Will you take the Short & Brutal or the Long & Difficult trail? That is the question participants’ in the Dirty Duel face as they start off their 5K pursuit at Robinette’s & Provin Trails on Saturday, Nov. 10. Either choice will challenge racers’ mettle.
“The Short & Brutal trail is about 0.3 miles shorter because it requires runners to climb steep ridges, a sand dune and run some off-trail sections with a few log jumps and other surprises. The other race is a good opportunity for people trying their first trail race to get used to running on a rooty, curvy trail. It’s easier than Short & Brutal, but it certainly isn’t easy,” explained Mark VanTongeren, of Michigan Adventure Racing.
Both races end with a run through the cornfield/corn maze at Robinette’s. “They can barrel right through the corn or use the paths of the corn maze, which aren’t always in a straight line but easier to run on,” VanTongeren said.
VanTongeren said regular 5K runners should expect to achieve some of their worst times when participating in the Dirty Duel run because of the challenging courses.
“While most road 5Ks have finishers under 16 minutes, no one has ever broken 19 minutes in this race,” he said, noting, “Personal records are not really achievable.”
While physical fitness is a must for runners competing in this 5K, VanTongeren said walkers are invited to participate as well.
“We allow walkers if they start in the last wave, so anyone who can walk three miles can do it. The top finishers have excellent fitness and many are top runners in their high school, college or local running events.
The Dirty Duel is in its seventh year, having grown out of the now-defunct Red Bull Trail Daze.
“It was actually a Red Bull event that they hired us to put on. They stopped putting on Trail Daze races in the Midwest after 2012 so we kept it going with the new name,” VanTongeren said.
The Dirty Duel is only held in Grand Rapids. VanTongeren said the appeal is the unique challenge the courses present runners as well as that it’s just plain fun.
Registration for the Dirty Duel is open through Nov. 7. A portion of the race’s profits will be donated to 20 Liters, which provides clean water to the people of Rwanda. Merrell is the race’s presenting sponsor.
The Dirty Duel takes place on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 9 a.m. at Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery, at 3142 Four Mile Rd NE. For more information visit the Dirty Duel website.
*Photo courtesy of the Dirty Duel