Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
4
(1 Ratings)  (1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
5
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
2
Created in 2005, the Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon and Squirrelly Six Mile is an event unlike any other. With giant gorillas and squirrels chasing after you, graveyards bearing your name, a chainsaw-wielding maniac in the midst, and plenty of other unique encounters to be had, it’s no wonder Runners World … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is a Halloween themed trail race in Thatcher State Park outside Albany, NY. This race worked great for me this weekend as Albany is on the way home from … MORE

    This is a Halloween themed trail race in Thatcher State Park outside Albany, NY. This race worked great for me this weekend as Albany is on the way home from Connecticut. I was initially signed up for the half marathon but when I saw the weather reports with how much it was going to rain on Saturday I switched to the 6 miler the week before since 13 miles of mud sounded terrible. That was one of the best decisions of my life. This event is produced by AREEP the main race company in Albany. I drove to Albany Saturday and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Albany. I discovered a new vegan burger place in Albany called Wizard Burger which was absolutely amazing and the best burger I’ve had outside of LA if you are looking for vegan food recommendations. Thatcher State Park is about a 30 minute drive from Albany but there isn’t much lodging by the park and the race starts at 9:30am so you don’t have to get up early if you are driving from Albany. Packet pick-up was easy and included bib and either a race specific hat or what appeared to be a generic AREEP blanket. I got the hat. It is a cute winter hat with gorillas and squirrels. The start of the race is super fun. There are tons of Halloween decorations, gravestones with runners names and a gorilla or two running around. There is a short kids race at 9, then a costume and gorilla imitation contest which were all just goofy and fun. Then the race starts. The half marathoners and 6 miles run together. This is a popular race for a trail race and I thought waves or at least a separate start for the 6 miler and half marathoners may have helped with congestion. The start and finish are the same place but we just lined up by the start line and did not pass the timing chip so it was gun time. The first mile is not bad. Most of it is through a field. It was very well marked. There was one section with gorgeous views. Then you go in the woods and it gets muddy. The positive is the trail was absolutely beautiful with the fall foliage. The negative is it was crazy muddy. Sections were ankle deep with mud. Without the mud this would be a pretty average trail race in terms of difficulty. The mud really slowed me down and made it hard to fully enjoy the scenery but I trudged along. Course was extremely well marked and I was very impressed there were volunteers at just about every intersection. You couldn’t get lost. The volunteers also all had costumes on. There were a few aid stations. It was a cupless event and you were told to run with a water bottle. The aid stations had jugs to refill your bottle but there were also volunteers to cheer you on. One aid stations had candy which was fun. I was extremely relieved to be out of the woods at mile five as the rest was back through the fields and to the finish line. The half marathoners do a different 7 mile loop which I heard was also very muddy. Yikes. I did want to run any more in this mud. At the finish line they call your name and you get a medal. My finishing time was incredibly slow and I finished covered in mud but uninjured (the real goal today). The medal is just a wooden cutout of a squirrel (or gorilla for the half) with the race name written on it. Kind of simple but better than no medals. At the finish there is food catered by a bread company and there is sandwiches, soup, salads, muffins and bread with lots of vegan options (yay!). Other than the mud which was out of the race company’s control this was a well done event. The swag wasn’t the best but it was a cheap race especially the half marathon so can’t complain and some trail half’s I’ve done have had no swag. I’m not sure I’d do this one again. On the one hand the trail was beautiful, the production was great, the theme was fun and it’s an excuse to go to Wizard burger but on the other hand that mud is going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I would however definitely consider another event produced by AREEP.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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  1. Races
  2. Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon & Squirrelly Six Mile