Overall Rating
Overall Rating (28 Reviews)
4.8
(28 Ratings) 🏆 (28 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.5
SCENERY
4.3
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
4.8
Rising up from the depths of Lake Chabot, the Bad Bass (a strangely kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing Scottish bass with teeth) shows itself once again this July! Why is he Scottish? What is he doing in Castro Valley? How can he play bagpipes with his fin? We have no idea how to … MORE
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Recent reviews

    PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '21

    Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing's Bad Bass is run at Lake Chabot Regional Park near Castro Valley. It has the usual distances, 5K, 10K, and half marathon, though, being … MORE

    Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing’s Bad Bass is run at Lake Chabot Regional Park near Castro Valley. It has the usual distances, 5K, 10K, and half marathon, though, being a trail event, the actual distances are a little longer. The 5K, which I did, was actually 3.35 miles. The event name refers to Bass Cove on the lake.

    The 5K course, which is used for all three distances, runs on asphalt pavement along the scenic east shore of the lake, out and back. A bit past the 5K turn-around, the 10K and half marathon courses split, with the 10K course continuing in out-and-back fashion. The 10K course climbs a ~500-foot, 3/4-mile hill, gives a brief respite, then does another 100-foot climb in a quarter mile, and then another couple of tenths to an aid station and the turn-around. That steep downhill is steep and rutted, not trivial.

    The half marathon course does a little loop – a mere 250-foot hill – before doing the big hill it shares with the 10K course. The half course then continues to circle the lake in a sinuous hilly course, with the last 2 1/2 miles along the south shore of the lake being flattish (rolling just enough to keep tired runners annoyed) and slightly downhill.

    Organization & Production: It’s a Brazen race. That almost says what needs to be said. Brazen is organization to a “T”, and they’ve been doing events at Lake Chabot for years. It didn’t affect me, since it’s hard to go off-course on the 5K course, but Brazen’s course marking is excellent, with mile # markers to help runners track their progress. Runners “worst worries” are getting there before and getting home after the event.

    I was being aggressive, within my abilities and the course, so I didn’t look over the aid station table to survey their goodies. I did notice that all volunteers were masked (and probably gloved, at least for food handling, Covid), and they offered water and electrolyte drink. Brazen uses Ultima Replenisher. What the station had was probably raspberry flavored, based on the color and the odor I noticed while passing through (one of Ultima’s better flavors, IMO).

    Bib: Brazen doesn’t do plain race bibs. The Bad Bass bibs had distance color-coded stripes at the top and bottom, yellow for 5K, blue for 10K, and orange for half marathon. The race name and logo (see below) and year were in the top stripe. The bib number and runner’s name were in the middle white stripe, and Brazen Racing’s logo was in the bottom stripe.

    T-Shirt: Brazen’s registration fee includes a tech type T-shirt for half marathon runners and a poly-cotton T-shirt for 10K and 5K runners. 10K and 5K runners can upgrade to a tech type Tee for a moderate fee (currently $7). I didn’t upgrade, but the tech and poly-cotton shirts were both olive green. The front features the race logo and name, with the year and distances. The logo has a grinning fish in sunglasses, a Brazen T-shirt, a black leather jacket (he’s a BAD bass!), and a green/blue plaid kilt (don’t ask, I don’t know). The back is plain, and the Brazen Racing logo is on the right sleeve. All in all, a very nice shirt.

    Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is similar to the T-shirt artwork. The ribbon is glossy black, with the race name, year, and distances. It’ll display nicely! I was also third in my age group (I hope they found all those guys I knee-capped, 😉 ). The age group medallion has a fish with sharp teeth, the race name across the top, and “Age Group Winner” below the fish, all in the traditional gold, silver, and bronze coloring. The third place ribbon is glossy brown plaid, has the race name, and the place info.

    Finish & Recovery Area: I didn’t explore the recovery area very much, but there were multiple flavors of It’s It ice cream sandwiches (a Brazen tradition), lots of packaged goodies (Covid), and a good number of picnic tables, some shaded, to sit at. What’s not to like?

    My Results & Opinion of the Race: Though I’ve done Brazen events at this park before, I had never done Bad Bass, and had never done the 5K. I had a particular finish time goal for either Bad Bass or next weekend’s 5K. I didn’t reach that goal, even when adjusted for the slightly long distance, but given the rolling ups and downs of the course, I’m happy with my finish time.

