May 04, 2009

Overlook Trail Race

The North Medford Club hosted the Overlook Trail Race out of Saima Park in Fitchburg. It was the fourth race in the 2009 Eastern New England Trail Race Series.

This was my first visit to the area and after asking for directions, I was intrigued by the instruction to "veer right at the large boulder in the town's center." Well, there it was! Thankfully I also spotted the small red sign for the park. Thankfully, the bridge was out on the opposite side from where I needed to drive. And, thankfully, other runners arrived before me so I knew this was the place. Saima Park is unassuming and home to The Finnish Center, which also touts cross country skiing and cyclocross events.

Like many New England trail races, this registration area indicated little abo
ut the actual trails. The course incorporated a mixture of Audubon, Land Trust and City of Fitchburg properties. An advertised highlight (on T shirt below) was the view at the mid-course water stop along the Overlook Reservoir.

Of course, I was dee-lighted to spot that the T-shirt also had five owls on it. Hooo wouldn't be?! Yes, another addition to my woodland critter t-shirt collection! Trail Pixie gives the Overlook a "5 out of 5 Owl Rating."

The start/finish area were a piece up the road from the parking area (about 1/4 mile) and both the 7-mile and 5k races started together and quickly spread out along the flat start and soon trail ascension.

Run on doubl
e and single track trails, the surfaces varied greatly from rocky, rooted and rugged to hard-packed dirt and pine needles. There were two small water crossings: the first over well-placed rocks and the second right through the drink. My favorite section was a terrific stretch of smooth flat rock between low pines before a thunderous descent! Runners with technical trail and uphill proficiency should not overlook this race.

I started out with Dan S and Running Rob but they'd put in fresh Energizer batteries that morning so I dropped back and stuck to my 10 min/mile training plan. Basically I walked all of the up hills, wee-haaa'ed the downhills and ran the flats. Not the springiest performance but Trail Pixie needs to pace herself for the season and mountain series. Results of this uphill walker & downhill roller: 66:25.
For O'All Cool Results: here.

Additional Highlights:

  • Running with friends in new areas;
  • Catching up with trail-racer inductee Sara M;
  • Earning ENETRS points;
  • Long-sleeve colorful shirt with OWLS.
  • "Wet Gaiter" contest with Rob in stream;
  • Meeting many little dogs.
More photos by Running Rob: Oh, Looky Here.


Unknown said...

I love your reports and pics..I always feel like I am right there with you when I read them and that the races you run are always such a fun day 4 you

Soapstone is right around the corner...I am excited but I realized after this weekend that I need to get in more weekly runs....I kept up with the 1st and 2nd place women at wapack for about 15 miles then droped back at least 10 minutes I think druing the last 6 miles!! I was SUCKING wind : )

Unknown said...

Yay! Overlook was definitely a HOOT. I felt like I had wings flying down those hills and thought there was nothing fowl about the entire experience!

Great stuff as always!