Dirty Soles Trail Races is returning to McClellan on October 8, 2022 to host the first trail race at Lake Yahou Park using McClellan’s 17 miles of multi-use trails. In March 2022, Dirty Soles chose McClellan to host their very first trail race, McClellan Madness, a 4- to 8-hour endurance race that welcomed more than 70 trail runners from all over the southeast United States to Anniston, Alabama.
“The trails at McClellan are non-technical [so] they’re really runnable,” said Becki Jones, founder and director of Dirty Soles Trail Races, adding that McClellan has been great at supporting her vision to bring more trail races to Calhoun County. “It’s a very cohesive relationship…because [McClellan] wants to help advertise my races and I’m helping advertise the trails.”
After the success of McClellan Madness, Jones was eager to use McClellan’s multi-use trails again. When she learned that Lake Yahou would be opening in May along with a Phase 3 portion of the trails, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to round out Dirty Soles’ race schedule.
“I want to host four races in a year and needed a fourth one…so when the lake opened, I started planning. It just so happened that if [we] started at the lake and did three loops around the outside trails, that it is almost a 50k—so it ended up pretty perfect.”
The Lake Yahou 50k will offer two routes for both new and seasoned runners: a 10-mile race with one loop around the trails and a full 50k race with three loops around the trails. Both distances will start and finish at the Lake Yahou Park trailhead, where there will be music, beverages, and food (with vegan-friendly options) awaiting runners as they cross the finish line.
Jones assured, “My races are good for any level of athlete. Anyone with any experience can come out and have fun and just enjoy themselves. [Trail running] is just one big community—everyone is friendly and wants to help each other.”
Registration is $75 for the 50k and $45 for the 10-miler. The money will be used to cover the costs of the race plus a donation to the McClellan Development Authority. “Every race, I give to somebody,” Jones said. “In [McClellan Madness], I gave to McClellan to help maintain the trails. I don’t do it to make money.”
Despite Dirty Soles Trail Races being less than a year old, Jones has high hopes that her events will continue to grow and draw attention to the McClellan Trails.
“If I can get this going yearly, I think it’ll be a huge event to draw a lot of people from out of state,” Jones said. “[Besides the Pinhoti], there’s no other trail races going on in Calhoun County, so I think it’s going to bring a lot more runners out here.”
The deadline to register for the Lake Yahou 50k is October 3, 2022. Participants can pick up their registration packets at Mellow Mushroom in Oxford on Friday, October 7 from 4-7 PM, or at Lake Yahou Park on October 8 from 6:45-7:45 AM. Read more about this event by visiting Dirty Soles’s Facebook page or visiting the registration page on UltraSignup.