Earth Day Trail Races


On Saturday, Ornery Mule Racing hosted its annual Earth Day Trail Races. It was a great way to celebrate Earth Day with an amazing set of race staff, volunteers and fellow runners.

The race with held at Veteran’s Acres Park in Crystal Lake and was just over a five mile loop which runners looped to reach their distances. Races were offered in the five mile, 15 mile and 50K categories.

The course was rugged and tough, but there was no snow and mud was minimal.The technical level of difficulty of the Earth Day Trail Races is pretty high, with 95 percent of the race taking place on the trail itself. When runners completed each five mile loop, they were greeted by an amazing group of people and a huge table on snacks and hydration. In keeping with the Earth Day theme, runners were encouraged to bring their own water bottles as there was only one aid station on the loop itself.

This is a great race for experienced trail runners, but also runners who are new to the trails. There were hills throughout the course, some of them pretty extreme, but nothing that was not manageable by stopping to walk a steep incline. There were also a few patches of muddy trail, but not to the point where you shoes got stuck.

The weather was great at 45° and there was no precipitation, making for a nice day to run the wooded trails. All finishers received a hand painted wooden medal. It was the most unique medal I’ve ever received. Age group winners received a wooden carved magnet detailing their place. All race entrants received a bright blue, long sleeve technical T-shirt with writing down the sleeve, which I personally love!

Race winners were not yet posted at the time this article was written.

Ornery Mule Racing currently hosts four races. I have participated in the first two and have been overly impressed with the great organization, awesome swag and extreme helpfulness on race day from the staff and volunteers. I would highly encourage you to check out their next two races, Galena Sky Trail Races and the Hennepin 100. You can check out their website to learn more about these and next year’s Earth Day Trail Race.

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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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