Ready for a change of pace? With the pun intended, Winter Trails is the perfect counterpoint to your summer, pace-oriented, keep-checking-your-Garmin, training program. Winter Trails is a fun and low-key program designed to build a community of folks who like to run on the many miles of natural surface trails in MoCo by teaching and/or improving trail running skills and endurance for participants with all levels of trail running experience. We’re different from other programs in that we have no assigned pace groups; there’s no need to submit a race time when you register. How fast we run is based on terrain and weather conditions – and we run in almost all conditions! But just because we’re low-key doesn’t mean we won’t challenge you. We can train you to run everything from a trail 10K to a 50K to a 50 mile race. We invite anyone who wants to spend their Saturday mornings exploring the miles of awesome, interconnecting trails throughout the county while improving their endurance, technique, and core strength. Come join us and enjoy the vibe with a group of other like-minded trail runners while hitting the single track out here in MoCo.
Prerequisites: The only prerequisite for our program is a love of the natural beauty that surrounds us and a willingness to get out and get dirty in it and if we are lucky this year, we’ll get to crunch through freshly fallen snow. MCRRC Membership is required for participation in this program. If you are not a member, you will have the opportunity to join MCRRC during registration. Participants must be 18 or older to register.
Structure: The program will meet at 8:00 AM on Saturday mornings. We’ll be at a different trailhead every week so you can learn all about the amazing trail system in Montgomery County. We will share a map of the course with you in advance and you can run the full distance (between 7 and 20 miles) or modify it to meet your needs. We do have coaches to help point you in the right direction but participants must be willing to read a map and occasionally figure it out on their own. We only meet on Saturdays, but there are some informal trail runs that occur during the week (yep, we run on trails at night, too — and it’s a blast!)
Safety Notice: We encourage participants to group up and be aware of each other while out on the trails. All participants must carry a phone and hydration on every run. You will be provided with the cell phone numbers of all coaches in the event of an emergency. Coaches must be notified immediately of illness or injury. We will ask you to sign in and out so we can ensure everyone has safely returned.
The Program Director reserves the right to cancel any run based on treacherous winter conditions (driving and/or running).
Cost: Online registration is $80. This does NOT include entry into a goal race, but does include a premium. Total registration will be limited to 175 participants.
Program Dates: Saturday, December 2, 2023 – Saturday, March 30, 2024.
Target Race: Many participants target the MCRRC Seneca Creek Greenway Trail Marathon & 50K on Saturday, March 9, 2024; however, the training schedule may also be adjusted for participation in other early spring trail races. The coaching staff will provide additional races to consider. Participants who wish to train for a shorter distance or don’t wish to race at all are also encouraged and will be accommodated.
Orientation: Our orientation will take place on Zoom before the program officially starts. A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants a few days before it takes place. During our first run, we will stay together for the first mile or so to teach you the basics of form, mechanics, and how to read trail markings and a trail map.
Date/Time: Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 7:00 PM
Head Coaches: Audrey Fincher, Mike Chau, and Mike Edwards
Coach Audrey is an RRCA certified coach who has been involved with MCRRC as a coach or participant for so many years she has lost count. She started out with the First Time Marathon Program where she served as a pace coach and co-director. She fell in love with trail running the first time she tried it and has been involved with the Winter Trails program since it began. Audrey has completed numerous half-marathon, 50K, 40 mile, and 50 mile trail events and is debating if she is ever going to be crazy enough to contemplate a 100 miler. She loves to stop and admire a frosty winter morning and has been known to make everyone around her stop in the middle of a run to marvel at the scenery.
Coach Mike C. is a lifelong Montgomery County resident who started running at an early age. After a college hiatus he returned to running, first on the road but now runs exclusively on trails. Mike C. has completed many trail races running the gamut of 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, 50k, 50M, 100k, and 100M. Nowadays he’s just out enjoying the trails and enabling newbies by introducing them to the lovely MoCo trail system. In between time exploring and maintaining the trails, Mike C. is a husband, father, and tinkerer.
After taking a three decade break from running, Coach Mike E. signed up for FTM in 2010. After completing Marine Corps that year and getting a ribbing from a close friend for his slow time of 4:35, he signed for the clubs’ inaugural Stone Mill 50-mile race and has never looked back. Since 2010, he has completed dozens of 50 milers, a little over two dozen 100 milers and is now getting into self-supported 500K races and longer. If you don’t find him cycling to a local brewery, you will find him volunteering at most local trail races. Be warned, he is known for not letting people drop out…he will accompany that person to the finish (no more than 50 miles – he DOES have his limits)!
We also have a coaching staff of highly accomplished trail & ultra runners who will be out there every week to give advice, share their experience, and ensure the safety of our runners out on the trail.
A CURRENT MCRRC MEMBERSHIP is REQUIRED to participate in this program. Please note that membership is NOT included in your program registration. PRIOR TO JOINING this program, you must become a member. If you are unsure if you have a CURRENT MCRRC Membership, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Otherwise, please click here to become a valued member.
We will use a private, online group to facilitate communications. Everyone will be required to join this group to participate in the program. Instructions on how to join this group will be provided by the Program Director.
The program director reserves the right in his sole discretion to refuse admission to the program or dismiss any individual from the program whom the program director believes is unsuited for running the specified distance or is unable to meet the demands of the training schedule, or is disruptive to other program participants. Those individuals will be denied entry into the program or dismissed from the program as appropriate. The program director also reserves the right to limit the number of participants in the overall program or in individual pace groups. MCRRC has a No Refund policy. Program registration fees cannot be refunded due to injury, schedule conflict or any other reason.