    Like I said above, Bad Bass is a Brazen Racing event, and I’ve been a fan of their race experience for nearly 8 years. I’m trying to work back to being able to do courses with challenging hills and longer distances, so I hope to be back at this and other Brazen Lake Chabot events. Doing Brazen’s Quarry Turkey half marathon is my next big Brazen goal.

    DIFFICULTY
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    SCENERY
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    My Media

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    Katie_Ho Sep 13, 2021 at 10:31am

    Congrats on a strong showing and the age group win, Pete!

    Congrats on a strong showing and the age group win, Pete!

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    Fragileflower12 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This race is at the same venue as Brazen’s New Years Day Race. The course is reversed for this one. It is beautiful and expertly run by Brazen! Lots of … MORE

    This race is at the same venue as Brazen’s New Years Day Race. The course is reversed for this one. It is beautiful and expertly run by Brazen! Lots of fun. Hiker starts (early starts) available. Enjoyed it!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    freddyfer00 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Bad Bass is a very well organized run. The scenery and the course ar amazing. This run will be a must in my races schedule for 2019! If you want … MORE

    Bad Bass is a very well organized run. The scenery and the course ar amazing. This run will be a must in my races schedule for 2019! If you want to run you first trail half-marathon, Bad Bass is highly recommended! Good luck!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    daannisshh REPEAT RUNNER '18

    For a new runner, this course is probably a medium difficulty. I ran it at the New Year's Day run, and beat my time by about 4 minutes this time … MORE

    For a new runner, this course is probably a medium difficulty. I ran it at the New Year’s Day run, and beat my time by about 4 minutes this time through since I’ve been running more and training harder. But the hills really are killer, especially on the way back.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    khy-bear FIRST-TIMER '18

    This is a good race to do if you are wanting some hills. The hills are not that hard to do but you can push yourself on them and that … MORE

    This is a good race to do if you are wanting some hills. The hills are not that hard to do but you can push yourself on them and that would be a good practice if you want to do a race in San Francisco.

    I like this company’s medals. They create custom medals that are on the larger side… makes me fell like i accomplished something. they also have ITs-Its at the end of the race so make sure you look for those.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    SCENERY
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    mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This is one of my favorite runs in the Bay Area. It starts and finishes at Lake Chabot. The half marathon takes you all the way around the lake, with … MORE

    This is one of my favorite runs in the Bay Area. It starts and finishes at Lake Chabot. The half marathon takes you all the way around the lake, with some pretty awesome views. There are some decent climbs in this race as well. It is about 13.6 miles and has just over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. The start/finish area is really big, so you can hang out afterwards and relax. The theme of this race has been around a fish (in a kilt) and a monster in the lake. None of which actually exist, but if you own a kilt, this is the race to do it in. You will not be alone. Even the race directors wear them. After the race there is a bagpipe player and a single-drum player, playing traditional Scottish (?) bagpipe music. What’s not cool about that? 🙂

    Also, come on, this is a Brazen race. They are 100% the best in the biz.

    Hope to see you out there next year.

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    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Jul 29, 2018 at 8:21pm

    Agreed! This is one of my favorites as well, though it's definitely not an easy course and I always underestimate the amount of climbing (I think denial is the key… MORE

    Agreed! This is one of my favorites as well, though it's definitely not an easy course and I always underestimate the amount of climbing (I think denial is the key to getting me back to the start line each time). And really — what other race gives you bagpipe players?? As for the monster in the lake, sure I've yet to see her, but that doesn't mean she's not there! 😜 Thanks for another awesome review Mike, and congrats on notching another Bad Bass finish! LESS

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    mikebeckwith Jul 30, 2018 at 10:17am

    And here's a little easter egg... :) The medal shows a fish on each side that represent the man and woman who come out every year to play the bagpipe… MORE

    And here's a little easter egg... :) The medal shows a fish on each side that represent the man and woman who come out every year to play the bagpipe and drums. :) The male (fish) has a mustache, and the drummer is the woman. Cool, huh? LESS

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    mikebeckwith Jul 30, 2018 at 11:13am

    It was just for this year, so you're off the hook. :) Last year was just a single fish I believe. By the way, what do you call a fish… MORE

    It was just for this year, so you're off the hook. :) Last year was just a single fish I believe. By the way, what do you call a fish with no eyes?...... a fsh. haha LESS

    M_Sohaskey Jul 30, 2018 at 11:10am

    That's awesome, I had no idea — and I even handed out the medals at the finish line last year 😳. Appreciate the insider knowledge!

