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More than 100 tackle Wascally Wabbit

‘Trail running is definitely a different beast’

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
June 12, 2017

FOLLY LAKE, N.S. – It’s crazy tough terrain for 27.5, 55 or 82.5 kilometres, much of it with wet feet and mosquitoes, and those who do it love it.
Race director Jodi Isenor said it went “super well” and the reviews from participants in the Wascally Wabbit VII trail run at Folly Lake seem to agree with him. Whether they were running one, two or three loops, runners were thrilled with the experience.
“Trail running is definitely a different beast,” said Sheldon Morris. “I can see how it’s attracting the masses.”
Photos by Blair Mann, Anthony Fromm
(From left) Anthony Fromm, Sheldon Morris, Mike Hudson, Matt Bragg, Debra Dawn Megeney and John Collicott were among the participants on the Wascally Wabbit trail run in Folly Lake, N.S. on Saturday, June 10.
Last year’s event drew 55 participants, while this year’s saw 104 take part.
It was the first trail race for Morris, who completed one 27.5K loop. He said he enjoys the social aspect of the event – tenting, barbecuing – and having time to talk with others while climbing some of the tougher terrain.
The scenery can also be amazing, as can the feeding stations with cookies, gummy bears and pop.
“Trail runners also seem to be willing to punish themselves for hours over unforgiving terrain, four hours even into the dark with wet soggy feet,” he said. “Many stick together with a ‘leave no one behind’ mentality. It’s so cool to see people finishing a loop, repacking gear, attending to a few hot spots and heading back out.”
One of those who headed back out for a second loop was Steve Taylor, running in his third trail event and first for an ultra. He had been aiming to do three loops but stopped after two, deciding 55k was enough.
He complimented the organizers on a job well done.
10 Things I learned from Wascally Wabbit:
By Steve Taylor

  1. If you have good stories, get them out on the first loop. The chat level takes a dive on loop two.
  2. Run down the middle of the huge puddle, there’s usually a ridge.
  3. I’m not a heart monitor guy, but I’m going to be on my next trail race. Being able to monitor where you’re at when you’re on crazy, varying terrain is very helpful. I relied on my buddy Andrew Hanlon and I’m very glad he was working the pace pedal for me.
  4. Just like shopping, don’t pack race fuel while hungry. The stuff I brought was mostly quite unappetizing after 27K. Pizza might be okay, but with olives – no. A peanut butter sandwich might seem fool proof, but not when it’s all gummed up in your mouth and won’t go down fast. I had lots of Gatorade in my camelback, but I wish I’d had some straight water along too. I did like the coke - still carbonated.
  5. The terrain that seems smooth on the first lap gets ugly by lap two when you’re tired and you will end up on the ground somewhere.
  6. Funniest and ugliest moment: Early on loop two, I slipped in uphill mud and went down hard and caught a small sharp stump on the side of my face, nearly in my ear canal, and another on my leg. I got up and asked Andrew what he was seeing. He said “no leaks” and asked if I was seeing double. I wasn’t and on we went. I’m not so sure about his trailside manner. He ended up face down in a puddle not long after.
  7. When you find yourself with a few other people who have marathon times a half hour better than yours, take your foot off the gas.
  8.  Don’t cheat on your training. I did get a decent amount of double long run weekends in, but I was light on hills and trail run conditions. Other commitments stole some of my midweek miles that I should have had in the tank.
  9.  It’s okay to curse the 20-year-olds tearing down the hills. It helps take the pain away from older joints.
  10.  If you don’t trail run – do it. Like road running, there’s a whole community of really nice, welcoming people out there who will make you thank yourself for trying something different.
“The crew from Nova Scotia Trail Running are great,” said Taylor. “They were very fussy about making sure no one left without the right safety gear, and the course was very well marked and marshaled. Taking care of us was obviously their No. 1 concern.”
Having 15 marathons and plenty of road races under his belt, Taylor found it very different and funny that the first aid station was located 14K in the deep woods, where he got to fuel up with a big cup of Coke and four Oreo cookies.
He said the course was awesome, featuring everything from wood roads, rough trails, and nasty/fun steep up-and-downs full of mud and water obstacles.
“This is not a 5K mud hero,” said Taylor. “That would be like comparing the Bay of Fundy with an outdoor town pool.”
Taylor learned plenty from the experience, and was generous with advice for the would-be trail runner.
See the sidebar to the right for a closer look at what Taylor picked up.
It was the second time at Wascally Wabbit for Anthony Fromm, who was one of 14 who completed all three loops for 82.5K.
“I love the challenge of just completing it, and pushing beyond what a marathon can offer,” said Fromm, who finished in 11:58. “Picking yourself up and forcing your body out for the third loop is the toughest. Once you leave, you are going to finish.”
Fromm said his mistake was changing shoes prior to the third lap.
"As soon as they got wet, they felt like bricks... I felt pretty stupid for switching," he said.
For the full results, visit here .