Running in the woods

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Part of the trail that will be used for the race.

Part of the trail that will be used for the race.

With all the recent interest in 5Ks and other runs, the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center has decided to use their 5,000 plus acres to host a 5K, 10K and half-marathon on March 12.

“We got the idea from our advisory council,” Joel Martin said. “The hope is for us to get a little more exposure and generate income.”

Martin said the exposure is the main thing they are looking for.

“We want to expose the race crowd to our facility and put on great race, that is the No. 1 goal,” Martin said. “Second, since we aren’t funded by Auburn University, we felt like this would be a great way to generate funds that will go towards running the facility.”

Martin said that this race would be different than most races afford locally.

“There aren’t a lot of trail runs around here, and we felt like we have some very beautiful scenery that we could put to use for this,” Martin said. “The races will be held on forest roads, unimproved roads and maintained firebreaks. The runners will leave our facility and head up our entrance to start the race, and that is the only place where runners will be on pavement.”

Martin said the run will allow people to enjoy all of the beautiful views the Dixon Center has to offer.

“It should be a very unique run,” Martin said. “Once you get away from our main campus, you are by yourself. It should make for a very pleasant run.”

Martin said that this is the first time that they have attempted to tackle this type of event, but says that will the help of others in the community that everything is coming together nicely.

“We have never had a race down here and I’ve never been in charge of one,” Martin said. “I’ve talked with Jennifer O’Neal who does the Run for God, and I’ve picked her brain on the things that we need to do. We are really depending on her group to really help set it off.”

Martin said that the timing of the race would be done by the same group that does the Run for God events.

“We really just wanted to expose ourselves to a different crowd and give them a different venue to run,” Martin said. “We have a beautiful facility out here, and not a lot people are aware of the things that we offer here.”

Martin said he hopes it will turn into an annual event.

“If everything goes good, we hope to make this into an annual event,” Martin said. “It’s a run through the runs and it should be a great experience for everyone involved.”

Registration for the race can be found at and can be filled out and mailed to Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center at 12130 Dixon Center Road, Andalusia, AL 36420. The form my also be filled out and submitted online.

Registration fee for the 5K will be $30 if done before Jan. 23, $35 if before Mar. 11 and $40 if done on the day of the race. The 10K will be $35 before Jan. 23, $40 before Mar. 11 and $45 on the day of the race. The half-marathon will be $45 before Jan. 23, $50 before Mar. 11 and $55 on the day of the race.

If paying by check, may payable to Auburn University.

All registrations received prior to Feb. 26, will receive a race T-shirt.

Online registrations will close at midnight on Mar. 10

First place and second place finishers in each race will be awarded for male and female winners and specified age classes. Completion medals will be awarded for the half-marathon only.

The half-marathon will begin a 7:45 a.m. and the 5K and 10K will begin at 8 a.m. Race day registration and packet pickup begins at 6:30, at the Solon Dixon Center on race morning. A pre-race registration and packet pickup will be held in Andalusia from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., at a location to be determined.

For additional information or questions, contact Joel Martin at, or call 222-7779.