When it comes to trail running, there are few better places than the Pacific Northwest. Whether you head to the coast, the mountains or a local park just 10 minutes from home, you’ll probably stumble across a great trail to explore.
But learning to turn your hike into a jog requires a bit more work. First, we suggest checking out this ANW article for beginner trail running tips. Second, why not sign up for a race that will take your miles off-road? Here are a few of our favorite beginner-friendly trail-running events to consider this fall.
1. St. Edward Harvest Half and 10K
October 11th in Kenmore, Washington
On this epic run through beautiful Edward State Park along Lake Washington, you’ll run one rolling loop (10K) or two (a half-marathon), for a total climb of 1060 or 2150 feet, depending on race length.
2. Molalla River Trail Race (Bigfoot 5K and Bigfoot 10K)
October 18th in Molalla, Oregon
This non-profit race takes place about 20 minutes outside of Molalla, along the Molalla River Corridor — which, you might want to know, has been noted for Bigfoot sightings on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot. (Be on the lookout!) The hilly route alternates between double- and single-track, and all proceeds benefit the community and trail system.
3. Happy Girls Run Sisters
November 2nd in Sisters, Oregon
This women’s-specific event includes both a trail half-marathon and a 5K road run. Performed mostly on single-track, the half-marathon is a point-to-point race that takes you into the Peterson Ridge Trail System. The 5K road race, on the other hand, guides you through downtown Sisters.
4. Ravenna Refresher
November 8th in Seattle, Washington
Choose between a 4K, 8K or 12K route in Ravenna Park. It’s smack dab in the middle of a bustling city neighborhood, but this forested park feels like it’s miles away. You’ll enjoy nice, freshly groomed trails and tackle a few short climbs during the race.
5. Hell of the Northwest Half-Marathon or 10K
November 15th in Alsea Falls, Oregon
Expect a challenge (and some gorgeous scenery) at this race, winding through a lush forested area by the Oregon Coast. You’ll climb over 2,000 feet on the half-marathon course, but the views will make it all worth it.
6. Grand Ridge 5-mile, Half-marathon, Marathon and 50K Trail Run
November 15th in Issaquah, Washington
Pick your distance and enjoy a long (or short) run through Grand Ridge Regional Park. You’ll tackle some hills and well-groomed double- and single-track trails. The race’s aid stations offer all kinds of goodies, too.
To search for additional trail running races around Oregon and Washington, check out www.trailrunner.com.