There are a few things you need to know when you participate in the Universal Sole Trail Challenge Races:
1- You are going to have fun and it is going to be tough.
2- The race probably won’t start on time, but no one cares.
3- You will make friends with all the other people around you, laughing as you run.
4- You might get muddy and usually you WILL get muddy.
5- Hot chili at the finish tastes so good.
6- Next time, you are expected to bring a friend with you.
If these items all appeal to you, you might be a trail runner and you should check out the Universal Sole Trail Challenge Races. There are several throughout the fall and winter (October, November, December, and February) at either Wolf Road Woods or Schiller Woods.
This weekend’s race at Wolf Road Woods benefited (?) from the rain earlier in the week, making it a slippery and fun experience. Runners has the choice of a 4-ish mile run or an 8-ish mile run and, if you went out for that second loop, your footing got worse and worse as you went.
That’s the point, though, as these races are not about how fast you can go, but more about how tough you can be compared to the other competitors. At the end, there are high-fives and a lot of heavy breathing from a job well-done, usually shared over a beer and a bowl of Will’s Famous Chili, a staple of these events.
If you decide to do one of these races, be sure to stick around for the raffle, too. There are some great prizes like swag, free beer, and free race entries, in case you were wondering why people would stand around in muddy shoes in the cold for an extra thirty minutes. Worth it.