Two thousand adrenaline junkies are preparing to get wet and dirty during the 23rd Annual Spillway Classic Trail Run, which begins at 8 a.m. on July 18 at the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
The 3-mile race is the second largest “trail run” in the nation and takes runners through a course loaded with water, mud and fun.
“It’s a lot of fun because it’s a very nice, beautiful trail,” said Chuck George, the race director. “The runners just enjoy something different. A lot of them like to get wet and dirty even though you can run it without getting that dirty.
The first 1-1/4 miles of the race takes place along the spillway levee. The course then turns down the levee into the spillway and proceeds through the “gauntlet.”
This section of the course generally provides the most water and mud, and officials suggest runners do not wear new shoes.
As the course makes a sharp left turn onto the main trail, runners continue on the pathway parallel to the canal back towards the finish line. Along the way, they should expect sharp turns, log jumps, muddy/slippery sections, low limbs and a wooden bridge.
But even if it’s hot, the beautiful, dense forest canopy provides great shade throughout the race.
The difficulty of the course depends on the amount of rainfall. A 0 rating indicates a dry course with no hazards, while a 10 rating indicates a course with a lot of standing water, mud, a slippery surface and hazards.
Last year, the course received a 1.5 rating. In 2005 and 2007, the rating for the course was an 8.
The first 500 finishers will receive Spillway Classic custom issue medallions, while custom commemorative awards will be presented to the top five overall open division finishers. The first place winners in the masters, grandmasters and senior categories will also receive awards.
Because pre-registration is complete, all racers must pay $30 to enter the race. Interested participants may register online at http://www.runnotc.org/races/index.html, or can sign up on race day beginning at 6:45 a.m. at the spillway boat launch pavilion in Norco.