Last Saturday I participated in a most unique running event. Called the Doan Creek Trail Run, it was organized to highlight the beauty and adventure hidden in the ravine that runs from Shaker Heights, OH downhill to Cleveland and, eventually into Lake Erie.
It was organized by a local runner who says these trails constitute his morning commute!
A small race with entry capped at 50, it was run on very narrow, often treacherous single track paths that snake up, down and across the creek.
The race was actually three races in one day. a 7.5 mile loop started at 8:00, a 2-loop 15 mile started at 10:00 and a 4-loop 30 mile started at 12:00. These staggered times kept the narrow trails from becoming congested. I chose the 2 loop, 15 mile race.
I ran with a partner, Zachary Lewis, who is our music critic and fitness columnist for the Plain Dealer. It was reassuring for both of us to run together because we were alone for much of it and there were lots of chances to slip and fall. We armed ourselves with Camelbacks, Gu and a small first-aid kit. Plenty of tree roots, slippery rocks and uneven surfaces challenged us on the 15-mile route we ran.
Obstacles of other sorts came our way. I was stung by a bee, almost run over by a boy on a dirt bike, and we nearly interrupted a wedding party posing for photos on a bridge that was part of the course.
We ran our first 7.5 mile loop at a good pace, but in the midst of the second loop, the numerous ups and downs took their toll, forcing us to walk up most of the latter hills.
It was a beautiful day with great weather conditions. Lots of small waterfalls on the course and an abundance of natural beauty combined with some rust belt decay that was interesting in its own way.
That is a Chevy fender embedded in the retaining wall by the trail. Just on the other side is a winding downhill road on which many accidents occur. Maybe the workers found this on the side of the road and decided to place it in their work.
The race director had a tent with water, Heed and snacks at the finish. He even offered to let the finishers shower at his house after the run!