UPDATE, MARCH 9, 2021: After spending last weekend in Walla Walla touching base with locals, partners, and Bennington Lake officials, Claire and I have made the decision to hold the in-person Walla Walla 6 Hour on April 10th!  While there will be modifications to the weekend and COVID guidelines to follow, we believe in the value of holding this in-person event and are confident we can do it safely.  PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN ALL WOMEN’S TRAIL RUNNING EVENT. Read on for why!

All women registered for 2020 have the option to rollover into the 2021 event. Please email wallagretchen@gmail.com for a rollover code and invitation to re-register. Registration will open to the public January 6th. Questions? For those unsure about participating in-person, check out the Walla Walla 6 Hour Virtual event. Please read the updates below and email wallatrails@gmail.com for any further questions. REGISTERED RUNNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY MARCH 10 ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE IN-PERSON EVENT.

In celebration of finding friendship through the trail running community, we are creating a ladies weekend in Walla Walla. April 10th, 2021 will be a 6 hour woman’s race. Part of the proceeds of this event will go towards Trail Sisters. In 2014 I met Claire Walla in LA while coordinating the Trail Running Film Fest tour. I was so surprised to see another Walla on the list that I had to investigate. No, we are not related but we discovered we are the true definition of Trail Sisters. We have logged lots of miles, shared countless stories, and laugh often. We have always joked we need to visit Walla Walla, Washington one day….well, it’s happening and we are going big!

GWalla (right) pacing CWalla at Tahoe 100 in 2018

Registration

Registration will open to the public Wednesday January, 6 2021 on Ultrasignup. The cost is $80 but money will not be processed until the event is confirmed on March 10th. Space is limited to 125 runners. REGISTER HERE.

Results

Results will be posted on Ultrasignup. Participants who run/hike all 6 hours will receive a Trail Sisters trucker hat. The woman who completes the most amount of loops in 6 hours will receive a Walla Walla weekend gift basket – more to come but think wines, free stay lodging, etc. If there is a tie for most amount of loops, the woman who crosses the finish-line first will receive the gift basket.

Course //Aid Station

Fall scouting, 2019

The course will follow the Whitetail Trail which is a 5 mile outer loop around Bennington Lake. It’s mostly double track trail with a few single track sections. The elevation gain is around 370ft per loop. Here is a map of the Bennington Lake trail system.

Claire Walla on Walla Walla scouting trip, November 2019

Aid Station – 2021 update
Due to Covid restrictions, the aid station at the start/finish of each loop will have a limited number of snacks and drinks. That said, it will be some of our favorite things! There will be individual packets of Trail Butter, potato chips, and other standard snacks served by volunteers, who will be masked and gloved (see Covid-19 policies in Q&A). There will not be another aid station on course so we highly encourage bringing a pack with your own fuel/hydration while you run. We will have a drop bag area to stash your own items and/or you can access your car after each loop. Expect more information to be sent via email weeks leading up to the event.

Your Entry Helps Support Trail Sisters

Trail Sisters is an important platform for women in trail running and building community. Not only have we met other women to run with through Trail Sisters, but there are numerous articles pertaining to women on the trails. From women’s safety to periods to equal rights in trail racing, there is no topic off limits. We want to support founder Gina Lucrezi who has made women supporting women through trail running her full time gig. Case in point – Claire and I met some Trail Sisters while running in Walla Walla in November – Walla Walla local Gina Ohnstad recognized our TS hats and is now helping us on the ground with this event!

GWalla & CWalla sporting some TS hats and shades in November 2019

Bergevin Lane Vineyards – wine sponsor

We were fortunate enough to be introduced to Annette Bergevin, the General Manager and Founding Partner of Bergevin Lane Vineyards. Claire and I were able to confirm Bergevin wines are top notch on a scouting trip in November 2019. While it’s not likely we can gather for a post-race celebration at the winery, we will be brainstorming with Annette on how to provide their highly rated wines for a discounted price for Walla Walla 6 Hour participants. Stay tuned!

GWalla & CWalla enjoying some of Bergevin Lane’s wines, November 2019

Partners

There are several businesses, local and nationwide, that are supporting Walla Walla 6 Hour!

