It was a perfect day for a romp in the mountains. Good thing Lauren and I were running the Malibu Creek Challenge 6k as part of the XTERRA Trail Run series.
We left West LA at around 6am and took PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) up to Malibu Canyon Road and headed to Malibu Creek State Park. Since I had purchased a parking pass online with my registration, parking was pretty straightforward.
We munched on some toast with almond butter and apples after we picked up our bibs, shoe chips and t-shirts. We used the bathroom and stretched a little bit while Matt (the artist formerly known as Race Mom) prepared his camera gear and finished the rest of his coffee (that we brought from home – we’ll explain why that’s important later).
(Notice I’m proudly sporting my Flagstaff Extreme Black Course shirt!)
This race consisted of a 22k (13.75 miles) and a 6k (3.75 miles). We had discussed signing up for the 22k, but as it got closer we decided to do the 6k. And with a bunch of wounded soldiers, we were glad we made that choice!
The XTERRA Trail Run wasn’t a very large race, with under 1,000 participants. As much as we love the national races, sometimes it’s nice to do a smaller one. We lined up and took off at about 8am. The course was BEAUTIFUL, but very challenging. After about a half mile, we started about a mile and a half ascent, which is where I lost Lauren because when it comes to hills she goes into BEAST MODE.
After the brutal mountainous climb, the descent was absolutely beautiful and reminded me why I love running. Lauren and I decided we are going to do more trail running once our injuries heal up. Malibu has so many amazing trails right in our backyard and we hardly take advantage of them.
(There’s my Nathan Handheld – I won’t go on a run without it!)
We both finished in around 50 minutes and checked out the expo. Matt informed us that, as a spectator, he was turned away from ANY of the amenities available for runners. No coffee, no water, they wouldn’t even let him buy a $5.00 beer! I find that extremely unacceptable. It’s one thing to keep fruit and PowerBars for the runners, but denying the people who get up as the crack of dawn to come support their friends and families a cup of coffee is completely discourteous. That really left a bad taste in our mouths.
Another thing that we didn’t find particularly encouraging was the attitude toward the 6k runners. It seemed this event was crafted around the 22k and the 6k was sort of an afterthought. While we were waiting at the start line, the guy with the megaphone was talking about the award ceremony and said, “Of course, the awards are just for the 22k, not the 6k” – needless to say all the 6k runners were not very happy he said that. Running is about encouraging everyone, whether they’re running a half mile or a marathon.
Pros of the XTERRA Trail Run (Malibu Event):
- The price was right at about a $30 signup.
- The course was beautiful and not very backlogged on the single lane trails.
- They had a nice expo with free stuff (even a heart rate monitor ear clip).
- Rock climbing wall (seemed to be overtaken by children).
Cons of the XTERRA Trail Run (Malibu Event):
- No coffee or water for spectators? Epic fail.
- Demeaning the short-distance runners? Another epic fail.
- A little bit of a pretentious “elite runner” vibe of the overall event.
Here’s a picture of the swag we received at the event:
We might try the 22k next year if they do it again and we’re properly trained. Overall it was a nice mellow Saturday morning without too much stress, an easy local event. If you’re looking to add trails to your runs, this is a good one to start with because it’s inexpensive and organized.
Have you ever done a trail run? Where are some of your favorite trails?