The first race of this year's edition is at Wakefield Park in Annandale, VA. The course is the least hilly of the four courses on which the race series is held. Generally it runs fast from start to finish throughout the entire race.
The course begins with a short prologue that is approximately a half-mile on pavement. This portion of the course is FAST. By the time the trail makes the sharp downhill left-hand turn to descend to the Cross County Trail the field is spread out from the turn back to the start point!
The cross country trail follows double-track through a tall grass field for another half-mile. The second mile snakes around and between the lower softball fields and makes for some fun running on the grass. I am normally in the first few folks through here and the tall grass leaves you soaked.
At just over 1.5 miles the trail turns toward Accotink Creek and runs into the woods before it runs along the creek and doubles over on some fast rolling hills and switchbacks. One particularly gnarly section is a very "technical" stretch of head sized boulders.
The trail breaks back out of the trees after 4.5 miles of racing. The last mile winds through some high grass fields under some powerlines on downhill switchbacks before joining back up with the Cross Country Trail. This takes you back to the ballfields where there is a very short but slightly upward slope to the finish.
The race is not long and is not anywhere fancy; but Ex2Adventures puts on great events that are a lot of fun. They also help me get some good race-pace speed work in during the early season that easily piggybacks on my training plan with my earlier in the week long runs.
During my last race on this course I finished in 5th place. Check back this Sunday for my results!