    That's awesome, I had no idea — and I even handed out the medals at the finish line last year 😳. Appreciate the insider knowledge!

    melissasims3 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Brazen Racing always puts on a great event: well organized, friendly volunteers, well marked course, nice shirts, nice medal, great food at the end. I've done several of their races … MORE

    Brazen Racing always puts on a great event: well organized, friendly volunteers, well marked course, nice shirts, nice medal, great food at the end. I’ve done several of their races and am always impressed. This course was challenging for me due to the hills, which weren’t terribly steep, but there were several of them. It was an out and back course along Lake Chabot, so very pretty. Oh – and bag pipe players at the start and finish! Very cool!

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    octozooks FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was my first half marathon, and not saying away from a challenge I ended up running the Bad Bass. Expect sun exposure, hills, wonderful rolling flats, more hills, and … MORE

    This was my first half marathon, and not saying away from a challenge I ended up running the Bad Bass. Expect sun exposure, hills, wonderful rolling flats, more hills, and a finish line that keeps inching away from you. This race is an ultra marathon and is closer to 14 miles than 13. But so worth the effort. Brazen races always end with a snack feast, ice cream sandwiches, music, and lots of friendly folks. I definitely be running this route again!

    DIFFICULTY
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    4
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    5

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    johncjlee FIRST-TIMER '17

    -Well produced race, executed on time without hitches -Friendly atmosphere, people very supportive of each other -Beautiful scenery, great place to run a race -Reasonably challenging course, not too tough … MORE

    -Well produced race, executed on time without hitches
    -Friendly atmosphere, people very supportive of each other
    -Beautiful scenery, great place to run a race
    -Reasonably challenging course, not too tough but not too easy either
    Look forward to next year!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    skyebaby REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I love the setup for this one, running out with a bagpiper and drummer cheering us on, and the beautiful start and finish around the lake. The big hill in … MORE

    I love the setup for this one, running out with a bagpiper and drummer cheering us on, and the beautiful start and finish around the lake. The big hill in the middle can be a doozy, especially in the heat, but provides some amazing views and some decent shade here and there. Great aid stations, food post-race, and swag.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    davismeg REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Brazen Racing never ceases to amaze me! I've been participating in their races for over two years, but hadn't run Bad Bass until 2017. I loved every aspect of this … MORE

    Brazen Racing never ceases to amaze me! I’ve been participating in their races for over two years, but hadn’t run Bad Bass until 2017.

    I loved every aspect of this event. The location was easy to get to, parking wasn’t a nightmare, & pre-race festivities were very well organized. In my opinion, the course was challenging considering the steep hikes uphill; however, I’m not complaining! 🙂 As always, I ran with my Sole Sisters and a few of them were thrown off by the steep hills so it may not be everyone’s course of choice. Can’t please everyone.

    Swag & Post-Race Party = AMAZING AS ALWAYS!! There’s nothing better than getting greeted at the finish line with a BEAUTIFUL, heavy-duty, race-specific medal. One can always expect to get good swag at a Brazen run, no doubt. Brazen Racing always provides an extensive array of snacks & drinks to nourish yourself with after the race.

    As I said, I’ve been participating in Brazen runs for a few years now, and the community they’ve created amongst Bay Area (and non Bay Area) runners is incredible. Always good vibes out there on the trails.

    Thanks again, BR!

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    rngo77 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Beautiful run, great hills. Very well organized and supported run. i can't say enough about Brazen, all runs that I've participated in have been a blast! MORE

    Beautiful run, great hills. Very well organized and supported run. i can’t say enough about Brazen, all runs that I’ve participated in have been a blast!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
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    5
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    5
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    5
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    melanie.kelsey FIRST-TIMER '17

    As usual, Brazen Racing ran the best race! Fun location to run! Organized check-in! Great communication! Amazing volunteers and water and snack stops on the route. The BEST post-race food … MORE

    As usual, Brazen Racing ran the best race! Fun location to run! Organized check-in! Great communication! Amazing volunteers and water and snack stops on the route. The BEST post-race food ever!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    pasq77 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    In 2015 Bad Bass 5K was my first introduction to trail running and Brazen Racing. I had only done 1 other race before a home town 4th of July road … MORE

    In 2015 Bad Bass 5K was my first introduction to trail running and Brazen Racing. I had only done 1 other race before a home town 4th of July road race. I was not sure I would ever really “get into” running especially in organized races. I was pretty intimidated by what I had witnessed at road races I had attended with my wife and pretty confident that this would be similar and most likely my last organized race.

