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New trail racing series celebrates the mundane

What is Meh Marathon of Endless Hell?

When we got word that one of our favourite race directors, Jeff Rowthorn, had gone and created a race designed to make runners suffer through a poorly design, boring event, we were intrigued. When he called it Meh, Marathon of Endless Hell, we were concerned. When we found out it sold out in about an hour, we had to find out more. So, we tracked Rowthorn down to get the inside scoop on the inaugural Crappy Trails Racing event and the celebration of the mundane. 

Where did the idea of the race come from? 
When we’re organizing races for Happy Trails Racing we try to create a really inclusive event where everyone feels welcome. We ensure that the race takes place in a scenic area where participants will be exposed to the beauty that Ontario has to offer.  We spend months sourcing unique medals and high-quality garments. There is a great deal of time and effort that goes into building an event that we hope the runners will love. Crappy Trails is the antithesis of this. While out running with some friends we tried to come up with a bunch of race ideas that would be absolutely horrible. An intentionally bad race where, if something goes wrong, it actually enhances the experience. Essentially, we ask the question, “What is the worst race that we could get runners to pay for?"

What makes your race unique?
Part of what makes the race unique is the fact that it is incredibly mundane: 100 laps of a 422m paved trail next to a busy road.  It will be a mental battle. The race entry fee is $13.13 and will include a cheap, home-made finishing medal and a t-shirt that is guaranteed to be ill-fitting and uncomfortable- a perfect reminder of the race.  These races were built around the idea that all three of the race organizers must participate in each event that we organize. We’ll be just as grumpy as the other runners. If we accidentally make a small profit, we will collectively determine which local charity we will donate it to.

How many people are you thinking will show up to run around the baseball field?
We are only allowing 30 people into this event and it sold out in one hour. There is a waitlist that is also full and I have received a number of emails from people that would like to get in.  

What other exciting races are you dreaming up with this new project?
We have two more Crappy Trails events that we are currently working on.  One will be billed as a marathon but will actually be more than 50km on a notoriously difficult 1km looped section of a trail. It will boast over 10,000’ of vertical elevation gain. The other will take advantage of the most mosquito-infested section of trail that we have ever run on. I’m not sure which is worse.

What joyous festivities are planned around the event?
We hope that the runners will join us after each race at a local establishment for some merriment. We will suffer together and celebrate together. There will be some awards to be won but they definitely won’t be for the fastest runners!

Are you hoping for snow?
Snow would be nice but a cold rain with a strong wind would be ideal.  

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