When I first heard about the Southeastern Trail Series (STS) in early 2013, I wondered who would want to run 7 trail races in 7 months, especially those hot days of summer races including one called “Hotter ‘N Hell Trail Race”. Little that I knew, not only I would be running most of those trail races, but also win male division of the long series for 3 years in a row. The series has helped me to be the trail runner that I am now, and has connected me with some of the best trail running friends and mentors. You can read more about the concept and detail about the series on its website (southeasterntrailruns.com). I will briefly talk of my journey of being a trail runner via the series.
By early 2013, I ran only 4 ultras and very few trail races. At that time, I was mostly a seasonal trail runner. My trail running season started around November and lasted until March or so. I did not want to deal with hot/humid trail running, snakes, and ticks. I also had a love and hate relationship with trail running due to continuously my rolling ankles while running trails. At one point in early 2013, I thought about giving up trail running and stay with road running only. David Tosch, the race director of STS, suggested me that before I completely give up on the trail running, I should try some of the STS races. At that time, I was not completely sold on the whole idea, so I passed on the first ever series race. Still, I went out and took photos for MRuns.com and just had a little fun. I liked what I saw that day. I also had an opportunity to meet with a lot of new trail runners. I knew then that I will be back to run some of the races.
In May 2013, I decided to run the “Run for Kids Challenge – 50k” – my first ever STS race. I loved the race and how the event was organized and support it had. Since then, I have completed most of the STS races. There are many benefits of running the series including training year around for trail races. The best part of this event is that we have an excuse to be out in the woods, share our experiences, run some miles, and of course drink some beers with other likeminded trail running buddies.
Every year, I look forward for the 3 days/3 mountains 53 miles Birmingham stage race. During the hot summer months, I train for the stage race. Training for the stage race includes many back to back runs that are not long distance, but enough to keep running and logging those trail miles in hot days of summer. In the last few years, I felt that the end of September stage race helped me to stay strong for road races that follow in the month of October. In addition to running a lot of miles, we also started “Birmingham Stage jump photo contest” where the runners jump at the finish line all 3 days. I post those jump photos in MarathonRuns Facebook page for runners to vote on it.
Finally, I feel that STS has helped me to continue to be a trail runner that I am now with a completion of more than 40 trail races including many ultra-races as well as four 100 milers. It has given me as well as many other runners an exposure to trail running and racing experience. Directly or indirectly, it also has encourages us to continue train around the year and reach bigger trail/ultra goal in fall and winter months. If you are still not sold on idea of STS races, I recommend you should try few of the STS races. Use it as an excuse to train around the year and hang out with other running buddies. If you are not already a trail running, see how running 7 races in 7 months can turn you into a trail runner as well.
Hope to see you somewhere on the trail running some of the STS races in 2016 season! #HappyTrails
2016 Series Schedule: http://www.southeasterntrailruns.com/STR-Events-Schedule.html
2016 Series 5% Discount code: http://www.mruns.com/?p=15931
Start of 2015 Series photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.885668708159938.1073742002.824172860976190&type=3
More photos can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/marathonRuns/