Tales from an ultra runner -Mahasin’s Journey

Running on trails slowed me down, helped me to appreciate the simple things and take time to enjoy nature. I’ve learned to enjoy the experience and to disconnect from the noise happening in the world.

Mahasin, Prince George’s County, MD

How long have you been a trail runner?

I’ve been running trails for about 4 years.

What inspired you to start trail running?

After running on pavement and running so many crowded marathons, I asked myself, what’s next? Plus, when you have friends who are ultramarathoners, they can be very convincing. I signed up for the Rosaryville 25k and I’ve been running trails ever since.

How has trail running impacted your life? What has it taught you about yourself?

Running on trails slowed me down, helped me to appreciate the simple things, and take time to enjoy nature. I’ve learned to enjoy the experience and to disconnect from the noise happening in the world. On pavement you can easily get caught up in personal records (PRs), trying not to get lapped by other runners, and racing to the finish line to enjoy the after-parties. With trail running, it’s about me and nature – it’s my own time. It’s about appreciating the experience and simply finishing the race.

What are your thoughts about why more black and brown people aren’t represented in the trail running community?

Based on my experiences, there aren’t a lot of black and brown people running on trails. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel for trail races but the few that I have done, diversity is sparse. However, the larger and popular road races are diverse, and I think it has a lot to do with the popularity of running large races. However, when I travel and I am racing in smaller races in obscure locations, I may be one of a handful of non-white participants. (I would be interested in seeing some statistics about the racial make up of large races versus small races versus trail racing.)

There are a number of black and brown women who are road runners. What can we do to encourage them to give trail running a try?

To be honest, running on trails is kind of inconvenient and time consuming. Running 6 miles in the woods can take twice as long as running on pavement. Plus, it’s not like I can run out my front door and start running on a dirt trail. Therefore, my invitations to my non-trail running friends haven’t been accepted. I believe getting a group of the current black and brown trail runners together for a run every now and then may be the way to go. Then if people see a group of folks like them running, maybe black and brown runners would be more inclined to run on trails.

What’s the most memorable trail running experiences you’ve had?

My most memorable trail running experience is hugging my parents at the end of my first 50-miler (Stone Mill 50 in Montgomery, County MD). It was my longest race and finishing was a big accomplishment. It was so cold, I had been running all night and my parents told me they weren’t probably going be there. I was extremely surprised when I saw them standing in the dark and wrapped in blankets. One of the best moments EVER!

What is your next trail running adventure?

COVID has put a pin in my running adventures for 2020. I’m taking life easy, so I have nothing on my schedule.

What is your favorite trail running gear and why?

I like running with a buff because its multifunctional. I can use it to cover my face to protect me from spider webs in the summer, to cover my ears and face to keep me warm in the winter, or to simply use it as handkerchief. Simple but versatile.

What is your favorite trail race and why?

I think my favorite trail race thus far has been Virginia Happy Trails Running Club’s Half Marathon. I’ve only done it once, but the course was fun. It has one of my favorite down hills that you can’t help but fly down. The aid stations are awesome. Plus, the smoothie at the finish line is refreshing. Oh, I also love the tank top race shirt.

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