A number of runners finished the fourth Topo Adventure Sports trail race of the winter with a story about “that tree” that had fallen across an old bridge. The tree was more like a spear and left its mark on Chris Schapman, Robert Wiltshire, and Taylor Clark. Another runner said he almost impaled himself on “that tree.”

The bridge–and the spear (aka tree)–were unexpected, because the Topo race is usually held on the mountain bike trails at Devou Park in Covington, Kentucky. Unfortunately, the trails were not frozen and very sloppy, so the park closed the trails. Because the trails were closed, the Topo used a combination of road (3 miles) and hiking trails (2 miles) to create a challenging 5.1ish mile loop. By challenging, we mean, the start was at the bottom of a 3/4 mile hill that had an 8% incline at times! One lap provided runners with about 650 feet of elevation gain.

Chris and Robert ran two laps. Taylor held it to just one this weekend (after all, he did run the SoCal Beast the weekend before).

“I’ve gone for 22+ mile trail runs before and not even hit 1000 feet of elevation gain, so to hit 1300 feet in 10 miles was a challenge,” said Chris.

Thankfully, Chris, Robert, and Taylor are strong runners and conquered the hills. Chris and Robert placed 1st and 3rd in the long course (2 laps).

Watch for #Relentless at a couple more trail races around Ohio this winter before they take on BattleFrog Miami and Spartan Atlanta in February and March.