good health to all you trail runners out there.
Sincerely, David Reed (Texas)