Race Recap- Universal Sole Spring Trail Race- March 14, 2021


February snow showers bring March mud!  The March edition of Universal Sole’s trail run series found itself back on the muddy paths of the Palos Trail System.  With a new course and start line at Bullfrog Lake, the team at Universal Sole hosted another fun weekend of back to back trail races.

Universal Sole, and Joel Feinberg, the race director are, by now, seasoned veterans of Covid era in-person races, and the safety precautions are a well-oiled machine.  Total participant count is limited and spread over two race days.  Social distancing and mask wearing in the start area are required, and all volunteers are masked whether at packet pickup, on-course, or at the finish line.  Small wave starts are employed to limit crowding in both the corrals and on the trails and pre- and post-race refreshments were self-service.

The small, staggered start groups resulted in one unintended benefit for a city runner like me.  For a good portion of the race, I enjoyed the sights of the forest preserve all by myself.  With no one to chase or run from I was able to settle into the sounds of the awakening spring and my own breathing.

The course set up today measured 6.75 miles by my Garmin and began with a fun scramble up the switchbacks of a very muddy Bullfrog Hill.  At the top, the course evened out as runners settled into an undulating two loop mix of double and single track running, most of which was soft dirt with occasional boggy areas.  After a carefully paying attention to footing on the descent back to the start line, the top 5 runners of each gender division received awards, and all runners enjoyed some refreshments, and the ever-popular Universal Sole raffle.

The Universal Sole Trail Series has one more race scheduled before road running season begins in earnest on April 10.  Register Here: https://www.universalsole.com/universal-sole-april-trail-challenge.html




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