Those who know me, know I love to run. I love the way it makes me feel (and perhaps more importantly, the way it enables me to eat whatever I want), and so, when I picked up a special trail running issue of Runner’s World and came across a trail race that happens in southern Maine, I was compelled to write about it.
The Pineland Trail Running Festival is an annual event, held in late May, at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine. Pineland is an extensive campus, originally founded in 1908 to serve as a home for the mentally disabled in Maine. Today, Pineland Farms is a 5,000 acre working farm with educational and recreational opportunities. They have a number of beautiful venues for weddings and other events, in addition to their various businesses and shops that are centered around responsible farming and animal ownership.
The Pineland Trail Running Festival was specifically mentioned in the Runner’s World issue as the “Best Barefoot Event,” but when I visited the website, I realized it is much, much more. The event is held on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 25th and Sunday, May 26th, and includes races ranging in distance from 5K to 50 miles. There is a specifically barefoot 5K held on Saturday. While barefoot running may not be for you, I strongly encourage you to give trail running and trail racing a try – and this event is a great opportunity to dive in.
Recently, I’ve become enchanted with trail running and racing. How could anyone not be, after trying it? There are few more invigorating experiences than being surrounded by nature in all its glory, and having it test your strength and commitment by throwing roots, rocks, hills, and more in your path. If I were going to be in Maine this Memorial Day Weekend, I can guarantee I would be at this event – probably trying 10K race.
In addition to the racing, there are a number of family-friendly events being held on Saturday afternoon, after the completion of the races. A BBQ is followed by free events including a three-legged race (a personal favorite of mine), a crab crawl, and a wheel barrow race. For the kid in all of us, there will also be face painting and a balloon artist.
While I would love to be there to participate in one of the races, I can assure you that, if you go, you will enjoy much more than just the running – the many experiences and activities offered at Pineland will draw you in – there is much more to do there than you can complete in a day.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s weekly recipe – Whoopie pies! A classic Maine dessert that is a perfect example of why I run…