Previewing the 2014 Snake Run

The 2014 Snake Run finisher's medal. Can't say I've seen anything like it. (TZ Childress photo)

The 2014 Snake Run finisher’s medal. Can’t say I’ve seen anything like it. (TZ Childress photo)

We’ve had a few races here in northeast Oklahoma lately, but there ain’t no party quite like the Snake Run. And for many of us, it’s the last biggie before the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon next month.

I ran this one last year, and at that point, it was the longest I’d ever run. That won’t be the case this year, but this race, with its unique format, has a lot to offer trail runners and people training up for bigger races in the future. Here are some things you can look forward to in Saturday’s Snake Run trail race.

Format: Unlike most races, this one is based on time, not a set distance. There are two events: the three-hour and the six-hour races. The rules are simple: Run as far as you can on the course in the given time period. Last year, I did the three-hour race and logged 15.1 miles. I hope to do more this year, but I’m not sure I’m in better shape now than I was then. So we’ll see.

This stretch of singletrack is typical of what runners will see at the Snake Run. Built for speed.

This stretch of singletrack is typical of what runners will see at the Snake Run. Built for speed.

Course: As far as trail races go, this one’s built for speed. It’s basically a 3.75-mile loop (an out-and-back) on the mellowest trails they can find at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness. By mellow, I mean trails that are the least technical and have the least elevation gain in the park. This means it’s not only built for speed, but also for people who are not as experienced at this whole trail running thing as many others are. It’s not flat, and there are some rocks and roots, but it is a pretty fast track. One caveat: if you are in the middle of a loop and don’t finish it before your time limit ends, the mileage on the unfinished loop doesn’t count. However, there is a built-in short loop that you can take and get extra distance if you don’t think you can finish one last big loop for time is up.

Aid stations: Simply put, they are awesome. Expect the usual fruit/salty snacks/water-type of stuff, but there will also be candy and beer. Last year, you could even get breakfast burritos. Who knows what other tasty treats might be in store.

If you're really fast, you'll get a chance to take home one of these trophies. Boo-yah! (TZ Childress photo)

If you’re really fast, you’ll get a chance to take home one of these trophies. Boo-yah! (TZ Childress photo)

The field: It will be made up of all kinds. Some folks will do a couple of laps and call it good. But the three-hour winner last year racked up 25 miles (almost a full marathon, on trails, in three hours!) while the six-hour victor logged a whopping 39.3. That’s more than a 50K. Most of the rest of us will be somewhere in the middle.

Predicted weather: It will be in the low 40s at gun time, and Saturday’s high is expected to be in the mid- to upper 50s. There is a slight chance of rain Friday and Saturday, so it might get a little sloppy in parts. We’ll see.

I like this race because, while we’re all pretty serious about performance, this one is also about fun. TATUR Racing does a great job putting these events together, and I’m always impressed by the caliber of runners who show up. By the way, you can still sign up. Here’s the event home page.

If you’re going, I’ll see you out there!

Bob Doucette

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4 thoughts on “Previewing the 2014 Snake Run

  1. LOVE that trophy! Talk about original. Wow. What a conversation starter that would be, on your desk at work. The medal is awesome too. Could be dangerous.
    We have a 24-hour Ultra here in greater Boston. You can run a 12-hour or whimp out and just run a marathon. ;). It’s not a trail run but it is time based, not distance. And if you don’t finish your last lap within the 12 or 24-hour time frame, it doesn’t count.
    You know it’s a tough group when marathon runners are the cup cakes!

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