|Sam Houston Jones State Park post Hurricane Laura|
It will come to be understood as being the same thing as saying, "Whatever could go wrong, will" also known as "That's so 2020". As we approached our first year of hosting No Man's Land Trail Race in the beautiful Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana, we were watching updates from the governor and local officials about Covid guidelines and became hopeful that the only real effect on the race would be limiting our capacity. No big deal since it meant we were able to have an ACTUAL in person event. Then a very unpleasant lady named Laura introduced herself and threw quite the tantrum right over southwest Louisiana. Lake Charles and surrounding areas were hit pretty hard. Homes were almost completely destroyed due to the severity of the winds. Trees and power poles blocked the roads, and all types of housing materials could be found littering the landscape. Where there were once beautiful live oaks, now there were cleared fields. The devastation of this storm is hard to describe, and hard to believe if you haven't seen it in person.
Naturally, being in the heart of the storm, Sam Houston Jones State Park, the home of No Man's Land, was hit pretty hard. It will take months just to get access to everything, and years to get back to some semblance of normalcy. The cancellation of the race was sad for us, but so very minor considering what our friends and loved ones are facing. The people of southwest Louisiana are used to rolling up their sleeves and taking care of business, so they will rise again as they have before. We are already looking forward to No Man's Land on October 23, 2021. We are offering our Lake Charles and SW Louisiana friends impacted by the storm half price entries into the event (just enough to cover our costs). Before you sign up, if you are from these areas, send me a message and I will send you the code.
After already having to cancel Chicot Challenge last March, in the early days of the pandemic, this was another blow. But, now we shift our sights to the 4th annual Loup Garou Trail Run. Here's a look at an early video with views of the trail. Click the picture.
All of the permits are in hand and I am in communication with our state park officials as well as the park managers, and the race is on! Currently, there are a few elderly Covid patients being housed in the park, so a portion of the trial is closed. Since it is a loop course, we have a "plan b" route in place should that still be the case in December. The State Parks representative I am talking to doesn't think that will be an issue by race time, but he suggested a backup plan just in case.
That is all set and approved by the park manager, so one way or another we run. If we do have to follow the "plan b" route (which by default means out and backs, since the course is a loop), we will have to come up with special tshirt designs or something to commemorate the (hopefully) once in a lifetime event.
Following Loup Garou is Red Dirt Ultra in the beautiful Kisatchie National Forest, which also took some damage from Laura. No one can say she wasn't thorough. But, our fantasic Forest Service Representative up there assures us that the trail will be cleared by race time, so that is a go as well. Man it will be good when things feel normal again.
Here is a short video with pictures from the Red Dirt trail. Excuse the music being splotchy - I am a trail runner not a video editor :-). Might want to mute it and just enjoy the pics. Click the picture for the video.
Then, we wrap up the year with our end of the year trial party, Chicot Challenge 60 mile relay. This is always a great weekend of celebrating our race seasons and spending time with our favorite people - trail runners! At Chicot Challenge, you can choose to build a team of 2 - 5 people to cover the 60 mile distance, or run the 20 miler all on your own. Either way, there is hot food and cold beverages waiting for you when you finish.
With us still under the Covid guidelines, our volunteers will follow all of the necessary precautions to keep themselves and you safe - gloves, masks if close contact is necessary, all food in individual portions, etc. We are outlining those now to be sure that everyone can feel safe coming out and running in nature, and feel "normal" for a while. Who would have thought that normal would sound so appealing?
Any questions about the races or trails above, shoot me an email at: PaixRunning@gmail.com