    Well that was 51 races ago! Since then I have done the Bad Bass 10K twice. Lake Chabot is an oasis in an urban setting providing a great background and an amazing place not just to run in but to enjoy many outdoor activities.

    If you have never done a Brazen race before they make signing up for the race simple every race has 3 different price points. The closer to race day (including race day) you register the more you pay. Packet pick up also offers multiple choice. You can have your bib and race packet snail mailed, you can usually pick up your race packet at predefined location on the Thursday and Friday before the race or you can show up early on race day and pick up your bib and goodies.

    The atmosphere at the Lake Chabot is always lively, there is plenty of parking available and if your there for the race parking is free. I love arriving for the Bad Bass you can usually hear the bagpipes tuning up in the background as you prep for whatever race your running. There is a convenient bag check but given the proximity of the parking to the race start you can always store your stuff back in your car.

    The bagpipers play you out at the start of all 3 races (1/2, 10K & 5K) it’s a pretty cool way to start out a race. The first two miles of the 10K are on a nice shady paved trail mostly along the lake, this is to lull you into a false sense of security. As you leave the first aid station you begin to move a bit more upward for the 10K this does not stop for the next mile and half.

    Your climbing on a dirt trail at least for me it’s fairly technical, plenty of rocks and pot holes to watch for as well as the steep climb, the good part is when you reach the top you hit an aid station before you have to make your way back down. Going down can be troublesome with all the rocks and places to twist your ankle at some points I slowed to a walking pace just to prevent any injury. Once you cross the single lane bridge, and hit the aid station nearby, your in the shade and travelling back to the finish.

    As usual the Brazen medal and t-shirt were exceptional and every type of sugar, salty and healthy snack is available as well as the hard earned Its It.

    The best thing about the Bad Bass and any Brazen race for that matter is the people the volunteers, streakers, newbies, kids even random folks just there to enjoy Lake Chabot were friendly and smiling. This is what has me coming back to Brazen races again and again. There is no attitude no worries if you’re the fastest or the slowest. Sam will be the first to tell you “take your time and enjoy the trail we will be here when you finish” its great advice!

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    noneleft REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This race takes place at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. This is my second year running the half marathon. There is still construction work on the dam, so we ran … MORE

    This race takes place at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. This is my second year running the half marathon. There is still construction work on the dam, so we ran the same course at last year. The half course is an out and back with about three miles of pavement and the rest on fire roads. The course is not too technical, but there are some rocks and roots, so you need to be aware of where you are placing your feet. This course is a true Ultra Half with 13.7 miles and 1544 feet of elevation. There were two aid stations that we saw twice. All Aid stations were very well stocked with water, Ultima Sports drink, soda, sweet and salty snacks, and fruit. Aid stations volunteers were eager to help the runners. They were great.
    I really enjoy running races at Lock Chabot. The scenery is beautiful. The course has many miles of eucalyptus trees to provide shade and sections exposed to the sun where it does get hot.
    At the finish line, you are presented with your medal. All runners receive a race shirt of either cotton for the 5k/10k or tech for the half marathon. There is finish line food has bagels, fruit, sweet and salty snacks, and Krispy Creme glazed mini donuts. Brazen Racing also had a tradition of having It’s It ice cream sandwiches.
    Brazen Racing puts on 27 races a year. You will not be disappointed if you participate in one or more of them.

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    3
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    5

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    woodshc FIRST-TIMER '16

    Having run the 10k version of this course in December, I opted for the shorter, easier 5k this time to avoid summer heat. It was a fun, fast run over … MORE

    Having run the 10k version of this course in December, I opted for the shorter, easier 5k this time to avoid summer heat. It was a fun, fast run over a pleasantly rolling course. Lots of kids at the starting line which was concerning, but the pack spread out pretty quickly, so it ended up being okay – no one got run over 🙂

    The usual excellent swag and production by Brazen, and a generally great race!

