It’s a cold Saturday morning. The time is 6:50 a.m. and while many are just waking up, hundreds from all over the country get ready to begin long distance running on the mountainous trail ways and hilltops of Valencia. 

Returning after a three-year hiatus, New Global Adventures hosted its fifth annual Valencia Trail Race on Saturday. Unable to operate because of COVID-19, the event was last held in 2019. 

“It’s tough because this is one of our biggest races. So having to postpone for two years was a huge hit on us,” explained Terry Majamaki, NGA creator and VTR organizer. “It’s been a challenge but we’re really excited to have it back.”

Event organizer, Terry Majamaki speaking to VTR participants next to the race start line on Saturday, 032622 at 7:02 a.m. Claudia Canchola/Canyons News

This year, the Valencia Trail Race featured three distances to choose from: a 10K, a 50K, and a half marathon. Although difficult, the trails offered scenic views to trail runners.

“We have the best trails in Southern California,” said Jolene Quier, a VTR volunteer. “This one in particular is really good because it’s a tough course… it’s hard. But when you look out, you can literally see all the way of the coastline. It’s just so rewarding.”

With participants coming from all over the country, the Valencia Trail Race has also become renowned by many across the world.

“We have I think about 25 states that have traveled here for the race [today] and about 15 countries,” said Majamaki. “But we had people like a few years ago, we had this lady from Japan who literally just flew in, the morning of the race. [She] got here, ran 50K, loved it, and was back on the plane by the evening.” 

In order to participate in the event, runners were required to pay a race entry fee and sign a waiver, acknowledging the potential risks of the trails. 

“That’s just legal protection,” explained Majamaki. “So, we got to have complete protection that releases us from liability, and anything like that. It’s just standard process.”

VTR participants walking to and from the race start line on Saturday, 032622 at 7:05 a.m. Claudia Canchola/Canyons News

The distance times of participants were also recorded using a MyLaps timing system and BibTag chips. BibTag chips were given to trail runners before the race, at the check-in stations.

“So, the records are more just for people to see what the fastest times are,” said Majamaki. “We post the results, but then we also highlight the top finishers, the male and female categories, and that just helps other runners when they come back, to see what the pace is because trail running is a very different pace every single race.”

Given its three-year absence, Valencia Trail Race volunteers are happy to be back.

“Being back means that we are back socializing and engaging and having a community that can see each other and knowing that everyone appreciates being here,” said Quier. “Overall, every year is new and every year is just a new memory and that’s just so much fun.”

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