XTERRA Courthouse Creek 15k & 7k
Camp Brady Saunders, Maidens, VA
April 6, 2014
I usually have pretty low expectations when participating in any event in its inaugural year. In my experience, first-year events have awesome energy but can feel chaotic and disorganized. Although the Courthouse Creek events were first-year events, the seasoned pros behind the scenes did an awesome job in their organization without losing that first-year magic. The result was a stellar run on some of the best single-track trails in the area.
The Brady Saunders Boyscout Camp in Maidens VA is absolutely beautiful; its also private property. I've been out there once before for a 10k in 2008. I had a blast that year and was disappointed when the event wasn't repeated. I've kept busy at the other great trail-running spots RVA has to offer and kept an eye out for any events out in Maidens.
When the Courthouse Creek 15k popped up on the local running calendar, I was super excited and signed up right away. The event was put together by the folks over at Run Ride Race (in conjunction with XTERRA); they have a great reputation for smooth and fun events for both runners and cyclists in the Richmond area; they didn't disappoint. The very well-marked course was both pretty and challenging; it was almost all single-track and definitely all FUN.
The course was a single loop (hooray!) that traversed through the woods, over creeks, up and down hills (those fun roller-coaster types) and over bridges. About mid-way, we ran through a giant open field; I welcomed the break from the hills and soaked up the warm sunshine and cool breeze. After about a quarter-mile of breezy field-running, the trail led back to the woods and through some of the Boy Scout camp area. It even provided a peek at the High Ropes Challenge Course (now THAT looked rad).
The 15k and 7k courses were very well-marked, although both measured a little short. My guess is that the 15k was actually about 8.7 miles, but that's no biggie. I'll keep that to myself from now on; makes my time look quicker...har har har.
As we runners were wrapping up our part of the day, the cyclists were gearing up for an event of their own, "Six Hours of Saunders," which sounds both intriguing and painful. I'm happy to keep my two feet firmly on the ground, thanks for asking.
I finished up the 15k at 1:20, a time I'm happy with (especially if no one knows it was about a 1/2 mile short, right?). The first place male and female finishers got a sweet prize pack, including a growler from the Center of the Universe brewing company in Ashland (not full O' beer, but still groovy) and a huge box of Power Bars. I really want that growler, so I'll have to either get a lot faster or actually go pay for one.