TRR Transitions in 2016

2015 Trail Rail Run Post-race smiles of Sarah Rhoades and son.
TRR post-race smiles, Sarah Rhoades and son.

Hello, my name is Sarah Rhoades. I am a patent and trademark attorney in Missoula, Montana and a 2 year veteran of the Trail Rail Run 30K race along with my husband (50 Mile finisher in 2014) and our best friends from Spokane (two year race veterans).

When I received the email earlier this fall conveying the decision to discontinue the Trail Rail Run for 2016, I exclaimed “Oh No!” and immediately emailed my husband. Within a few short days I had met with race founder and director of 3 years, Jennifer Straughan about possibly continuing with the legacy of the race she created.

During the past months, I have learned a lot about how much time and effort Jennifer and many others put into this race’s inception and creation. The beginning years sound like they were particularly arduous. Thankfully, due to the support of the St. Regis community and due to Jennifer’s excellent work, the race has been a success and has a continuing participant interest, a strong sponsorship base, and of course, a beautiful space within which to continue.

As part of taking on the race, I believed it vital to have the race continue without a gap year, for the sake of landowners, participants, and sponsors. I also had ideas to improve runner participation and experience in the race with a few specific goals. First, I wanted to add a relay, or team event, at the 50 mile race distance. Teams could be formed of at least 2 runners and exchange points would likely limit team sizes to 7. I am hopeful we can get enough teams to participate to make it more entertaining for all involved. Although we needed a slight modification in the Forest Service permit, Elizabeth “Beth” Kennedy helped us through this. Next, again with the help of Beth and her trails team, we are optimistic we’ll be able to improve yet another stretch of the trail which has been the notoriously, ankle-rolling stretch of river rock in the past. Never fear runners! Finally, I’d like to increase the marketing of the race to Missoula Marathon participants and the Missoula running community. My goal is to keep a seamless transition from Jennifer’s race to a St. Regis Community Council race event by keeping the organization going and continually seeking to improve it. One day I hope to once again participate in the race with my husband and our best friends!

See you on the trails!