When late April arrives and you’re still trying to kick your cabin fever, the best cure is filling your lungs with fresh Wisconsin air as the last piles of snow disappear, tulips start to bloom and trees are budding.
Just don’t forget your anti-histamine.
Justin Trails Resort, a uniquely charming spot in Sparta, is holding its first annual 5K Run on April 27th. Whether you want to get in shape for the Bellin Run in late spring, or just want a weekend get-away, this place lets you soak in the beauty of spring in Wisconsin. The season goes by quickly in this state – so take advantage of it while you can.
While it’s being booked as a race for all ages and experience levels, the race is called the Lung Bustin’ Justin. Dawn Justin, daughter of owners Don and Donna Justin, says the trails will offer a challenge.
“We’ve created a system with about 8 miles of trails with lots of ups and downs and a great workout,” Dawn explains. “Some are easy walks along valley floors, some take you steeply up to the hilltops with 250 feet of elevation change and others meander, rise and fall.”
- Location: Justin Trails Resort, 7452 Kathryn Ave. Sparta, WI
- Date/Time: April 27, 2013. Race begins at 9am
- Cost: Pre-registration $15, $18 day of race
- Pre-register at www.justintrails.com/
- Phone: 1-800-488-4521
- See a Map of the Trails (PDF)
Dawn adds that the trails at her family’s resort have been used by avid trail runners for a long time. A pair of them are helping kick off the first official 5K.
“Guests have been running our trails for years and it’s been in the back of our minds to someday host a race,” she says. “We’re pretty busy folks, so when Ken Damro and Cindy Ramseyer expressed an interest in putting a race together we were thrilled.”
Damro and Ramseyer are experienced trail runners and have contributed a lot of ideas to make the first Lung Bustin’ Justin a success. Ramseyer, the Race Coordinator, concurs that the course they’ve put together includes “tight corners, lengths of rolling terrain and a downhill that will force your natural breaking system to activate.”
You can refuel after the race with free fresh fruit, juice and homemade energy bars, which Dawn Justin is whipping up from granola she makes from scratch. You can also pay to eat from the farm-fresh breakfast buffet.
“The food we use for breakfast at the resort and the food used for the race is mostly organic and sourced within 25 miles of the resort,” Dawn says.
Don’t expect the race to get called off if winter tries to make a comeback. Dawn says the runners will just tough it out.
“We’ll run the race no matter the weather. Those who run trail races like the Lung Bustin’ Justin are used to getting wet and muddy,” she says.
Proceeds from the Lung Bustin’ Justin will go towards maintaining and improving the trails and grounds at the resort.
More on Justin Trails Resort
If you don’t feel like participating in the big race, this spot would still make a great family getaway during the spring season. Dawn Justin tells us there is a lot to take in when the snow melts.
You can spot ephemeral wildflowers along the trails including wild geranium, trillium, trout lily and more. These flowers have short life cycles, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy them and snap some photos.
It’s an ideal spot for birdwatchers too. Dawn Justin says you’ll see lots of migratory flocks moving north, and birds like Sandhill Cranes and Downey Woodpeckers are abundant this time of year.
Instead of racing, try disc golfing. There’s an 18-basket course along the trails. And if there is still lots of snow when you visit – the trails play host to cross country skiers during the winter months.
Lodging at Justin Trails Resort is also unique. There are two Scandinavian log cabins, and three suites in a 1920s farmhouse, which include breakfast (More on Lodging). Otherwise, you can pitch a tent. On-site camping is available year-round at Justin Trails Resort for $20 per night, including for the upcoming race.