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Happy Trails: Big Bad Wolf Trail Race

Posted by Chrissy Horan  September 23, 2013 05:00 AM

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Earlier this summer I ran my first trail race. My less-than-always-graceful self has a hard enough time not rolling an ankle on pavement and I avoided doing any real trail running up until that point. But for some reason, I decided it was time to try something new and I ran the VERT Race Series Sasquatch, a 2.35 mile trail race at the DCR Middlesex Fells. The race was surprisingly fun and while I by no means said goodbye to the urban asphalt, the experience left me open to, at the very least, trying to again.

This weekend I ran my 2nd career trail race. Figuring I would stick to what I know (sort of), I registered for another trail race put on by VERT Race Series, the Big Bad Wolf. This 5 mile race runs through Wolf Hollow in Ipswich, MA, and raises money for their foundation.

Wolf Hollow

To be honest, I was not sure at all what I was getting into. I didn’t spend much time looking into the course, and the only thing I really knew about it was that it was relatively flat. The race had a slightly odd start time, beginning at 12:00pm, though perhaps that was to help encourage the post-race party sponsored by several local craft breweries.

The race follows the Maplecroft Trail, consisting of mostly grass fields and dirt roads. The course was much less “trail-y” than the previous race I had run. However, evidently used by horses, the trails had a different kind of obstacle that kept me focused on where I might step next.

The trail grounds were pretty, wide open fields. The race course consisted of 2 large loops around 2 smaller fields. I crossed some parts of the course as many as 4 times, making it feel like I was running in circles (because I was). I could always see runners ahead of me, but because of the multiple loops, I was never really sure if I was ahead of them or not.

One thing I have not quite gotten used to with these trail races is the narrowness of the paths on which to run. While any road race can get a bit congested, especially in the beginning, runners seem to spread out as the course moves along. Perhaps it was my own fault for starting a bit further back than I should have, but I got stuck twice at bottlenecks within the first mile and stood waiting for my turn to pass through a narrow entry.

What the race may have lacked in terms of the course, it more than made up for with the post-race party. VERT Race Series is establishing a reputation for fun, social race events. The race had awards for fastest team times, encouraging runners to sign up with their friends.

The Wolfpack

There was also a costume contest, with prizes for the best wolf-related running costume. I’m not sure who won but I hope this guy got a prize.


Big Bad Wolf put another notch in my trail-running belt. Take my newbie opinion for what it’s worth, but I preferred the course at VERT Sasquatch in the Fells to the course at the Big Bad Wolf, though I would rather run a 5 miler instead of a race over in just 2.35 miles. Either way, I think both races were pretty well-suited for my inexperience and think both offer a nice introduction to trail running, for those, like me, a little nervous to run off the roads. And regardless of finishing first or last, I think everyone had a good time after they crossed the finish line.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

     Chrissy Horan has been running around Boston and nearby neighborhoods since 2000. An athlete through high school and college, she has found the running community in Boston to More »

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