Trail Trekking
Resources for running in Westminster

It’s easy to feel intimidated if you’re just starting to run or get into a rut after using the same courses day after day. Whether you need to be connected to other people in the Westminster area or are just looking for a new place to explore, these links will prove helpful:

Flying Feet Running Programs

Founded by Dave Griffin in order to provide his daughter with structured summer cross country training, Flying Feet has expanded over the past few years into a training program for all ages and skill levels. Runners can enroll in the summer or fall program and receive a personalized training program from Griffin. Participants can also opt to only do group runs on Saturdays. This is great for those who can’t commit to multiple runs a week, but still seek to do long runs with others. Griffin is an enthusiastic coach and passionate runner; he’s written a book titled After the Last PR and writes the column “On Running” in the Carroll County Times.

Westminster Road Runners Club

A modest yearly membership fee to WRRC gets you reduced race entry fees, three newsletters, and automatic membership to Road Runners Club of America. While many runs take place on the road (as the name suggests), membership is a great way to meet other local runners. Additionally, some races that the team participates together, such as the Trails for Tails 40-mile relay which benefits the no-kill shelter Animal Rescue, Inc., are off-road races. Additionally, WRRC hosts a bi-monthly series of races May-August called the Twilight series, which is great for checking your speed and fitness level during the summer months.

Trail maps for Carroll County

This division of the Carroll County government website provides an aerial view of the 12 trails of Carroll County. This is great for both beginning runners looking for a good trail to start with to seasoned runners trying to shake things up. Trails are clearly marked, and the map provides a total trail length. Additionally, general outdoor enthusiasts can check which other activities are permitted in the park.

To close, here’s your motivating image of the week:

Though it may not always feel like it, the ability to run each day is a gift and a blessing! Get out there, connect with other runners, and explore new terrain! Enjoy it.

Two races, one great location

The Wakefield Valley Community Trail snakes from Tahoma Farm Road to Uniontown Road here in Westminster. With 2.1 miles of fairly flat terrain and ample parking, the trail is an ideal location for 5k races, and there happen to be two to choose from this fall!

If you’re able to squeeze in a race this season, check out one of these:

Harvest Fun Run/Walk and 5K

This race features events for both toddlers and adults. Festivities begin at 9AM on Saturday, October 27th with a 200 meter dash for children six and under. Shortly after at 9:15 a mile fun run will be held for ages 7 and up. Both of these events are free, while the 5K beginning at 9:30 requires a $15 registration fee plus a donation of canned food. Those who register with two or more people will receive a $5 discount.

Proceeds benefit Carroll Food Sunday and the Westminster Family Fitness Center Group Fitness Program. Click for a registration form or check out www.westminstermd.gov for more information.

Flying Feet Burk Memorial 5K

For those looking for a more low-key race with more seasoned runners, check out this race on Saturday, November 17. Only Race-day registration is accepted ($2 for members of the Westminster Road Runners Club, $4 for non-members), and the race begins at 8:30AM. Overall and age-group winners will receive medals.

For more information, contact race director Dave Griffin at dpgflylingfeet@aol.com.

If you fall in love with the trail during one of the races, there’s some exciting news! According to westgov.com, the trail will soon be extended from Uniontown Road to West Main Street so that runners can easily do a run from the sidewalks of Downtown Westminster to the more secluded parts of the existing trail.

Plus, here’s a new image to help you get out the door:

Racing is a chance to have some fun, gauge your fitness level, or aim for a personal best. Be sure to set a goal in advance and go for it!

Hashawha Rejuvenation

"It’s getting to that point in the semester when my eye starts twitching," my friend Lauren said to me. I felt it too. After a month of classes, cross country practice, and work, our routines for the semester have now become established. Sleep deprivation becomes the norm. We run, but plodding along the roads surrounding the McDaniel College campus quickly loses its charm.

So, we decided to escape routine for a day and run the trails of Hashawha Environmental Center, the gem of Westminster for outdoor enthusiasts. In the years that I’ve spent exploring Hashawha, I’ve shared the trails and 380 acre facility with hikers, bikers, birders, picnicking families, dog walkers, fishermen, geocachers, and fellow runners. Many of my memories growing up, from camping to first dates, took place there.

For runners, be ready for a pretty hilly course no matter which direction you go. Especially on the bike trails, the hills can get unrelentingly steep. It’s pretty easy to distract yourself from your burning quads, though, by checking out the lakes, pine forests, and meadows that surround the paths.

Lauren and I decided to do a 45 minute run and decided to abandon the wider running trails that we usually favor to explore the upper bike paths that run deeper into the woods. Though we didn’t always know where we were going and I couldn’t pick up GPS signal on my phone, we were able to find a trail marker at least ever half mile or so. A few times we just stopped to admire how the leaves were beginning to change and how far away we felt from Westminster.

We ended up beginning on the yellow trail, linking onto Lower Trail, and then eventually following the yellow trail back to our starting point.

I’ve gotten turned around several times on Hashawha trails several times just because of the sheer vastness of the facility, so I wouldn’t recommend exploring the upper bike trails alone unless you have a lot of time on your hands. We weren’t quite sure where we were going while on the Lower Trail, but we were too distracted by the wildlife we found and little streams we encountered to get nervous.

We finished the run in perfect timing, and as we stretched I felt rejuvenated, energized, and ready to tackle the tasks waiting at school.

If you are having a hard time getting yourself out the door, here’s an image to help you get out the door:

You will always feel better after a run than before you started. Run happy!

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