Saturday, December 3

Blackwater Half Marathon (volunteering report)

This morning I woke up at the break of dawn for the Blackwater Half Marathon Trail Run, but I wasn't a runner today.

The race was tiny, about 120 participants and a handful of volunteers. The setting was the Krul Lake Recreation Area. I'd never been there before, but I will certainly go back. Who knew northwest Florida had such pretty hiking trails? (Can you tell I'm still the new girl in town?)

To be clear, though, when I go back I'll be wearing fluorescent orange. I'm certain I heard hunting gunshots in the woods. That still freaks me out about trail running around here, so I'll admit I haven't spent much time on trails since leaving So Cal. (Again... new girl in town! Clearly hunting season doesn't scare the locals...)

But back to the volunteering... My job was to help set up the post-race feast, which included fruit, hot dogs and hamburgers, coleslaw, and baked beans. The nice thing about volunteering for a shift at the end of a race is that you get to sleep in until the late ol' hour of 6am (instead of waking at the same time that bartenders are going home for the night).

Unfortunately, the baked beans weren't having such a good morning. On the 40-mile ride from the catering location to the trail-head, the beans had an "accident." The beans were stored in a cooler on the floor of a bus. When the bus took a sharp turn, the beans went flying. Fortunately, I wasn't the driver! I just helped clean up the aftermath...
This mess adds new meaning to the saying that someone
"spilled the beans."
I don't know if it's because the race was so small, or because we all got a good laugh out of the bean catastrophe, but the volunteer crew for this race was one of the friendliest I've worked with. Ever.

The whole event had that small town, people-know-each-other feeling. Plus the scenery and weather were truly gorgeous.

Those running have had plenty of positive things to say (plenty of trail markers, ropes to keep runners from falling into the creeks). The winner had a speedy finish time, too (as trail races go), completing the 13.1 miles in 1:24:40.

I might need to work on my trail legs so I can return as a runner next year!

Have you ever run a trail race?
How about hunting (or trail running during hunting season)?
(I figure that unless I give up meat entirely, I can't knock hunting. Plus, I'm always happy when a neighbor shares their venison. I'm just not sure I want to run through the woods during hunting season, ya' know?)


  1. I love trail running, although I don't do nearly as much as I would like. It's on my list to get in one trail run/week this year and eventually do an ultra. Hunters always make me nervous--I always worry about my white hat being mistaken for a deer tail!

    Good for you for volunteering.

  2. no, never been trail running near hunters - but that would be scary!
    I don't hunt, but like you I can't knock it. I eat meat, and grew up eating venison, etc that my dad got when he went hunting.

    Good for you volunteering! I volunteered at the pdx marathon this year and I loved it! I'm going to make sure to do it a few times a year from now on.

  3. I once ran on a country road with forest on either side and there were signs re: hunting. I spent the entire time thinking, Ok, it's 3km to get home. Can I run 3km with a gunshot in my arm, leg, shoulder, etc?


Penny for your thoughts?