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    Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is a race that I really enjoy and I was sad that I missed it last year because of a calendar conflict. The time of year is really perfect … MORE

    This is a race that I really enjoy and I was sad that I missed it last year because of a calendar conflict. The time of year is really perfect for this race. They changed the course a bit because of the park construction, so we missed the steepest climb in the beginning, but the course was made a bit longer to make up for the difficulty. This is one of the races that is part of the Brazen Racing Ultra Series. Lake Chabot is really pretty and you get to see (and smell) some really nice eucalyptus trees. Partly technical, with a bit of pavement. Overall, I really enjoy this race and hope to do it year, after year. Again, the weather is just perfect, and hanging out with friends after the race is so enjoyable. Brazen always has such a nice variety of food options post race, and the swag…amazing. I love, love, love the shirt this year!

    Aid Stations – Brazen Racing volunteers are always great, and over a period of time you get to know people, so it is always fun to see familiar faces when you come into the AS. They always have a variety of food options, coca-cola, and ice bucket if it gets too hot out there! Photo credit – Jason Lehrbaum

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    mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is a really beautiful course, out at Lake Chabot. Due to some trail maintenance this year's course was changed. I have ran this course 5 times, so the change … MORE

    This is a really beautiful course, out at Lake Chabot. Due to some trail maintenance this year’s course was changed. I have ran this course 5 times, so the change was a nice welcome. The course shows as 13.5 miles online, but I showed closer to 14 with my Garmin. There are many shaded areas, where you run under tree cover so that can cause GPS hiccups. This was my 57th half marathon, and ranks up there with my favorites.
    This year’s course has you starting on the West Shore Trail, and looping a small loop to the East Shore Trail. The first 1.7 miles is flat and runnable hills, till you hit the Cameron Loop Trail, which starts the first climb. You’ll then connect to Ten Hills Trail. Next you’ll join Brandon Skyline Trail. You’ll continue on Brandon Trail and do a loop with some climbing. After the loop, you’ll make a right on Towhee Trail where you’ll join Live Oak Trail. This part is all downhill. In other years, this race had us going up this hill. It’s much more fun to only go down it. :). You’ll cross over the rickety bridge, which I love, and then join the East Shore Trail again, to run in to the finish, where you’ll cross one small bridge before finishing through the Brazen arch.
    This year I paced my good friend’s daughter on this half marathon. She is 12 years old as has done quite a few halfs already. We had a lot of fun. We saw lots of cool lizards, and saw two really cool deer.
    After the race, of course, as with any Brazen race, the people, the fun, the food, the bling, everything, was awesome as always.
    Pro tip: Get there early as parking in the lot is limited and once it’s full you have to park outside of the park. Parking is also free if you’re doing the race. The parking lots are big, but there are lots of other people who use this park, so remember, get there early.

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    noneleft REPEAT RUNNER '16

    First time running the Bad Bass 1/2 marathon. Last year I ran the 5k. There was a new half course this year because the dam at Lake Chabot is being … MORE

    First time running the Bad Bass 1/2 marathon. Last year I ran the 5k. There was a new half course this year because the dam at Lake Chabot is being retrofitted. I really enjoyed the course. It had nice rolling hills with about 1600 ft of elevation. The course length was 13.7 miles. Aid stations were at miles 1.74, 5.43, 10.7, and 12.3. Aid stations were fully stocked with sports drink, water, Coca Cola, candy, fruit, and salty snacks. Half marathon runners received a Bad Bass tech t-shirt and 5k/10k runners received a cotton shirt. The medal was awesome, as usual.There was post race food, water, sports drink and It’s Its. I love running at Lake Chabot. It is very scenic and has a lot of trees. Will definitely run the Bad Bass again

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    greeneyegirl9 REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This was my first trail run 4 years ago and my introduction to Brazen Racing. This year they changed the course because work was being done on the damn. I … MORE

    This was my first trail run 4 years ago and my introduction to Brazen Racing. This year they changed the course because work was being done on the damn. I like the old course better. This may be because I knew what was coming. This year we started out the same but instead of going up a big climb between 4-6 it was more of a gradual up up up. It seemed to be a constant up. I felt this way was harder because you never really had recoup time. Every time we passed a familiar runner they would say the same thing. Important if the course stays this way to have your own water source. Several people did not have water with them. The aid stations were pretty spread out 1.74, 5.43, 10.7, 12.3. I still find this one of my favorite races and one of the easier ones in the Ultra Series. Theme inspired so wear your Kilt and get ready to hear some bagpipes.

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  1. Races
  2. Bad Bass Half Marathon, 10K & 5K