2009 NW Trek Run Wild

Posted on September 20, 2009


Last week I ran a 5K race in Tacoma. Yesterday I ran a 5 mile race (8K) . I haven’t run 5 miles in more than a year. Here’s my report on the race.

What It Is

Run Wild is an event held at NW Trek, a wildlife park near Eatonville, WA. They have a walk, a 5K race, and an 8K race. The tangible race stuff is okay, but your registration fee includes a day’s admission to the park, and that’s pretty darn cool. The races are primarily in the parking lots and on the service/access roads, but the last half mile or so is in the park itself.

My Opinions

Pro: It’s a lovely place, under the trees, and away from traffic. You can run with just the sound of your feet and the wind in the pines. They race with timing chips, which I prefer. They’re very quick to post results (2009 Bank to Bay took a week to post results, Run Wild posted them within 24 hours). There’s a lot of local volunteer help, and they have terrific energy. It’s a race of 600 people, at best, and they still get a radio station (100.7 The Wolf) to come out and support the event. There’s some out-and-back to the event, but there’s also a lot of loop to it, which means you get to see new sights all along the race. Plus, you never know what you’ll see – caribou, elk, bison, wolves, foxes, or bears. The finish is at the top of a hill, which sounds horrible, but it’s less than a 100 feet from the top. Just when I felt like I had to quit, I saw the pennants and it energized me to finish running.

Con: It’s an hour drive from my house, and it starts early because they have to open the park to the general public. So I have to get moving before the sun comes up. You can’t expect to hold a race in September in the Pacific Northwest on a nice day. It’s going to rain, and yesterday was no exception to that rule. The volunteers are a bit too nice, so things get a little disorganized.Those are all minor things that I knew about going in, so I wasn’t stressed about or by any of them.

My Results

I was astonished to finish, officially, in 48:31. I figured an hour was reasonable, especially since my official time for the 5K from last week was 30:43, with a 10:02 pace. I had clearly recovered from last week’s race, and I was eating and sleeping properly prior to the race, so that helped.

A Special Note

If you’re just starting out, I can’t emphasize this enough: Always take a change of clothes with you for Fall/Winter runs. You need to be able to change clothes from the skin out, especially if you have a long drive home. Dress warmer than you would normally after the race, and keep your car extra warm. Your body just expended a lot of energy, and you’re vulnerable. Don’t make your body fight to stay warm, too. I took sweats, and changed in a bathroom stall. I also took a bottle of ibuprofen with me, and took some right after the race. It made my hour drive much more comfortable, believe me.

Shout Outs

First, I have to thank the two women who let me pace them from mile 2 to somewhere between mile 3 and mile 4. Their 9-minute pace was a big help, and their spirit and conversation were wonderful to experience. I’ve got real sisters and work sisters. Those two women are running sisters.

Second, I have to thank the high school cheerleaders along the course. No, not for any weird, pervy reasons. These young women came out in the cold and the rain to hang out in small groups along the running trails, cheer us on, staff the water stations, and generally share their energy. I respect them for that. I needed that high five deep inside mile 4, believe me. Ladies, your energy made a huge difference, and I applaud your generosity of spirit for sharing with all us miserable, wet cusses.


Because of the rain, I didn’t spend a lot of time walking around taking pictures. That said, I did take a few.

Posted in: running