Sunday, September 6, 2015


I set out this year to complete the USATF-NE All Terrain Runner (ATR) series.  I figured it would be a new and interesting way to try something different and see how I stacked up against others on various types of terrain.

The series consisted of 7 races and your top 5 performances were counted towards the results.

The races:
- 1 mile Indoor Track Run (January)
- 10k Snowshoe (March)
- 10 Mile Trail (Originally April, Moved to May due to too much snow).
- 5K Track (May / June)
- 6.6 Mile Mountain (July)
- 5K XC (August)
- 20K Road (September)

When I started the year, my goal was to run all 7 seven races.  How can you call yourself an All Terrain Runner if you skip one of the types of terrain?

But with the heat, a sore hamstring, a new baby, work stress, and overall lack of sleep, I decided to drop back to just 5 of the 7.

NH XC Festival 

Location: Manchester, NH
Date: 8/22/2015
Distance: 3.1 miles
Goal: Undefined
Actual: 18:48 (6:04 / mile)
Place: 48 OA, 13 AG

I completed my 5th race, the 5K XC at the NH XC Festival in Manchester, NH last Saturday.  The race went fairly well (I don't have much to compare against in XC and each course is generally unique which makes it difficult for comparison anyways).

The course consisted of some field running, parking lot running, and some technical trails.  There were two sections that climbed about 100' each over a 10th of mile which spiked both your HR and your pace.

All and all happy with the result finishing in 18:48.


My ATR started in January with a 1 mile track race and ended in August with a XC 5K.  All and all I am happy with how I performed in the series.  I could have been better (for instances not getting lost in the trail run), but it is what it is.  Stringing together 5 unrelated races across 8 months is a challenge.  Below is a quick race by race summary followed by my comments on what I think the ATR should become.

Over the course of the 5 races I scored 395.36 points which currently has me seated in 9th.  When the final race is in the books I am hoping to stay in the top 10.

Indoor Track Mile

Time: 4:54.09
Place: 37th
Points: 82.89
Snowshoe 10K

Time: 1:02:48
Place: 26th
Points: 73.22
10 Mile Trail

Time: 1:11:36
Place: 32nd
Points: 82.33
Mountain 6.6 Mile

Time: 1:18:18
Place: 65th
Points: 72.54

Time: 18:48
Place: 48th
Points: 84.38

My Version of a Future ATR

Now I know the ATR is still fairly new (in its 2nd year) and the primary goal is to get people to participate, so I am trying not to be overly critical. Below are a couple of points that I think would make it a better series and better test of who is the best all terrain athlete.

1) Get rid of the best of part (i.e. 5 of 7). Shrink it to 5 races (or even 4 and omit the mountain run) and to truly compete in the series you need to do all 5 races.  Kind of like the USATF-NE Grand Prix series.  The problem with allowing for best 5 of 7 is that you no longer have to compete on each terrain.  For instance I didn't run a road race, the most common discipline.

2) Get rid of the Snow Shoe race.  While I did enjoy it and plan on doing more in the future, it is just too obscure to fit into this series.

3) One track race.  I competed in and enjoyed the indoor track mile, but wasn't interested in running a 5K on a track. Also it was the only discipline that had more then one option.  

4) Better spread of distances.  This may be a slightly unpopular opinion, but being all terrain runner means you can run any distance.  I pride myself by being able to run a decent 1 mile and 50 mile races.

How about the following:

1 mile track
10K Mile Mountain*
Half Marathon Road
50K Trail

* Loon as a 6.6 mile mountain run is an acceptable substitute.

If you can finish that series, you are more then an All Terrain Runner, you are plainly just a hard core athlete.

- Scot

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