Running Wild at Elachee

Elachee Nature Science Center to hold the 10th Annual Trillium Trek Trail Run and Walk on Saturday morning, October 3, 2020, in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.

September 29, 2020 (Gainesville, Ga.) – Although the Trillium have long since lost their blooms, Elachee Nature Science Center has stayed the course and will host the 10th Annual Trillium Trek Trail Run and Walk some 24 weeks later than originally scheduled. The half-marathon and 5K run/walk races are scheduled for Saturday morning, October 3, 2020, with some modifications. This off-road trail race takes participants deep into the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, along the 8-mile hiking trail system.

Rescheduled from its original mid-April date, Elachee’s annual Trillium Trek races will field a smaller participant pool and follow an altered format. However, the courses still offer the freedom and beauty to run wild along the trails of this urban woodland, located in one of Georgia’s largest protected green spaces, also part of the National Old Growth Forest Network. This milestone race is made possible thanks to Elachee annual platinum presenting sponsor Northside Hospital and event sponsors BatesCarter, Jackson EMC, Milton Martin Toyota, New Urban Forestry, Publix Super Markets Charities and REI Co-op.

“New this year, the Trillium Trek race routes have been available for participants to practice 365 days out of the year, not just on race day,” shares 2020 Race Director Maranda McGaha. “With signage and directions posted along the trails and details on the official race website, www.elachee.org/trillium-trek, runners can log their practice times to share and compare with other runners, as well as work to improve their times. Not many half-marathons and 5K races allow runners to practice their exact courses throughout the year or prior to race day, and we believe this gives our race an interesting dynamic and a comfortable feel. The practice routes are all thanks to Elachee’s volunteer trail crew. Through this dedicated team’s hard work and preparation, runners are able to enjoy these trails all year long.”

Since mid-March, Elachee has canceled, taken virtual or rescheduled many of the Nature Center’s popular seasonal public events and ecology programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As well, numerous volunteer opportunities have been on hold for months.

“We are so very pleased to be able to offer this race amidst this time of so many event cancellations,” comments Elachee President/CEO Andrea Timpone. “Our trails have been a popular outdoor activity this year as people have searched for safe experiences.”

The Elachee organization is grateful for ongoing collaboration with community partners and a dedicated volunteer corps who have made it possible for the hiking trails to remain opened daily to the public without interruption throughout this pandemic.

“Trillium Trek is an annual opportunity to showcase the resources here in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve,” Timpone explains. “Moving this race from spring to fall will give runners a different seasonal ‘feel’ for this beautiful forest.” The annual Trillium Trek race draws participants from around the country and southeastern region, along with the local community.

The Elachee team and Trillium Trek volunteer host committee have put in place guidelines and are taking precautions to provide race participants and race volunteers with a valuable experience, while mitigating risk of COVID-19 exposure, to the extent possible. With staggered start times, pre-race digital registration, race bib technology, other pre- and post-race restrictions and limited campus access during the race, Trillium Trek 2020 promises to be no less fun and challenging for our race participants – just different.

“Although this year’s race will not be the whole package of what I have come to know and love about this event,” says Elachee’s Director of Operations Amy Bradford, “Trillium Trek will hold true to its essence and purpose; allowing participants to enjoy the hiking trails of the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve in a fun and exciting way.”

During the Trillium Trek races on Saturday morning, October 3, Elachee Nature Science Center, the Chicopee Woods hiking trails and trail head parking lots in the Chicopee Woods Conservation Area are closed to the public from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, the Chicopee Woods mountain bike trails and parking lot will remain open. The Elachee Visitor Center will reopen at 1 p.m., closing at 5 p.m. The hiking trails and parking lots will reopen at 1 p.m., closing at sunset.

Visit www.elachee.org to learn more about Elachee’s current services and hours, or for more details about the 10th Annual Trillium Trek Trail Run and Walk, visit www.elachee.org/trillium-trek.