Running Around Cleveland

2011 Muddy Paws Trail Race

This weekend I ran the Muddy Paws 10 Miler Trail Race. This was one fun, tough and dirty race and the thunderstorms the night before made it even dirtier. The race took place in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park starting at Pine Hollow and then taking trails through Salt Run and Kendall Lake. These are some tough trails.

One of the nice things about starting the race at Pine Hollow is that it is probably the best place in the park to watch the sunrise. It was fantastic even though it was raining out.

Sunrise at Pine Hollow



Unlike most of the races I’ve done recently, my running club, Northeast Ohio Fit participates in this as one of our official group races.

Some of NEOFit's earlyriser who didn't mind a pic in the rain.

Muddy Paws is run to raise money Humane Society of Greater Akron. So the first race run of the day is a 2 miler that is open to running with your dog.

2 Miler start with their dogs.

After the 2 miler is done the 5 and 10 milers begin. I’m not gonna lie this is a tough section of trail. It’s a 5 mile loop, which is run twice for the 10 mile race. At the 5 mile mark you have the option of switching which race you are running. This is a great for people who may feel intimidated by trail runs. My plan was to run the 10 miler.

The race starts right at the bottom of a fairly significant hill, apparently the race director is a big fan of this hill and wanted to add it to the course, his only option was to start the race on it. I started the race with fellow Marathon Maniac Jessica, you can view her race report here. This was Jessica’s first trail race and we decided we should have some extra protection in case of accidents on the trail.

Safety First. Photo provided by

Congrats go to Jess for not only running her first trail race, but she went that night and ran her fastest 5k of the summer.

This was my first attempt at running Muddy Paws and only my 3rd trail race ever. My goal was to finish in under 2 hours, but I really wanted to be below 1:50. These times may seem a little slow compared to the times I have been posting at other races recently, but this is a trail race. It is hard, slow and full of hills.

I ran my first 5 mile loop in 52:14. I was feeling a little tired but I went ahead and Gu’d up and started my second loop. The loop was a little harder the 2nd time. Not only was my energy down but the trail had been muddied upped by all the 5 and 10 milers going through leading to some very slippery conditions. But I was able to bring my second loop in at 53:08, less than a minute off my first loop. My final time was 1:45:22, breaking my 1:50 goal!

Running hard for the finish line. Photo provided by

The trail conditions were very muddy from the storms, but I think getting dirty made the race a lot of fun. It is called Muddy Paws after all.

I am a dirty runner.

My next schedule race is the Buckeye Half Marathon. My next adventure is a trip to Lake Placid this week to climb the tallest mountain in the Adirondack chain.

Are any of you trail runners?

7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Congrats on the good race – i may jsut have to do a trail soon…

Comment by rn4atsm

I can’t wait to run another trail race. I will see you at the Buckeye half marathon!

Comment by mojamala2

I just realized I am doing a 21 miler on Akron’s full course the day before the Buckeye Half, including Sand Run hill. Nothing like a 34.1 mile weekend for the “Beast”!

Comment by Justin

Great race Justin! Way to get dirty too and rock the hard hat 🙂

Comment by Hungry in Cleveland

i LOVE the Buckeye Half! This will be the first year in three years that I’m not doing it 😦 Buuut I have three of the same hoodies from that race, so I’m okay with that. Have you done it before?

Comment by Becca

This will be my first Buckeye Half, and I want one of those hoodies.

Comment by Justin

Great job!

Comment by @Beal88 aka Matthew Beal

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