Location: Glenn Cunningham Lake; Omaha, Nebraska
Trail Type: Single Track/Limit Gravel
Host: Greater Omaha Area Trail Runnerz (G.O.A.T.z)
Atmosphere: The race takes place in Nebraska in October. In all likelihood the weather is in your favor. Note there are spots where the exposure with the sun can be intense if you are not prepared. Bring a hat and sunglasses if it is clear on race day. It is a Great Plains race, so the weather could fluctuate drastically in little time. However, the 2016 edition had perfect weather and dry trails.
Terrain: Surprisingly diverse. The majority of the course is single track, but this takes form in beds of pine needles, deep rutted out dirt paths along fences, and just lakeside, exposed flat trails. There are also a few sections that include limited gravel; namely along the shoreline of the lake dam. This is not a flat course; the beginning includes several significant climbs if the runner is not ready. A single loop is approximately 10.5 miles in length. The 5 mile course is different than the 10.5/21/50K course in sections. A very runnable course, but do not assume it to be easy.
Logistics/Aid: The G.O.A.T.z organization knows how to run races. In 2016 there were over 500 runners that started at the same time, at the same point on a single track course. Yet, there was little bottlenecking, and the field spread out very quickly. There are two primarily aid stations on the course, with a smaller secondary water stop. Aid stations are fully stocked with Honey Stinger products, Tailwind, water, sweet and salty snacks. All stations are maintained by experienced runners that are local to the area. This race is a well-oiled machine.
Post Race: There was birthday cake. I am not kidding. I think it was someones birthday, but even if it wasn’t I would not be surprised that this group would have sheet cake. There was also several options of chili to choose from after the race. Additionally, there was A.R.T and massage tents set up for after the race. Also, it should be noted that leaving the course to go home was not a difficult task. Parking is easy, and leaving is just as easy.
Beginners Luck: Do not underestimate this course. It is not overly hard, but the technical level is there. If you are not paying attention you will trip over a stump, rock, or something of that nature. With that said, between the great aid stations, the 5 miles between stations, varying distances, and the overall structure of the race; it definitely would be a great race to get your feet wet.
This is a great race to try out different distances on. That mixed with the support may be the strongest thing going for this event. Be wary of the weather due to its location and time of the year. If this was a rain soaked event, it could be rough. Hesitance does exist for making this a true ‘beginners race’ because of the fact that the course can easily be underestimated by new runners.