serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

XTERRA Georgia Trail Race Series: Thrills in the Hills

posted by Chris Barber
Courtesy of Defiant Photography of Atlanta

Courtesy of Defiant Photography of Atlanta

I ran the XTERRA Georgia Trail Race Series Race Thrills in the Hills today and it was just an extremely sloppy event…because it had rained for 24 hours prior.  It was wet out.  I’ll go ahead right now and just tell you; I loved it.  After watching 24 hours of rain and waking up at 6 am, I wasn’t very motivated to run this morning but that soon changed when I got out on the course and started running.

The trail is used for mountain biking and is highly trafficked so the trail floor was good ole’ Georgia red clay.  I love it.  It made the course a little more technical with the abundance of standing water.  Let’s see you do that Pacific Northwest soil!  The start was wide enough to allow for runner’s to space out for the first 800 meters, then it’s 95% singletracks…dot com. The only points that weren’t singletrack were the longer hills traveling up the power lines which worked great for the course on this wet morning.  These hills had grass on the sides of the double-track trail which made going up the hills a little more bearable.  This is where I made my moves.  Three water and Gatorade stations spread out enough that you we still able to get your time in by yourself on the trail.  Overall, the best thing about the course was that it was rolling, allowing you to keep a fast, rhythmical pace.

The race was also very well organized.  It looked like the 400-500 people who registered, showed up for the race even in such harsh conditions!  Race registration was the smoothest I have ever seen it.  I was a race day entry and they got me an ankle chip and a number within 7 minutes of me getting there…and this was less than an hour until the race start!  They probably could have used a couple more porta-potties but I’ve never been to a race that didn’t have a long line to use the restroom.  I pay attention to porta-potty levels because I go to the bathroom before every race I run…maybe you didn’t need to know that.  However, there was an abundance of woods if you had an emergency.  Interesting huh?  My favorite thing about the race organization was how quickly they printed out unofficial results.  I hate having to wait, sometimes until the next day on the Internet, to find out if I broke into the top three in my age group, what place I got overall, and what my official time was.  Everyone you see after the race is going to ask you how you did.  I hate having to say, “I don’t know.”  I know everything.  At Thrills in the Hills they had the times posted about 30 minutes after the first finisher!  Just enough time to enjoy some fruit and Gatorade and talk to other runners.  Mixed crowd, all types of runners; all had extremely dirty calves.  The front of my body was pretty dirty too.  So yes.  I was behind somebody at some point in the race.  Well, about 17 somebodys.  I know this because I saw the results before leaving the race!

Overall, this is a great race and trail to run.  I drove an hour to the race this morning but I would travel at least 2 to run this race!  If you live in Georgia and don’t run this next year you are lame.  I’m cool.  I ran it.

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  1. [...] despite difficult conditions every runner had an excellent time.  It was extreme…ly fun.  Read more about last year’s [...]

  2. [...] It was beautiful weather for trail running, a vast difference, from the sloppy, muddy fun of last year’s Thrills in the Hills trail race.  This year also introduced the first marathon distance trail run in the XTERRA Georgia [...]

  3. [...] favorite food after a trail race for sure.  If you want to read more about the race check out my race recap of the 2009 Thrills in the Hills trail race.  Or check out more 2011 trail races in [...]