Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner’s World Half

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half


Starting with the Altra Trail Run presented by REI, I set out to run 26.2 miles in three days at the Runner’s World Half & Festival in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Runner’s World brought me out to the race as their guest, along with a cadre of other bloggers.

I was half successful in my quest, thanks to a shiny, new running injury. Despite that, I had a phenomenal time.

The Runner’s World Half & Festival is basically fantasy camp for runners. All participants—not just bloggers—at the weekend’s events had the opportunity to meet Deena Kastor, Bart Yasso, and the entire Runner’s World team. Seminars, running clinics, kids races, a dog run, pasta party, and other events filled our days and nights with all things running.

I’ll recap all the races and events—including random, last-minute, totally unrelated to Runner’s World, free tickets to see Pat Benatar on stage!!!!! But for now: Let’s talk trail.

The Altra Trail Run Presented by REI

The first 3.8 miles of our marathon journey was Runner’s World‘s first trail race starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 16. Nearly 225 participants braved the event.

The Altra Trail Run was beautiful, going through the Pennsylvania woods in Bethlehem’s South Mountain Park, much of it on a single track. Bart Yasso, who designed the course, called the course pancake flat, that is, blueberry pancake flat—with lots of bumpy “blueberry” hills filling the pancakes. I prefer chocolate chip pancakes myself, but the metaphor still works. There were lots of hills to climb and rocks to trip over. Maybe it was blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes.

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half

The Altra Trail Run course

The team from Altra Running, based in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, was on hand with trail running pointers. My big take home? Quick, small steps are the rule on the trail, so a foot is always beneath you.

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half


I’d come to the race nursing a brand new niggle in my left foot that I suspected was plantar fasciitis. It didn’t hurt, but it didn’t feel right either. I didn’t have a chance to get the to doctor before the race, so I wanted to take it easy.

After previewing the course in the morning during a mini trail running clinic with the folks from Altra Running, I decided a 3.8-mile hike—not run— sounded like a great way to spend the afternoon. This was no Central Park “trail,” but technical terrain strewn with rocks and healthy climbs. No ideal for an aching foot.

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half

My bib is ready. (RunKarlaRun.com)

Kristin from BamaGirlRuns was walking all the races after just recovering from a fractured ankle, so I decided to walk with her. I’m glad I did.

Monday after the race I went to the doc, who told me I do in fact have plantar fasciitis with the very beginning of a heel spur. Wah wah. He told me no running for a week, and prescibed an anti-inflammatory. I follow up with him on Monday.

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half


Kristin and I had a great time, chit-chatting the whole way and cheering for runners on the out-and-back stretches. We first met back in 2012 at the Disney Princess Half Marathon, when my husband, Phil, and I donned what would become our most famous running costume:

Cinderella & Prince Charming Running Costumes at Disney Princess Half Marathon

Cinderella & Prince Charming

So there was lots of Disney talk!

We had an unseasonably cool weekend, so I dressed like Nanook of the North since I’d be walking instead of running. I wore (all freebies) Balega Hidden Contour socks (one of the race sponsors); The North Face Ultra Kilowatt trail shoes that I’d gotten for what was supposed to be my first trail race, The North Face Endurance Challenge, which I had to pull out of because of a stress fracture; Nike Epic Lux tights, New Balance Fashion Tank; Asics Thermopolis Full Zip from a New York City Marathon of yore; Nike Aeroloft 800 vest; and Oakley Polarized RPM sunglasses.

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half

Walking is totally underrated.

We kept a brisk walking pace as we hiked up and down the hills, finishing in a gun time of 1:09:10 at an 18:41 pace. For two ladies nursing injuries, I’ll take it.

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half


Instead of a medal, we got an REI canteen. I downed some post-race Ultima Replenisher, a slice of pizza, and called it a race with the Runner’s World blogger crew!

Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner's World Half

Bloggers out! (Kristin Long)

Joining me for the weekend were:

Allie at Vita Train For Life
Amy at Marathon Mom
Dani at Weight Off My Shoulders
David at DHylton.com
Doug at Rock Creek Runner
Erika at MCM Mama Runs
Heather at Relentless Forward Commotion
Hollie at Fueled By LOLZ
Jennifer at Running With The Girls
Jess at  Race Pace Jess
Kayla Blondes Have More Run
Kristin at Bama Girl Runs.com
Larisa at Larisa Dixon
Laura at Mommy Run Fast
Linzie at Sharp Endurance
Matt at No Meat Athlete
Nancy at Little Fancy Nancy
Susan at Susan Runs

As my fly-trap smile in all the pics indicates, I had fun taking a walk in the woods with Runner’s World and Altra. And all these race photos? Free! Love that the Runner’s World Half & Festival used Gameface Media to give runners free pics.

More recaps of the Runner’s World 5K, 10K, Half, and other events to come!

As mentioned above, I attended the race as a guest of Runner’s World. But as always, all opinions are purely my own. Seriously. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

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Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


10 2015

8 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Such great stuff here Karla! You included so many things I had forgotten about. Such great pictures and love that they were all FREE. I’m still replaying scenes from the weekend and wish I could go back and do it all over again!
    Sending healthy vibes your way for a quick recovery!
    Allie recently posted..Behind the Scenes at Runner’s World Half and FestivalMy Profile

  2. 3

    im really glad you have an answer to your pain. That’s the biggest step in my opinion. I hope the anti inflammatories help. It was great to meet you end chat. I can’t wait to hear about you conquering more injury free miles!
    Hollie recently posted..Runners World Half Marathon (1:28.13)My Profile

  3. 5

    I’m so sorry to hear about your PF! I’ve been dealing with it myself for most of this year. In addition to some exercises and ART treatment, one of my big savior has been a “plantar fasciitis flexibrace” that I bought for less than $10 on eBay. My PF is about 90-95% better but I still wear the brace every night.

    Walking that trail race was so smart. I love trail runs, but they make me pretty nervous still.
    Judith recently posted..Wheaties look outMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks for the tip on the brace! I was wondering how well those work. If this continues to be a prob for me, I’ll attack on all fronts, including the brace. Sorry you’ve been dealing with PF too. Glad you’ve managed to manage it so well!
      Karla Bruning recently posted..Race Report: Altra Trail Run at Runner’s World HalfMy Profile

  4. 7

    Jason and I keep talking about how we need to get out and explore some of the trails around us, I’m honestly sort of nervous to run on trails though, I mean I’ve taken enough spills running on flat ground!

    Glad you were able to enjoy the “race” despite the injury and glad you got to a doctor and got it figured out so quickly!
    Danielle recently posted..Race Recap – Falmouth in the FallMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, Danielle! There’s one trail in particular in RI I like to run because it’s not too technical, but still gets me into the woods and off the road. When they get really rocky, I get cautious!


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