Be a skeeter-beater.

“If you’re running, you should be running faster than the bugs,” said Chatfield Western Days Stampede organizer Chris Frye.

He added there should be no need to wear bug spray! The Western Days Stampede foot race is held on the Lost Creek Hiking Trail for the third year in a row, a fundraiser for the Chatfield High School cross-country team.

The 23rd annual race, set for Saturday, Aug. 12, features three distances – a 10K race that starts at 8 a.m., a two-mile race that starts at about 9:30 a.m., and a free one-mile fun run following the two-mile race.

Frye said, “It’s open to runners of all ages. There are nine age groups, from nine and under to 70 and over. Lost Creek Hiking Trail offers both a scenic and challenging racecourse. There is varied terrain and surfaces – flat stretches and hills, grass trails, pasture land, creek crossings, gravel roads and pavement.”

He advised that anyone who would like to participate in the Stampede should prepare for the race by running, “preferably on varied terrain.”

Participants should wear their normal running clothes and shoes, and there’s no need to bring a water bottle, as there will be water stations along the trail.

Frye said the first finishers will take home some hardware. “Horseshoe trophies go to the overall male and female winners and to winning four-person teams – male, female and co-ed – in the 10K and two-mile races and medals to the top three finishers in each age group,” he explained.

Frye pointed out that the Stampede is beneficial to the runners who take it on and also to the community. “It’s a great activity for the local running community. It also brings in runners from outside the immediate area, which contributes to Western Days as a whole,” he said. “In addition, it introduces people to Lost Creek Hiking Trail. This is really a community race, with the majority of participants coming from the Chatfield area. It’s always fun to see local runners competing. The team competition also adds a unique element – both the 10K and the two-mile have four-person team competitions for male, female and co-ed teams. Runners can compete both as an individual and on a team.”

Advance and day-of registration methods are available, as is bus transportation to the trailhead, designated as the starting line. “Registration and bus loading to go to the starting lines are at Groen Park,” Frye said. “All races finish at Groen Park. Online registration is available at stampede.zapevent.com, and there will also be same-day registration opening at 7 a.m. at Groen Park, but we encourage people to pre-register online.”

Parking will be available along County Road 2, but there will be no parking in the Groen Park parking lot.

Frye continued, “Bus transportation courtesy of Bernard Bus will be available to the starting lines for the 10K and two-mile races. Buses will leave for the starting lines 15 minutes before the start of each race. The one-mile fun run will be completely within Groen Park.”

At the end of the race, proceeds raised from runners hoofing it faster than the bugs on the trail will benefit the Chatfield High School cross-country team. Frye expressed his appreciation to those who join the Stampede for their contributions to the team, as it is the only fundraising activity that benefits the team.

For more information on the Stampede, check out the zapevent.com site listing or contact Frye at 507-696-3500.