Race Review: Earth Day Trail Races


On Saturday, April 17th and Sunday, April 18th, Ornery Mule Racing held their annual Earth Day trail races. It was a weekend event featuring a 50K on Saturday and a 15 mile/5 mile on Sunday.

Normally this race is held on one day, but with the new COVID-19 restrictions, capacity limitations meant spreading runners out between two days. Runners also were each given an assigned start time, spaced out throughout the morning. Masks were required at the start and finish line and all of the runners complied with the new regulations.

This annual event is a popular trail race and a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Held at Veterans Acres and Sternes Woods in Crystal Lake, this race feature is a 5 mile loop through the trail system.

“The beautiful course features winding single track, rolling hills, blossoming spring flowers, open prairie, and pine forest. Earth Day trail races make a perfect goal race or last long run before Ice Age 50-mile & 50k. ” – Earth Day Trail Races Website

There are hills throughout the entire course, amounting to about 500 feet of elevation for one loop. The course is mostly tree covered and challenges runners with fallen trees and tree roots along the course. It’s a challenging terrain with surprising amount of elevation.

Ornery Mule is one of our favorite local race companies and always does an excellent job with events. The trail was well marked and the swag was superb. All runners received a short sleeved, super soft T-shirt and a flag with the Ornery Mule logo on it.

The crowds at these races are extremely positive and fun. Even if you come alone, you will make friends along the course.

You can check out all of ornery mule races at their website here.

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.


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