By Laura Guido
The idea of a “beginner 50K” race might seem a little counterintuitive, but everyone has to begin somewhere. One of the best places to try out a 50-kilometer trail race is the Great Olympic Adventure Trail (GOAT) Run in Port Angeles, Washington, according to Race Director Lorrie Mittmann. The GOAT Run, which can also be done as a marathon or half marathon, takes place this year on Sept. 11. Registration is open until the day before. “We did a lot of removing roots and rocks,” said Mittman, who was one of the volunteers that built the trail before becoming the race organizer. “It’s a really good beginner trail run.” The GOAT Run, held by Peninsula Adventure Sports, is known for its views of greenery, towering trees and flowers. Participants in the point-to-point trail run will traverse Kelley Ridge between the Olympic National Park and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, finishing at Lake Crescent in the national park. Most of the terrain is on a single-track trail that crosses creeks, cuts through lush old-growth forests and offers stunning views of the Elwha River Valley. “I’ve heard from another race director that it’s one of the most beautiful races she’s ever done,” Mittman said.
Lake Crescent, which is nestled in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, is an especially popular feature, she said, particularly on warmer days when runners may immediately exit the course and jump into its pristine waters. Although broken up into a 50K, marathon and half-marathon, the distances are not exactly precise measurements. The marathon is just under 26 miles rather than the official 26.2, the half is actually closer to 14 miles instead of the official 13.1, and the 50K course is slightly shorter than 50 kilometers, according to the race website. Each course involves a fairly significant amount of elevation gain, but it’s a gradual and rolling gain, rather than a long, steep uphill, Mittman said. “There’s no crazy grades,” she said. “It’s pretty friendly.” It costs $60 to enter the half, $80 for the marathon and $90 for the 50K. A portion of race proceeds will be donated to the Peninsula Trails Coalition and the Peninsula Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Washington. Those who complete their race may be rewarded with food and beverages at the Log Cabin Resort for an after-party, depending on local health guidelines on that day, the website states.To register or learn more, visit www.peninsulaadventuresports.com/events/goat-run/