While writing this blog I often cover some of the biggest and craziest adventure races, ultramarathons and other athletic competitions. Those events are amazing to watch and fun to follow, but lets face it, most of us will never get the opportunity to compete in those events for a variety of reason. Thats why I also love discovering some of the great local, grassroots events that are sprinkled around the country, offering outdoor athletes an opportunity to have some fun without traveling far from home.
My friends Robin Rongey and Chuck Vohsen of Rock Racing put on just such an event a few weeks back and it looks like it was a lot of fun. The race was called the SHivering Icy Trail Run (SHITR for short) and it was a 13.1-mile (21 km) half-marathon that ran along the Lost Valley Trail in Weldon Spring, Missouri. Now, if you know anything about the weather in Missouri in January, you know that it is anything but predictable, which was part of the appeal for holding this race at that time of the year. But cold winter conditions weren’t enough of a challenge, so Robin and Chuck decided the race would be run at night too.
45 competitors showed up for the event and holding to its true grassroots nature, they all signed in on a large poster board. The day was cool and damp, although there wasn’t any snow on the ground, so conditions on the trail may not have been as demanding as they could have been. True to form however, the Missouri weather decided the runners couldn’t be to comfortable and just before the start of the race it began to rain. By the time the first competitors were crossing the finish line an hour and forty-five minutes later, the rain had turned to sleet and the temperature had dropped to 33ºF/.5ºC. One racer even competed in shorts and a sleeveless shirt, while still taking third place! Brrr!
You can read the full race report here and the biggest thing you’ll probably take away from it is just how much fun everyone had. That includes the race directors who came up with the idea to hold a half-marathon trail run in January. But the SHITR (gotta love that acronym!) is a great example of a really fun local race that has some nice extreme elements to it without forcing you to travel to some far flung environment to compete. I’ll bet if you look hard enough, you can find similar events not far from where you live as well.
Great event Robin and Chuck. I’ll bet the second annual SHITR will be even more successful!