This is a quick and dirty post facto write-up for the Dark and Dirty Miles 10K from July. This was my first trail race since 2017, and I haven’t been doing much trail running over the past year or so. So it seems totally logical to pick a hilly, technical race to get back into the swing of things, right? And for bonus points, do the race at night. (At least I picked the short course.)
Eastern Oklahoma is pretty rocky and hilly – it’s right next to the Ozarks – and this course does not disappoint. The race takes place in Robbers Cave State Park just outside Wilburton, OK. Things start off with a bang, heading up a steep and long gravel jeep road before heading into the woods for, you guessed it, more climbs. A couple of sections seemed more like rock scrambling than running, and a cautious approach is best, especially with a headlamp throwing shadows.
The course wraps up by heading back down the long gravel hill, so you get a good quad workout to finish things off. And because the course is only 5K, runners get to enjoy the ups and downs multiple times (fortunately only twice for the 10K).
I recorded 286 meters (938 feet) of elevation gain over the 10K. I was initially a little disappointed with my 1:40 finish time, until I saw that the winning time was 1:10. My time was good enough for 26th overall and second in my age group, so not too bad for a first outing back on the trails.
The race was well-organized and a lot of fun. And the post-race party was outstanding, including on-site BBQ (if you’re into that sort of thing). If you’re looking for a run summer race that’s not insufferably hot I recommend you check it out. And there are also 25K and 50K options if you like a little extra discomfort with your evening.