I decided to run the Rotary Ray of Hope 8k trail race yesterday (April 11, 2015) at The Asheville School. I had plans for the afternoon so I could not run in the Greenway Challenge, an afternoon race. My other option was the Fiddin’ 5k in Mars Hill, but I decided that I wanted to run more than 5k and I was overdue for a trail race so the Rotary Ray of Hope 8k trail race was my choice. There was also a 5k trail race in the event. This race has been around a couple of years but I hadn’t participated in the past. My impression was that it was more of a fundraising and “fun” event and less of a competitive running event.
It was a gorgeous morning as I arrived at the Asheville School and I knew it was going to be fun. Just before 8:30 we all shuffled down to the running track to be briefed and start the race. As we lined up in the grass just behind the running track I scanned the small crowd and guessed we had about 45-50 runners (it turns out there were 42 finishers – 24 in the 8k and 18 in the 5k). Just before we started, one of the organizers said something along the lines of, “if you were looking for a serious race you came to the wrong place, we’re just here to have fun.”
The race started with a whistle and off we went, across grass, then briefly on the track then on grass for about another one-third of a mile or so. From there it was a short stretch of gravel and then plenty of rolling double-track trail. The 8k runners and 5k runners were together until about 2.5 miles in. I spent some time running alongside and chatting with a guy named Dave. He was doing the 5k so we split when he peeled off to the right towards the 5k finish and I veered left for the balance of the 8k course. At this point I could see nobody ahead of me (those ahead of me were too far ahead of me to be seen) and I could see just three people behind me. As I continued along I reached a point at which I could see nobody ahead or behind and it was like a peaceful solo trail run. The race was very enjoyable.
All together I guess the course was about 75% double track trail, and the other 25% was mostly grass, some gravel and a little time on the running track at the start and finish.
The times were gathered using a clipboard and an iPad app. They tried to have a little award ceremony but didn’t have things figured out correctly so that attempt was aborted and we received results information via e-mail on Sunday.
The organizers estimate they will be donating between $5500 and $6000 to charities for the support of children at risk in Western North Carolina.
If you’re thinking about this race next year, here’s my advice. If you’d like a very nice, low-key trail race this is a fine choice. If you’re looking for a serious competitive race with a prompt and orderly review of results and awards you may be disappointed and might want to choose something else.
Congratulations to Declan Mettee and Stella Manske as winners of the 5k. Congratulations to David Merrell and Jen Johnson as winners of the 8k. Following are results, the 8k results follow the 5k results.
[ABASE SQL=”select PLACE,NAME,GENDER,AGE,TIME from raceresults where race=430 order by place asc”]
[ABASE SQL=”select PLACE,NAME,GENDER,AGE,TIME from raceresults where race=431 order by place asc”]