  • Lily Trotters – We love these compression socks for running and travel so we are thrilled Lily Trotters is donating 15 pairs to raffle! There will also be a pair reserved for the winner of the Walla Walla 6 Hour.
  • Graze – The place to go for sandwiches in Walla Walla for sandwiches! Graze will donating a gift card and some swag to the winner’s basket. We are brainstorming ways for Walla Walla 6 Hour runners to enjoy the delicious offerings for free or at a discounted rate.

Colville Street Patisserie – Best bakery in town and a great place to stop for coffee! Colville Street Patisserie will be providing gift cards to the winner of most miles and a few other lucky runners who will randomly be selected.

Photography

We are excited to have Taryn Graham capture the weekend for us! Taryn is a well rounded photographer who has completed many ultra marathons herself. It’s always a joy having her shooting races and we love her work! Check out her website: https://taryngrahamphoto.com/

One of Taryn’s captures at NWTR’s Teanaway Trail Run, 2019

Schedule (updated March 2021):

Friday, April 9th, 2021 – option for no contact bib pick-up 5:00pm-6:30pm at Bennington Lake – come say hi, ask questions!

Saturday, April 10th, 2021 (an email will be sent March 23rd asking runners to sign up for a wave – deadline is April 5th):

  • No contact pick-up from 6:30am-7:30am if you didn’t pick bib/swag Friday evening
  • First wave of 15 runners: 7:45am
  • 2nd wave of 15 runners: 7:50am
  • 3rd wave of 15 runners: 7:55am
  • 4th wave of 15 runners: 8:00am
  • 5th wave of 15 runners: 8:05am
  • 6th wave of 15 runners: 8:10am
  • 7th wave of 15 runners: 8:15am
  • Trail Sister HATS will be given out at the event to runners who run/walk all 6 hours
  • FINAL RESULTS to be announced via email, Walla Trails & Community Facebook, and Instagram pages the following week

Directions

From the WTA website regarding Bennington Lake: From Walla Walla, drive Highway 12 east for 4.6 miles to the Airport Way Exit. Turn right to travel across Isaac Avenue onto Tausick Way passing Walla Walla Community College on the left. Make a left onto Reservoir Road, and drive 1.6 miles to the parking area for Bennington Lake. You will pass two other parking areas on the drive that access trails along Mill Creek. Restrooms are available, and parking for horse trailers as well as cars and trucks.

Spring time at Bennington Lake. Photo by Gina Ohnstad

Lodging

We are looking for a lodging partner that will offer runners a decent discount and safe experience. Check back in January 2021. There are also several great Airbnbs offerings with free cancellations.

Q&A // Rules

  • What is Walla Trails doing to keep runners safe pre-event, during the event, and post-event? We will follow the Governor’s guidelines for outdoor events. We recommend that you read over this document. Here are some of the key safety measures:
    • Volunteers will be pre-screened before the event with questions and a temperature check
    • All volunteers will wear masks and gloves during check-in and at the aid station
    • There will be two portable hand-washing stations at the start/finish/aid station area
    • Hand sanitizer will be available at the start/finish/aid station area
    • Social distance of six feet or more will be maintained when possible
  • What is Walla Trails asking runners to do pre-event, during the event, and post-event? Here are some of the key safety measures we need all runners to follow:
    • Stay home if not feeling well
    • Runners will wear a face covering at the start, and during the event when coming within 6 feet of volunteers or other runners
    • Please use hand washing stations or hand sanitizer as soon as you arrive, after you use the restroom, and after you finish the race
    • Travel and stay with family or those in your social distancing circle.
  • Are spectators allowed? As November 2020, no. The Governor’s guidelines for outdoor events does not allow for spectators. We will notify participants if this guideline changes but plan on not bringing family and friends to the event. MARCH 2021 UPDATE: Due to how busy Bennington Lake can be, we ask only runners and volunteers attend the event. This was a request in our permit and will revisit this next year.
  • Are men allowed to register and run the 6 hour? In the spirit of celebrating our vision of making this a ladies weekend, the inaugural year will feature a women’s only race.
  • Are dogs welcome? No dogs are allowed on course at the Walla Walla 6 Hour (they can hang out with family and cheer you on). Ladies, this is a run for you to embrace each other!
  • Can I camp at Bennington Lake Friday or Saturday night? No because access to the lake closes at 10:00pm.
  • Are there refunds? A 50% refund or a rollover will be considered to 2021 registered participants if the event is cancelled.