Recap – Dirty Kiln Trail Race


What an awesome weekend! The weather finally broke and it was beautiful and sunny both days. I love snow and winter, but I am now ready for some Spring.

On Saturday I ran in a relatively new race by the Allegheny Trailrunners called the Dirty Kiln Trail Race at Canoe Creek State Park.


They offer both a five mile or half marathon. I opted for the five miler. A friend from the gym joined me and we ended up sticking together through the full race.

Regan and I before the race.

Regan and I before the race.

You’re probably wondering about the “Dirty Kilns”. Please note it’s “kilns” with an “n” and not “kilts”. There are actually kilns at the park, old limestone ones, that you pass very early on in the race. Now I know I said “kilns” but there were actually several racers running in kilts, as well as bagpipers in full regalia at various points too. It was a nice and funny addition.

There is one big hill, which is single track, so if you wanted to run the entirety you hopefully got out in front early. There was a nice long downhill with a creek to cross at the bottom. Mind you there was a bridge, but it was filled with bagpipers so we had to go through the knee-deep water. It was cold, but felt pretty good and washed some early mud from our legs and shoes.

From there the trail opened up and allowed for passing and the ability to run side-by-side. Eventually it narrows back to single track along the lake. The course at this point is described as a roller coaster as it’s simply up and down repeatedly. There is, of course, more mud (wouldn’t be a trail run without at least some mud!) and one final knee-deep creek for you head off towards the finish line.

During a section of the roller coaster.

During a section of the roller coaster.

While the course wasn’t as difficult as the Humdinger, which was 7 miles and had you running all over a mountain, it was still challenging and tough. I know the half marathon route had a few more hill climbs in it too.

Overall, the race was well-organized and the trail, at least for the five miler, was well-marked. I’m definitely planning to do it again next year and am considering the half marathon option. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys something fun, yet challenging. It was a really fun way to start my day.

I somehow managed a third place finish in my age group, although I didn’t realize that until Sunday night. I couldn’t stay for the awards ceremony, but am hopeful I’ll be getting my award at a later date. I have to give credit to Regan for sticking with me the entire time. We both said at the end that there were times we thought about walking, but we didn’t want to slow the other person down so we simply kept going. I love how that works! Regan also did outstanding and was in the top five in her age group too!

Hope you all were able to enjoy the outstanding weather this weekend.

*Photos from


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