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Happy Trails in 2012

This past weekend, while updating my list of Trail, Ultra, & XC Races in and Around New Jersey, I was struck once again by the degree to which off-road racing and ultramarathoning have grown over the past decade.

Best as I can figure, New Jersey had fewer than 10 trail races and not a single ultramarathon when I joined ERC in 2003. Now there are more than 40 trail and 15 ultra events on the calendar. Although many of these events “overlap”—almost all the ultras take place on trails—many also feature multiple distances (i.e., multiple distinct races). In essence, then, we are looking at nearly 100 races, including almost 30 ultras, a year.

Muddy Trail Shoes
Double-knot ’em and go!

Also on tap for 2012 are 56 open XC (cross-country) races. Twenty are put on by an outfit that did not exist in 2003.

And then there are “mud runs.” These events, part-run, part-obstacle course, part-mud bath, came out of nowhere about three years ago. At least five mud runs are planned for 2012.

ERC members now enjoy a wealth of opportunities for racing on unpaved surfaces and over extra-long distances in the Garden State.

Check the list and you’ll find races in date order, along with their distance options, geographical locations, and clickable website addresses. It’s no surprise that many of these events take place here in New Jersey, but New York and Pennsylvania are heavily represented too. Locations range from as far north and east as an island off Maine to as far south as Virginia and as far west as Pittsburgh. This is not a comprehensive listing of events in neighboring states, but it does capture just about every trail, ultra, and XC race in New Jersey.

How about running a local trail race this weekend?

Photo Highlights

Photos on flickr

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