Sunday, June 5, 2016

2016 Wissahickon Trail Classic Race Report

It's June, and you know what that means: time for another edition of the Wissahickon Trail Classic, the most insane trail race in the Philadelphia area.

Every year around this time, about 500 runners hungry for punishment fling themselves with gusto at the trails surrounding the Wissahickon Creek.

There is no music.  There are no cheering fans with cowbells and funny signs.  There are no Twitter or Instagram accounts for this race.  There are no shiny medals at the end for all participants.  There is no chip timing.  There are no costume contests.

What is there?  Lots of technical trails, and good old fashioned competition.  In the four consecutive years that I have done this race, I have improved on my time every year, but I still have yet to crack the top ten in my age group.  The race course is tough, yes, but your fellow runners are tougher.

Here's last year's race report: 2015 Wissahickon Trail Classic

I arrived at the starting area around 8 o'clock yesterday morning and registered for $40 (a $5 increase over race-day registration last year), then took my time using the porta potties, stretching, and doing a warm-up run.  At 9 o'clock, we all gathered at the starting line where only the first five rows of people could hear the announcements on the megaphone, and we were quickly sent down the path.

Steep switchbacks.  Lots of rocks.  Lots of mud.  A covered bridge.  Two road crossings.  Two water stops.  Single track.  Wide gravel paths.  A creek.  And finally, a turn into the homestretch and a madcap dash to the finish line.  The sweat continues to soak the clothing as the gasping for breath slowly subsides.  It's finally over.  Another year survived.

Last year I finished in 49:45 and 39th place.  This year I finished in 49:20 and was demoted to 55th place.  So it goes with this race.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

I stuck around for awhile to cheer on runners still finishing and get some of the pizza the race provided.  After the awards ceremony, I headed back to my car.

Can't wait for next year.


  1. Congrats on your race! I love the Wissahickon but I know there is so much of it that I haven't explored yet! I need to keep an eye out for this race next year!

    1. Thanks! I'll definitely be at next year's race, hope to see you there!

  2. Good stuff, Scott. Came across your blog as I was perusing the hilarious story of Mike Rossi, which you have a great take on also. I'm a runner and a school principal, so I took to Rossi's fall from grace from both angles. Anyway, I'm enjoying perusing your archives here . . . keep at it!

    1. Hey Chris, glad you found the blog and enjoy what you see. Blogging has slowed down more than I would like in recent months, but I'll keep plugging along. Thanks for reading!


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