Race For This City: Dauset Trails

Dauset Trails 50K

First of all, if you live in Georgia, love the outdoors, and have never been to the Dauset Trails in Jackson, Georgia, you should stop right this second, open up your outlook calendar, and pick a weekend, or weekday, and tear that place to shreds – whether on foot or mountain bike.

It’s easily one of the most beautiful trail systems in all of Georgia. 1000% runnable, with thick, diverse vegetation, active streams, fast sections, and just enough climb and descent to be fun without kicking your @$$.

A Perfect Place for a 50K Trail Race

Like my boy, Sully, I’ll keep this short and sweet since it was all about long-overdue trail time with two of my close friends, and for me, not so much distance training, as just taking advantage of the opportunity for some runnable trail for a change. I’m training shorter and faster right now to increase the strength of my breathing muscles, so I really had no business running a trail 50K – but, as I’m sure many of you can attest to, we aren’t exactly normal, and our plans rarely well-thought-out.

I woke up race morning with a full-blown sinus infection that had been threatening all week; but once the race started, I never thought about it again. (thank you Afrin and Breathe-Right nose strips)

I didn’t really care about my race time. Since I knew the course was very runnable, I just wanted to run 15-20 miles relatively hard, at significant pace, and then, chill, and let the chips fall where they may.

By the third mile I was running in third position, behind Daniel from Florida, and a local guy named Kevin. I believe overall, Kevin is faster than me, but he got hella lost early-on, which put me in 2nd place by mile 8 and that’s where I stayed. Later, Daniel, the front runner, and I, found each other, lost, in the same place, and opted to figure it out and stay together for a majority of the race.

He finally dropped me on the final loop, and crushed it with a 4:55.

I rolled in at 5:16 which I am absolutely ecstatic about, but also recognize the course was very easy.

There were some issues in the race with markings, logistics, and a lot of runner confusion, but that’s to be expected in an inaugural event, and while it was frustrating at the time, I laid in bed Saturday feeling great. My mind, body, emotions all in sync. Thoroughly spent, with a smile on my face, and an appreciation for even getting to be out there, doing what 99% of the rest of the world will never do.

…but I’m going to try to change that. I want more people to get the stoke.

And That’s A Wrap

I interviewed the Race Director, and would like the rest of the space to be dedicated to him, so read below, to learn more about this race, the entire race series, and maybe you’ll find yourself ripping these trails with us next year.

Interview with Race Director, Ross Davey

Why did you put on this trail race? and why Dauset Trails as the race venue?

The driving reason for this race was to raise awareness and funds for Pennies For Posho, an non-profit that runs orphanages in Uganda. Dauset is a great trail system, designed mainly for bike riders, near the non-profits home. We thought the two where a great fit. I also used the trails as a training ground for the bear creek chase last year.

Is this race part of a series?

The race is part of the Race For This City series. RFTC holds events in a number of cities in GA. Normally a 1/2 marathon road race. Each race supports a local charity in that city. All sponsorship money goes directly to the charity. Race fees are used to cover costs of the event with a percentage going to the charity also. We always want the charity to make more than us the organizers. We basically cover cost with  these races and support our business with other contracted races. This is the first trail race we have held.

What is your connection running, and more specifically, ‘ultrarunning’?

I got into running through my wife. She signed up to run a 1/2 marathon one Christmas for charity. She didn’t realize the race was 13.1 miles and was only 9 weeks away! I helped her train and ran the race with her. I went from couch to 1/2 marathon! the next year I ran a few mud events then a full marathon. I liked pushing myself so the next step was a 50k. It turned out I really don’t like road running and on trails I have more fun and enjoy the event much more. Thats a big pull for me to be active, push myself, and enjoy it.

I understand this years’ sponsors were near and dear to you. What is the connection?

Our sponsors are great! Newsole running in McDonough is one of our biggest supporters.

I think you mean the supported charity instead? “Pennies” works with a lot of the kids that escaped the child soldier thing. Last year the Kony 2012 video really highlighted what was going on over in parts of Africa. Well Pennies has been working there for years. They feed and help over 5000 kids and this keep growing. They keep building new schools and training programs.

Now that the race is over, overall, how do you feel it went?

Overall for a first year race we had around 70 runners over the 3 races, and no one got hurt. A few things happened on race morning that caused me to miss briefing volunteers on course one last time before they went out. This caused confusion for some runners on the longer races. Every race we learn something as a company we are always wanting to make each race better than the last. For this race we learned a lot. I always feel a heavy burden when things go wrong on course everything is ultimately my fault as the race director and runners safety is my number one concern. All in all we had great weather, great runners who handled the confusion very well, and great volunteers. Next year will be better it might not be bigger, but better. I like smaller races and would like to keep this one in the 100-150 mark. We are thinking of having the longer races in the morning and maybe a 5k if there is enough demand for it in the afternoon  , around 4:30, after the ultra runners are off course.

Any final words?

Just a big thank you to all the runners, volunteers, Dauset trails staff. All our volunteers came out on their day off at 5:30am to sit in the woods all day, you got to love them for that. The Dauset trails staff also came in on a day off and stayed late to help us pull down all our gear. As always we are wanting race feed back from runners. Please if you have an idea or comment email me at rossdavey@ddjeventproductions.com

Thanks Christian for coming out and running!

Hey, man, the pleasure was all mine. Thanks for the opportunity. See ya next year!