Friday, April 10, 2009

Short of cash but need a race fix? Hit the trails..

Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 10th, 2009. Original version of article here

So you’re laid off or worried you’re about to be. That new triathlon bike you’ve been eyeing in the window at the Spokesman, or that multi-stage adventure race in Alaska have suddenly become unrealistic. But does that mean you have to throw in all your athletic ambitions?
Hell no. After all, you’re going to need to stay fit after losing your health benefits.
So, you might think about taking up trail running.
Trail running has experienced a boom in recent years. More events have sold out faster and trail shoes are flying off the shelves.
Some of the appeal may be traced back to the grass roots, back-to-nature feel of the events. Trail running flaunts its minimalist approach. Its cult hero is two-time Leadville 100-mile champion Anton Krupicka. He runs shirtless, doesn’t appear to have a barber and sleeps on friend’s floors to support his addiction to the Colorado outdoors.
Santa Cruz boasts an endless credit line of interesting trails to train on and an upswing of low cost races to fuel your competitive fire. Pogonip and Wilder Ranch and Nisene Marks state parks are well known for their great single track, but there are also hidden pockets of dirt you may be able to reach from your front door. Some possibilities: Arana Gulch, DeLaveaga and Schwans Lagoon.
When it comes to races, trail runs can also be dirt cheap. Entry fees are generally less expensive compared to their road equivalents due to the fact race directors don’t have to pay for pricey road closures.

So, no need to give up those exercise induced beta endorphins in down times. Boost the economy with a new pair of shoes and go explore one of the best trail running towns in the world.

Martin Spierings was the top local finisher at the Sentinel Triathlon last year and coaches endurance athletes.
His column on running and triathlon will appear monthly in Outside. Contact him at
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