Two days before the race, Bea Q. texted and asked if I wanted to join her and John at the Bad Little Trail Run. Even if I hadn't already had an interest, how can you resist a race with a name like that?!
The Bad Little Trail Run is sponsored by the Bold Coast Runners to benefit the Downeast Coastal Conservancy. There's a 2.5 and a 7-mile distance, both of which use single track through preserve land and the Down East Sunrise Trail. The Bad Little Trail Run is named from the Passamaquoddy word "Machias," meaning Bad Little Falls, in reference to the falls on river in downtown Machias.
So what had attracted my initial attention to a trail race in Machias? The section of the Down East Sunrise Trail used in the 7-miler overlaps one of the legs I ran in the 2019 DEST Relay. I ran that leg just before sunrise, as a pink glow gathered in the night sky. It had an eerie beauty then, and I was curious to return in the light of day.
I was not disappointed! The race weather was perfect--sunny and 45 degrees. The first quarter-mile took us over the bridge over the Machias River, and the width of the muti-use trail gave the runners some room to maneuver for initial position. Next, a quick left onto singletrack took us along the river, through some gently rolling pine forest and along the edge of what appears to have been an old farm. After a little over a mile, it was back to the multi-use trail. The runners in the 2.5-mile race quickly cut back into the woods to return to the start while the athletes on longer course used the next couple miles on the DEST to put down some fast miles. I chose to be more patient here, as early speed is never my smartest strategy.
I was rewarded with 3.5 miles of gorgeous singletrack back to the bridge crossing. There were some technical sections, including crossing a beaver dam, interspersed with gentle trail along the river. So fun and so gorgeous! Eventually the technical sections gave me enough of an advantage that I came along John and Bea, who heard my approach. When I'm working especially hard, I tend to giggle, which they use to locate me in the woods. We kept easy tabs on each other until the final return on the DEST, when Bea (who is an incredible closer) slowed her pace to share the finish with me.
I can't say enough nice things about the Bold Coast Runners. The Start/Finish area was organized and welcoming. The course was well marked, with marshals at the major intersections, and one of their team members ran sweep to make sure that no athlete struggled alone. These are details I don't expect from trail races, but I love them because they make the sport accessible to newcomers. Also, the fire pit and potluck were on point, and whomever brought the hot apple cider is my new hero.
I highly recommend this race to anyone who wants to explore Downeast Maine or who wants a supportive first trail running experience. The Bad Little Trail Run is the trail running community at its best.