Foothill Flyers Race Reviews
Last update April 10, 2016
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Foothill 5K Challenge

2nd Sunday in April, Glendale Sports Complex, 8:15 AM Start.
App and info: Click on race name above.

According to Catherine Gallagher:

So...the "You can do!" bug is a little strong especially when something is a month away, you've just been fed pizza and beer at meeting night hosted by Run With Us, and you've just been given a pep talk by an enthusiastic race director about a great trail 5K in the hills of Glendale. Hey, it’s for a good cause – backonmyfeet.org – that helps turn the lives of homeless people around in part by running with them. Who cares that I will run two 5K’s back-to-back? (Derby Day Saturday and the Foothill 5K Challenge Sunday) I mean. Come on. We’re FOOTHILL Flyers. We eat up trails. Right?

Well, the biggest challenge was not the run, but getting out of bed for it. Still dark out, cloudy, cold. The warm covers were beckoning to the muscles just a tad tired from Derby Day to simply roll over and forgeddaboudit. But no. I do not want a “DNS” on my record for laziness.

The drive to Glendale on a Sunday morning is very pleasant, and the Sports Complex easy to find, but there is only really parking for about 400 cars with 500 entrants so the runners were warned to get there early.


A long line of runners snake up the trail from the Glendale Sports Complex.


View from atop the hill at the turn around.

45 minutes early won me a spot in the overflow lot, and then a big climb to the start line with inner gratitude that at least we weren’t running THIS steep grade.

The race village is warm and inviting. Lots of local vendors are out to support a good cause. They have a raffle for some nice prizes (I won one!), a bakery handing out post-race carbs, and a Yoga instructor leading all of us who were interested in some post-race stretches.

The start line is staggered, which is necessary because much of the trail is single track. Unfortunately, not all people really understand how to self-seed, which leads to annoying moments on the trail – both for the speedsters who started late and the slowsters who started early. I picked the 3rd wave, which was about right. After about a mile of being “on your left-ed” and “on your left-ing” everyone sorted out to the right position. The act of passing on single track brought me close to some plants that made me nervous. Thus, after the run, I pulled out my mother’s secret weapon against poison ivy – Fels Naptha soap for my lower legs. Essentially strip all the oils from the skin. Does it work? Not sure. I only know I never got poison ivy rashes growing up.

The first climb is a bit of a traffic jam, but that actually has the effect of calming me down. No WAY I will ever get near to a PR this race and it’s clearly EVERYBODY ELSE’s fault. There. That’s out of my system. Now let’s just enjoy this thing.

One climbs, and climbs, and climbs. The race description is “over 1000 feet in 2 miles.” Yeah. It is. The trails are decently maintained, packed sand single track. Of course there were grooves from the last rain but nothing more technical than that. They warn you about drop offs and as good race directors they must, but really just the run-of-the-mill San Gabriel trails. The race has only one double-back section where you see the faster runners in the other direction while you’re climbing the steepest section, but the area has enough breadth to deal with it.

The views are spectacular. One is on the “Catalina Verdugo Trail” in the San Gabriels. Lovely hills.

Once at the turn-around, we get to run downhill for about 1.5 miles. Ah….bliss.

The race is fairly small. About 500 runners. They only give prizes for the top 3 men and top 3 women. So nice to see #1 woman was 50 and #2 was 13. Talk about range!

Post-race party was at Golden Roads Brewery, where they were serving discounted beers. I didn’t drive there because the thought of finding parking for 500 of us seemed daunting and I didn’t know the other runners. Next year, perhaps, we can carpool with other Flyers.

All in all a very fun race!


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