Well, here's another trail race report. I generally don't like trail running, but apparently I suffer some kind of periodic trail race amnesia.
My beloved nearby Gemini Springs has a special place in my heart. I have spent many hundreds of hours there birding. Even if I'm not birding, I'm there several times a week during regular training runs (the paved trail!) and bike rides. So this was another reason I found it hard to resist signing up for this trail run. I was curious to see how the race director handled the routes and what others thought of the park and the run.
This race was put on by FLX Florida Adventures.
My face when I realize I've signed up for another trail race
Race Day: July 28, 2019
I rode my bike over in the morning and got my shirt and bib. It was about 77°F with sunny skies and 94% humidity at the start of the race at 8AM.
Mile 1: 12:53
We started out the run from the OK Corral pavilion behind the dog park and headed out onto the paved trail. We ran along the access path to the primitive campground and then crossed the paved trail to run on the grass along side DeBary Bayou. The wild hibiscus were in bloom everywhere. We ran here in full sun but after this we had a mostly shaded route. We did a loop around the Bayou and as we hit a turnaround on the paved trail some faster runners came back, apparently lost. A few of us got confused and went the wrong way back down the paved trail. I remembered from the pre-race briefing what the route should generally look like so I went back and got back on the right course. The route was pretty well marked here so I'm not sure how others got lost and I was mad at myself for following the others when I knew the right way to go.
Mile 2: 14:06
We crossed the spring dam and the water stop in the middle of Gemini Springs park, running around the backwoods trails.
Mile 3+: 16:01, 7:59
The last mile took us back through the center of the park, over a couple of spring run dams, before returning to the start/finish area by the OK Corral.
After the Race | Recommendation
Lots of people got lost, including those who ran the 10K. For the most part, I thought the route (for the 5K at least) was well-marked.
The course through Gemini Springs is beautiful. We were lucky with a relatively cool morning and a dry course for the 5K. Often during the summer the path near the bayou by all of the wild hibiscus is completely flooded, but it hasn't happened so far this year. The backwoods trails have a lot of tree roots in the path which make for some tricky footing but for the most part it's an easy run.
Awards were given out after a while. It was apparent that folks who did not run the entire route were eligible for awards. I know they ran the required mileage (and much more in some cases), just not on the same route as everyone else. A 10K award was given out to someone who dropped down to the 5K distance on race morning (I dropped down as well, but my results were correctly attributed to the 5K distance). I don't blame any of the runners who accepted awards. The race director talked about getting lost like it was a badge of honor (and for trail running, I guess it is, though the very few other trail races I've run didn't seem to have this problem). I feel that runners who got lost and did not complete the race course as designed should not be eligible for awards. I didn't like the disorganization and super casual attitude from the race director. It seemed like no one else was bothered by this, so I guess it's just me. For this reason I will avoid FLX Adventures races in the future. Until I come down that recurring amnesia, at least!
Manual clock time: 49:22 (for ~3.54 miles)
Placement details: N/A
Race Amenities: Tech FLX branded shirt, generic FLX medal for all finishers
Report written July 30, 2019