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Groundhog Grind Trail Run
5k – 1 loop
10k – 2 loops
10:00am – 5 and 10k
Sunday February 4th, 2024, Thomas Mitchell Park, east of Altoona, IA (start area is in the campground)
Welcome to what is a challenging trail running event in the Des Moines area! Third year for this trail run put on by the Altoona Running Club. We frequently run our small county park, Thomas Mitchell Park, and we’d love to show it off to you. This course itself is not necessarily super challenging but running it on the first weekend in February in Iowa will definitely be! The temperature on this day in 2021 was -2° real temperature for the high and -9° for the low, before adding in wind chill. There was also snow on the ground. We hope to challenge and humble you with this race, it will be a grind! We have lucked out with weather in the 30s the last two years, just know that there is always that possibility for it to be bitterly cold. The 5k will be fun, and the 10k will have you wishing you signed up for the 5k! We will have the fire pits going for you when you get back and some hot chocolate to warm you up.
Packet pickup location to be determined or race day starting at 9am
Sorry dogs are not allowed on the race course, but if you would like to run any of the preview runs with them that is fine. Our race insurance doesn’t allow us to have dogs in races.
Course will be marked with paint on snow, tree ribbons and cones with directional arrows. Please note that you must stay on course or if you go off course go back to the location where you went off. If you do not complete the full distance on the course we will be forced to disqualify your results. Please pay attention to the course markings!
Distances will be measured by GPS but more than likely won’t be exactly 5k/10k. No whining. The course is a 5k loop so 1 loop for 5kers and 2 for 10kers. Start finish area will be in the campground where we will also have our race HQ and timing setup from True Time Racing. This will be a chip timed event. The course will head out over the red bridge and through the scout camp area and up our first challenging hill. If you push this one hard you may pick up a Strava KOM with our favorite segment straight up DeVotie Hill . At the top of the hill you will pass by the Dewitt DeVotie grave stone marker and head into the main trail. Shortly after you will take a sharp left into a newly created trail area we like to call Groundhog Gulch. If it snows a lot this could be a factor here so be prepared! A loop around the Gulch and you head back out onto the trail through the woods. You’ll come to a Y in the trail and head left following the trail around to the west side of the woods. There will be a quick left and you will head out into the northwest section of the park, Bone Chiller Prairie. This will be another area of the course where a Northwest wind and some snow will be a challenge. You will head down the west boarder of the park and back through the middle of the prairie where you will hit a small trail section that will take you along the Thomas Mitchell Pond. With a small pond section you will head down into the lower section of the trail and do a quick loop along Camp Creek. You will pop back out and head up the trail on another challenging hill back to the Y section and back along the ridge towards the grave marker, back down DeVottie Hill, over the red bridge and back to the start finish area. 10kers will get to have the true groundhog day experience and turn around and do it all over again!
Winning runs may need to verified for correct course running as we have had people miss some sections of the course. If you have cut the course and not gone back to correct the missed section your time will be disqualified.
All registrations are $35 for either the 5k or 10k event.
Shirts not guaranteed if registering after January 4th. Hats should be in stock if they show available. There is an option to switch to a sweatshirt for an additional $10 on the registration form and another option to add a $20 hat.
No paper registration form. Online registration only.
***NO BIB TRANSFERS, REFUNDS or DEFERRALS***
Park in the campground parking lot on the south side of the Thomas Mitchell Park. Follow the signs to the campground. If all parking is taken you will need to park along the road or back at the shelter parking lot.
Thomas Mitchell Park is maintained by the Polk County Conservation department and they will have the final say as to whether or not the trails are available for running. Thus, trail closure decisions are 100% up to them. Due to this, there is the possibility that come race day, trails could be closed due to conditions. If this ends up being the case, we will move the race to another date if possible before fully cancelling.
This is a very small grassroots event. We do not offer refunds of any sort. Please DO NOT register if any of this is unacceptable to you. We hope you’ll understand and will register early to help us put have a successful race!
Friday February 2nd, 4:00-6:00 at Fleet Feet Des Moines
Sunday morning, packet pickup will start at 9am and go until 9:45am.