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Colleen O'Neil Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:02 TWEET COMMENTS 29

12 Top Trail-Running Clubs - Page 4

6. Virginia Happy Trails Running Club


Photo by Bobby Gill

Northern Virginia/Metropolitan DC

With over decades of history putting on some of the best, most affordable trail races on the east coast—the Bull Run 50 Miler, Massanutten Mountain 100 and a women’s trail half marathon, plus numerous free, fatass-style events throughout the year, such as the Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50K in December—the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC) is focused on fostering fun and inclusivity.

At her first fatass run with the group, Toni Aurilio say she was “embraced by all of the runners and club members, escorted almost the entire distance, AND was given the honor of taking a sip of whiskey (a bottle hanging from a tree) at mile 12/19.” Indeed, the VHTRC is known for being especially welcoming to newcomers; they host regular "PB&J" runs to introduce new runners to the local trail-running community. These six- to 10-mile runs draw lots of runners—as much for the gorgeous trails as for the potluck dinner afterwards.

The club also boasts a deep bench of top-notch talent, including Grand Slam record holder Neil Gorman, American female 24-hour record holder Sabrina Little, 2012 world 100K championships winner Amy Sproston.

Member Rave: “Many trail runners in the DC/VA/MD area call the VHTRC their second family and with good reason: in addition to training together, crewing and pacing at ultras, and giving moral support over the VHTRC Facebook page, we have attended each other's weddings, graduations, and funerals. We have laughed and cried together through life's hardest moments...and we were brought together through a love of trail running and a need for connection.” –Sophie Spiedel



7. Dirty Girls Trail Runners

Gig Harbor, WA


This fabulous female crew, often clad in pink, holds classes and training groups for runners of all ability levels, as well as individual coaching sessions. For as much as they work on physical training, the Dirty Girls also work on training the mind to overcome self-doubt that keeps runners from reaching their goals.

In addition to free group runs at McCormick Forest on Friday mornings, Dirty Girls holds Momentum Mondays and All Ladies Turn it Up Tuesdays, sessions dedicated to speed work, drills, and plyometrics. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, teen workouts promote self-esteem, team building, healthy friendships and physical fitness in younger runners. Dirty Girls even hosts its own race event—a half-marathon, 6.55-mile run and a free children’s one-mile race in Fort Steilacoom Park. Sister branches exist in nearby cities Seattle and Everett as well.

“Dirty Dudes” are welcome to join the ladies on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday training runs. On rare occasions, the Dirty Girls say they may try to persuade men to don a pink tutu for a race: “Haven’t you heard? Pink tutus are way more macho than tattoos.”

Member Rave: “With laughter, conversation and good energy accompanying every step, many friendships have been strengthened or built while enjoying the unique pleasures of trail running. All of the special warmth and energy of the Dirty Girls Trail Runners comes from the remarkable Alexa Martin who started the group as a way for women to be able to have the gift of a weekly safe trail run with other women.” –Rebecca Arnold [The club's three other founders are Wenche Wahl, Kris Tebb, and Kristen Barrett.]



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