Race: Porter Creek Trail Run

Runner: Frank Fisher

Race Date: 12/14/2019

Location: Porter Creek Campground, Elma, WA

Results: 3rd overall

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2933031644

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

The course, the vibe and the post race.

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

No coke at the aid stations! Not a big deal, but there’s not much to complain about.

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

There were “Yule Logs” hidden out on the course…what the freak is a Yule Log? I don’t really know, but I did see lots of logs.

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

I took it more like a workout. Plan was to go out pretty easy and then build the last 5 miles. I love this course, and if it was closer to me I would be there regularly. It’s kind of rolling with a modest climb on the way out, and perfect for a nice fast downhill to finish. I nailed my plan, the trails were runnable and smooth and I felt great! None of it is too technical or dramatic, but it’s still a fun trail.

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

Parking is a little tough, but plenty of space if you poke around some. Also, other restrooms in the campground besides the one’s by the race start/finish. Not a technical course, but there are some slick/muddy areas that can get you. Only 1700 ft of vert, most of it comes in the first 4 miles and is very modest. You don’t need to be a mountain goat for this one. Some good fast road running prior will probably help if you want to go fast on this course.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Park closer to the campground entrance.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The 10 mile and 25k are out and backs on the same trail. The 10 mile has all the fun parts and would be super fun to hammer. I’d say it’s probably okay to go out more aggressive on either the 10 mile or 25k, as the way back is pretty forgiving and mostly downhill.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s standard PNW fare. Not of ton of big beautiful views, but plenty to look at. Some nice pretty spots here and there.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Nope. Climbs are modest, nothing terribly technical, a little bit of mud, very runnable.

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

Well run and organized. Super nice crew!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not really. Not a big race, but there are some fast folks that show up. For the most part, it’s the local crowd. Very laid back, not a competitive vibe.

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.

They do have online registration and day of. I registered day of and had no problems (cash or check only though). It is a bit of muddy drive on county roads, but nothing you need a 4-wheel drive for. Other than that, easy to get to if you’re anywhere near Olympia.

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

Standard fare, maybe a little less than standard. I didn’t stop to look to be honest. No coke, that’s all I know. They did have water, chips, and some other stuff. Not really a race that needs a fully stocked aid either.

Weather and typical race conditions

It’s December in the PNW, it’s wet and cold. Temps were high 30’s low 40’s. It rained earlier, but stayed away during the race. It was actually really nice trail running weather.

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

Cupless race, so keep that in mind. I kept it simple, one small water bottle and a couple gels in my waist band. Decent trail shoe would be fine, you would probably also be fine in a regular trainer. Dry clothes for post race, and a cup or bowl for the post race soup!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?


How’s the Swag?

I think they had some for purchase, hats and tees. Top three overall men and women had their choice of presents from under the tree. I won a headlamp!

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

5 out of 5 stars. I love this race! If you’re looking for a mellow, low-key race on a fun course than this is the race for you. It would be a good one as a first trail race too. I would come back for the 25k again, or the 10 mile. Really enjoyed this one.

Frank Fisher is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Frank, check out his coaching page.