Frost Eagle Trail Run 5 Mile Race Report – Brandon Tower

Race: Frost Eagle Trail Run – 5 Miles

Runner: Brandon Tower

Race Date: 01/21/2023

Location: Soaring Eagle Regional Park, Sammamish, WA

Results: 33:15 – 3rd Place

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  • For a trail course, its a good mix of flats and rollers. Nothing so steep that you had to walk, but it had enough variety to keep it interesting and true to trail racing. It was very technical (roots and rocks) but I think that made the course more fun, not less
  • Very well marked course. Even though it’s got a lot of twists and turns, following the course was really easy (although I almost made a wrong turn at the very end before I was saved by some kind spectators!)
  • Easy logistics. Not much more than driving to the park, grabbing a bib, and running. The porter-potty to runner ratio was also great

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

Limited parking. For those running the 5 mile race (which starts later) the only parking is along the road. I was one of the first there for the 5 mile race, and I was about a quarter mile away from the start line. Many others looked like they were parked more than half a mile away from the start. Not a huge deal, but if you need things pre-race that you want locked in your car before the race starts, your trip to the car could be something you have to build into the warm up

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The podium prize is a coffee mug

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

The technical nature of the course creates a different athletic challenge than you’d get running a classic road race. I think this made it a lot of fun! While there were a number of tripping hazards, if you enjoy trail running, I think this is a great course

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

There’s a lot of tight singletrack. If you need to pass another runner, it might require some tactical maneuvering to do so safely and efficiently.

If the course is dry, the ground pretty well packed. I saw at least one runner using the Nike Vaporflys, and they didn’t seem to have any issues with traction. I used a heavy tread shoe myself though

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Should have paced myself better. I tried to hang with the eventual winner for too long, and I paid for it in the back-half of the race.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Keep an eye out for roots and rocks.

Also, the tree cover definitely messes with the GPS watch. The Strava posts I saw all had different distances for the 5 mile course, so the distance/pace monitor isn’t going to be reliable. This became tricky at the end. I had to make a turn towards the end, where one direction went to the finish, and the other took you back out. I thought I still had another quarter-mile to go, so I almost took the wrong direction. Fortunately, some spectators got me going the right way!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Classic forest/wood trail run. The trail is well-kept and scenic

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not especially. The course has some short rollers, but it feels mostly flat by trail standards.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

This group knew what they were doing. Course was well marked, things ran on time, and the experience was smooth.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s a smaller race, probably only 200-300 for both the 5 mile and half marathon. There were some strong runners out there, but its not as deep as other marquee events.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

About as easy as it gets. Sign up online, show up on race day, and run. If you’re local, this is a simple one.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Aid stations were available out on the course. The course is a figure 8, done twice for the half marathon. The aid station is at the 8’s intersection, so you have plenty of opportunities to get aid if you’re looking for it.

Weather and typical race conditions

It’s a late January race, so it’s colder. I missed any rain, but if it had been wet, the course would have been a lot slower.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Nothing special. There’s a tent where you can keep a bag of dry clothes for when the race is done.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

There’s a few places you could post up near the beginning/end of the course.

How’s the Swag?

T-shirts are an additional cost.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

Pretty close to 5 out of 5. Not many areas they could improve on. Race is a lot of fun and very well organized.