HELENA — For the second year in a row, the Prickly Pear Land Trust is holding its 'Don't Fence Me In' trail run on a virtual platform.
Mary Hollow, executive Director for the land trust, says they're incorporating feedback that they received last year from the trail challenge and run into this year's event.
"People loved the trail challenge categories that had things like, 'how many miles did you walk with you carrying your baby in the front pack?'" said Hollow. "Those helped to get, I think, a different subset of the community out onto the trails and that was really, really fun. So we tried to modify things to continue to expand the availability of the Don't Fence Me In Race to more people in the community."
Race Director (though he’s not a fan of the title) Martin Miller said the race committee was hard at work preparing for this year’s event and says even when the race gets back to being able to hold in-person events, they could still offer the virtual platform, but discussions need to occur within the committee first.
“I personally like the idea, but that's a decision that the race committee has to make, and it's a matter of supporting it and you know, putting a lot of effort into the event on a given day. It's a lot of work," said Miller. "Then you have the additional effort of managing the virtual aspect of it. So it's worth discussing, but we -- I don't think that the decision has been made yet.”
Ty House, a member of the Happy Snails running group, has run in the race the last four years and said she can see the benefits of having both an in-person and virtual event together, but she’s definitely missing the in-person event this year.
“There's something really challenging I think about a virtual race, that kind of challenges people to learn the course themselves and navigate themselves, which adds like a mental component to the race that I think is interesting," said House. "But, it's really fun to celebrate at the end. I mean, who doesn't want those big parties back on the walking mall?”
The Don't Fence Me In Trail Run starts on May 8 and runs through June 1.