Rockford 9 Mile Trail Race Recap

Sorry bear with me through this race recap because this race was QUITE the experience. Mostly ridiculous.

Jen and I set a goal to run one race a month for the entire year. January was a great experience, but February was something else.

We signed up for the Rockford 9 Mile Trail Race knowing that a February 20th race could take place in horrible weather conditions. We definitely did not expect a 50 degree day that’s for sure. The warmer temperature turned out to be a curse. The snow on the trails had started melting, but unfortunately all it did was freeze as a thin sheet of ice across the entire trail. Other areas? Straight mud. Mud up to our ankles. Oh and all the trails were grass trails. So even if the conditions hadn’t been so bad, it would have still been really difficult. We weren’t prepared. This was the email the night before:

The race was a small one, so we weren’t near people much at all. Luckily we stuck with each other, otherwise we could have been completely alone. There weren’t even any volunteers out on the trails.

By the end of the first mile our feet were soaked, our legs were mud covered, and we wanted to quit. We had eight miles to go.

My Garmin died by mile three and the course didn’t have any mile markers so we had no concept of how far we’d gone or how many miles we had left. Again, a blessing and a curse.

Somewhere between miles 3 and 4 we ran into a small boy who looked really sad. We asked him if he was okay and he said he lost his parents and he was really worried about them due to the conditions of the trails. We assured him that they were okay and that he should stick with us for the rest of the race. So from there on out Jen, Tommy, and I were a three man team.

We walked a bit through the thick muddy areas. We ice skated across the ice sheets (legitimately clutching onto each other as we shuffled our feet). The whole thing was comical. But listening to an 11 year old boy tell us about his three previous half marathons and triathlons was inspiring. He was out there bravely fighting these trails too and we couldn’t give up if he wasn’t giving up.

Running into Tommy was the best thing that could have happened to us during this race. They really were horrible racing conditions and it wasn’t very fun, but we were in the right place at the right time. I feel like we were meant to run into this lost boy. We were supposed to run this race together. We all got each other through it and we came out stronger. We were tough. We fought through it. And we learned that we can never complain about a road race again.

This 9 mile trail race took us 2 hours and 1 minute. And we were proud of that time. We fought a lot of elements and made some friends along the way. We learned that we’re tougher than we think. Every race teaches us something. And we’re really hoping our March race teaches us some less serious lessons.


 2 months down, 10 to go!



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