California > Dirt Inspires™ Women's Trail Half Marathon, 4- & 8-Miler
Aptos, CA • Sunday, August 26, 2012 • Course Map
With its roughly 10,000 acres of rugged mountain wilderness located here along the Northern California coastline, the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park plays host in the late summer each year to the annual running of the Dirt Inspires Women's Trail Half Marathon, a race that takes runners from the park entrance that lies just a short distance from the ocean to elevations of nearly 1,000 feet above sea level, high up among the tree canopy-covered trails deep inside the park.
A race designed especially for women -- men are strongly encouraged to come out, volunteer and cheer on their wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers and friends, but the competition is for women only -- the race saw just under 190 runners cross the finish line in 2011, and marks its fourth annual running in the late summer of 2012.
The race begins in the entrance to the park at Aptos Village Park, which lies just west of Aptos and just north of nearby Rio Del Mar. From there, runners follow an out-and-back course that winds its way northward for the first half of the route, along stretches of Aptos Creek Road and on the trails that veer off from the road in spots, taking runners out onto the backcountry trails that show off the park's breathtaking natural beauty.
Along a combination of park roads and trails, runners follow the course as it winds its way roughly in parallel with Aptos Creek northward, until they pass by both Hoffman's historic site and the Bridge Creek historic site, where runners begin to make the turn that takes them southward -- and downhill -- back toward the finish line in Aptos Village Park.
As you might expect, the elevation rise and fall over the course of the race is perhaps its biggest challenge, as runners can expect to climb nearly 1,000 feet in elevation over the combination of fire roads and single-track trails during the first half of the race, and then descend by an equal amount on the back side of the race route. New for 2012 will be the addition of the Dirt Inspires 4- and 8-mile trail runs, which had previously been run as a separate race in May.
Race Weather & Climate
Nestled along the Pacific Coast shoreline in Northern California, just over 8 miles east of Santa Cruz and roughly 78 miles southeast of San Francisco, Aptos typically sees mostly mild to moderately cool weather through most of the year, with the occasional warm spell in the dry summer months. In August, the city's average monthly temperatures range between 76°F and 54°F, while rainfall amounts average less than a tenth of an inch for the month. On the day of the race (Aug. 26), the average high is 77°F and the average low is 54°F.
View the race route map for the Dirt Inspires Women's Half Marathon
$65 for the half marathon, if registered by July 10, 2012
$75 between July 11 - August 10
To reserve your spot in the late summer 2012 running of Aptos's Dirt Inspires Women's Trail Half Marathon, 4-Mile or 8-Mile race, register online at Active.com.
Official Race Website
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