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In Praise of the Fat Ass

I spent the first day of November running the Potomac Heritage 50K. It was a cool, overcast day and we had a little drizzle, but the leaves were colorful and it was really the perfect temperature for a run.

Though not advertised as such, the PH 50K is a 'Fat Ass.' A Fat Ass is a trail race with a disclaimer: "Free, no frills, no awards, no t-shirt" and the threat of no aid except perhaps some water set out along the trail. I have yet to run a Fat Ass that didn't offer snacks and Gatorade, but we're spoiled here on the East Coast by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC). And the RD of PH 50K, Kerry Owens, pulls out all the stops to provide a post-race feast.

You don't worry about the course
at a Fat Ass, because you're not looking to run a PR. The un-runnable sections are all the more enjoyable. As if the mere fact that you don't have to run on them isn't enough!

The beauty of a Fat Ass is that
nobody has anything to prove. While you could treat it as a serious race to train for, obsess about and leave it all out on the course, you can also feel ok about cutting it short to get to the finish line a little earlier. Because your rivals may one-up you by arriving at the post-race party first and drinking the best beers in the cooler and eating all of Joe's Cincinnati Chili and Luanne Turrentine's homemade cookies.

Laid-back trail running, beautiful scenery, post-race party. Simply put, it's a fun day on trail with friends.


  1. I hadn't heard about that term. Sounds like a good time, like an official training run. Thanks for sharing. Oh, btw, we had a cat that looks just like what I presume is yours in the photos. Brietta was her name (raccoons messed her up so we had to put her down :(

    Best, Clynton
    Running Quest

  2. Hilarious term — and beautiful photos! I always leave your blog inspired to go trail running!

  3. I may have to put one of these on myself soon. Sounds like a great way to spend the day.


  4. sounds like a Fat Ass i'd like to have the experience of getting to know someday. sounds so completely laid back...such a big contrast to the road races i run. there is definitely something about trail running which i find soothing. you inspire me to take to the trails and find my centre when running starts to feel tiresome and a chore. ty.


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