September 27th, 2014, was a BEAUTIFUL day for the 3rd annual Chase The Coyote trail race. This was my second time running the Challenge course, a stunning 14.4km route through the lovely and sometimes technical terrain of Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. After running this race last year, I knew I would be back in 2014. Everything about this race is great. The people, location, scenery, difficulty, I love it all.
The 14.4km Challenge course has three significant climbs playfully named "Cardiac Hill", "64 Steps to Ruin" and "The Roots of all Evil", but most of this course is fast and fun with plenty of downhill. I'm a fan of technical trail running. Rocks and roots are where it's at for me and this one has a few sections that require a bit of fancy footwork. This was the first time I've run a trail race with my partner Ian and around the 10km mark he was taken down by a mighty toe-catch that is now turning into the big "badge of honour" black toenail on his left foot.
After Ian's wipeout we decided to run our own races and I picked up my pace to pass eight runners over the next 3km - which seems like a crazy spread between runners, which is actually one of things I love about this race. It's a small group of runners over a long distance. In 2013, I was alone for a 4km stretch where I started to wonder if I strayed off course or worse... was I in last place?? Not at all, my time in 2013 was 1:30:54, and this year I came in at 1:34:37. I placed 102nd overall, I was the 32nd woman to cross the finish and 10th place in my age group.
My post-race cool down was spent re-fueling with a free slice of pepperoni pizza, water and HoneyMaxx. I got talking to a fellow trail running enthusiast about their favourite Southern Ontario races and cherry picked their top race suggestions for 2015 (Run for the Toad, Creemore Vertical Challenge, Vulture Bait). It's never too early to plan next year's race season and I know I'll be back for more of Chase The Coyote in 2015.