I attended my first heritage run in Ooty on June 2nd 2019. It is a runner’s dream to run amongst lush green forest, under the trees and valleys away from the traffic of the city. It was dream come true for me!
So whats a trail run
It is about running “on any unpaved surfaces”.It differs from road running and track running in that it generally takes place on hiking trails, often in mountainous terrain, where there can be much larger ascents and descents.
This one was organized by Go heritage runs and Aventura fern hill campsite. The had a beautiful route as can be seen below! Quite circuitous
We left from Bangalore by car and drove through the night all way way to Ooty. We went through the Bandipur tiger reserve. I hadn’t seen sunrise in a long time. It was beautiful waking up to it inside the forest, looking at the deer and elephants.
We took a pit stop for breakfast and continued our way to fern hill. We checked into the campsite and left to retire in our tents. We did a bit of sightseeing and returned back to enjoy the bonfire on the chilly night.
The run was on the Sunday at 6:30 am. The run started at the Lawrence school Ooty, a very pretty school located in Lovedale. This wasn’t a timed run so we got bibs without timers. After some stretching and warm up exercises, the 15km runners were flagged off. This was my first 15K run(I had done a maximum of 10k before this).
The first 5 Km was the ‘Grass pitch’ around the school. It was a marshy land, pretty muddy but very beautiful.
The terrain was grassy and and swampy. The first 2.5 km was downhill and the rest uphill.
The next 5 km was a hillside road upto the valley view point. We ran uphill for another 2.5 km and downhill through the same route. This was quite a sunny path. It was breathtaking running on the roads facing the steep valleys, enjoying the panaromic views of the city.
The next 5 km was down the valley of a tea plantation. It was serene running through the plantation. But the hard part was running back uphill. This path had a depth of about 575 m . So the uphill was a hike and most of us walked our way back. But I guess that’s what a trail run is about.
The solidarity of the runners was amazing – people cheering each other, clapping when we pass by runners on the way back. The enthusiasm of the volunteers to help us cheered us up. It was just glorious to cross the finish line and receive the medal just then and there!
That pride of having made to the finish line is hard to beat!
Just a few things to remember during trail runs: Be careful with the landing. The paths are muddy and rocky. One wrong step and your ankle might get twisted.
Ooty is a beautiful city. We got a chance to visit the toy train, carrot packing godown and enjoy the view of the tea plantations.
Looking forward to doing more Trail runs!
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