Trail Racing in the Time of COVID-19

by Lauren Carnahan

The summer of 2019 was tough for me. I was plagued with a few injuries and spent most of it sidelined, in physical therapy, and on the elliptical. There was no racing for me.

Fast forward to the spring, summer, and fall of 2020, and we are in the land of virtual races due to COVID-19. Virtual races are not my thing. I enjoy the camaraderie of the start/finish, the crowds, and the preparation of in-person racing. In-person races in 2020 are few and far between, with many restrictions. Yet, we are running and racing in person here in the Capital Region. We made it happen and are doing what we love. It is something for which to be grateful.

In mid-August, I ran the inaugural Hard as Hell Half Marathon at the Dippikill Wilderness Retreat in Warrensburg, New York. The trail race is put on by our local club, The Albany Running Exchange (ARE). Not only did ARE do a fantastic job of hosting this event, but there were also amazing volunteers, a safe environment, and a beautiful and hard as hell course! It was great to see so many people show up to run! Happy hearts and happy feet.

Next, at the end of August, was the annual Thacher Park Trail Running Festival, a hidden wonder. The Festival is my favorite local event. This year, runners shared the trails with the public and masks were required, but everyone was supportive and cooperative.

Over the years, I was privileged to compete in the Thacher Park Trail Running Festival where I placed first female in the half marathon (1), the marathon (1), and the 50K (3). This year was my third time running the 50K. It was a huge shock when I won overall, just a few weeks after winning the Hard as Hell Half Marathon!

Trail running has become my passion since I moved to the Capital Region in 2013. I encourage you to sign up for the Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon/Squirrelly 6 Miler in October at Thacher Park for more trail running!

Thank you to ARE, the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club, the volunteers, and all those who make racing possible. Few runners realize the amount of work that goes into organizing these races, but it is appreciated. Runners, support our local clubs. They need us! Happy running!

Hard As Hell Half Marathon Results


Lauren’s Archive

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