This summer, toe the line, race your heart and explore the twisted, beautiful trails at Olympia’s L.B.A. Park. This recently preserved forest in the south-eastern part of Olympia will play host to the area’s newest, and hottest trail race. The Outdoor Society is super excited to bring you this brand new outdoor adventure activity to the South Sound.
Here’s co-race director Mathias Eichler in his own words:
Having raced many trail races up and down the West Coast and as a European I’ve been drawn to the races that find a way of bringing the outdoors into the heart of the community. I love running singletrack in solitude in the middle of nowhere, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to racing I enjoy a finish line full of cow bells, flags and cheering crowds. Bringing the intensity of running trails, the dirt, sweat and personal accomplishment that comes from it and fusing it with a cheering crowds, families waiting for their loved ones, and a community coming together to celebrate the outdoors is what we’re aiming for here. This is what makes trail racing the perfect sporting event, and LBA the perfect location.
Most of the trail races around these parts happen in the winter.
People running races in the South Sound associated trail running with rain, mud and sometimes (often) snow and ice. There’s nothing wrong with a gnarly adventure in cold weather on those dark days. It gets you off the couch between eating turkey and drinking eggnog. But, this can scare people away, not just runners, but spectators too. I’ve been to races where I finished and once my bib number was recorded I just walked back to my car, soaking wet, changed and drove home. The weather didn’t invite lingering, connecting with others, cheering fellow runners on their final miles. The races I loved the most were the ones where the finish line was full of laughter, letting the racer bask in the warm embrace of a friendly community. The warm sunshine allows folks to savor the moment and enjoy their accomplishments.
Our Little Backyard Adventure will be several loops through the woods, you will find some solitude but also spectators cheering you on at certain spots and the aid station and finish line will be smack dab in the middle of the park. There will be music, cowbells, and food, and we invite you to hang around with your friends and family and cheer as runners make their turns around the course.
The LBA Woods are magical place. Just recently preserved from the seemingly inevitable suburban expansion these woods are adjacent to a neighborhood park, surrounded by housing developments. This seemingly ordinary place holds a network of fun, narrow, twisted trails full of surprises. When I first discovered those trails I got lost, many times. Not the dangerous kind of lost, but turned around due to the nature of the many different trails winding themselves through these woods. It took me many months of running ‘every single trail’ and exploring over and over until I found a loop that would be fun to run, easy to follow, and include all the best features these woods have to offer. The start, finish, and aid stations will be at the picnic shelter on the main park, but over 3 miles of sometimes challenging single track trails await the runners. If you’ve never been out there you’ll be surprised how challenging the course is. We included some sharp hill sections and narrow trails full of roots and rocks to keep you honest. The course will be well-marked and we’ll ensure you’ll have one of the greatest race experiences you’ve ever had. The distances we chose are great for beginners considering trail running and wondering about their first race. But don’t discount the nature of these trails. 5 loops and 18 miles will be a great challenge for any seasoned runner.
When we shared our vision for this race with our business partners and sponsors the positive feedback blew us away. We’re delighted and quite frankly humbled of the support we’ve been receiving to bring you a summer event to remember. A huge thank you to every business that has agreed to be a part of bring you this adventure.
We promise to bring you an event like no other and there definitely will be cow bells and finish line hugs!
Looking forward to seeing you in Olympia this summer for a little backyard adventure.