I have never seen so much mud.
The deluge that fell on New England in the days leading up to the Pineland Trail Running Festival 50k, held May 26 in New Glouster, ME, made for a soggy course. Combine that with seven different foot races, all held on the same course over a two-day period, and you have a serious mud bath.
The original plan for the weekend involved a group of us going up to Maine Saturday night, camping and running on Sunday. The rain killed our adventurous spirit and only two of us hit the road from Southern NH, in the rain, early Sunday morning.
Fortunately, the rain broke in time for the 25k, 50k and 50 mile races and there was only the mud to contend with. The 50k started at 8 a.m. The course is a very lovely, rolling double-loop over farm land and through the woods (25k is a single loop, 50 mile is a hybrid triple loop). The trail is very smooth and non-technical and is comprised of dirt and pine needle-covered carriage track and grassy fields.
That said, the six inches of mud on race day more than made up for anything lacking in technical difficulty. I was concerned going in to the race that I had spent too much time training on single track, but the mud made me glad for all the twists and turns I’ve put in at Bear Brook State Park.
The mud, mainly in the first 15k (of each loop), was bad enough on the first loop, but by the second time around, all of the 25k racers had chewed up the course even more. The mud turned from a somewhat sticky, thick substance, into a gooey, traction-less, oozing mess. Thanks to all the mud, my hips blew up around mile 18 as I went through the second bout of slime and I laid down about six miles of pretty pathetic splits.
I was thankful to reach my Brooks PureCadence and clean socks at mile 26, where I had a drop bag. I was able to pick up the pace again and finish feeling pretty good.
This was a great race and all of the volunteers, aid stations and organizers were fantastic. There were numerous aid stations, the post-race party was excellent and featured live tunes, the always amazing Portland Pie Co. pizza and free Shipyard brews! Next year I hope the weather is a little more cooperative and we can make a weekend out of it.
The Pineland Trail Running Festival is a two-day running festival held each year at Pineland Farms in New Glouster, ME. It features a variety of races, including a 5k, 10k and a 5k canicross. There are also seminars, trail tours, family friendly activities and live music. To learn more, visit www.pinelandtrails.com.