The SoCalTrail Race Community Is A Strong One

tough topanga, socal trail race, trail race, california

Photo by Noah Klabin

It’s not easy to produce live sporting events. It’s not easy to produce live events, period. Anything can happen and the event producers have to be prepared for whatever challenges come their way. But, what really makes a triumphant event is if a majority of the attendees walk away with a smile on their face, already looking forward to the next one. 

I’ve witnessed my fair share of race events in Southern California, but I can count the number of successful race productions on one hand… actually, three fingers. 

SoCalTrail is one of them. As I walked to my car after last Saturday’s Tough Topanga 10k, not only was I beaming, but everyone around me was too. 

A solid trail race really comes down to the community that runs it and Daniel Weissauer understands that wholeheartedly. 

“We’ve been trying to build a community with the tour of LA that we’re doing. There are about 13 gatherings. We’re trying to make it accessible for everybody. Races can be intimidating. It’s not always affordable or in their budget. So, we’re putting on free organized runs. We mark the trails and a team of about eight run leaders come out. All different speeds. Those turnouts have been great with about 60 to 100 attendees, welcoming people into the group,” Daniel told LATF. 

Daniel and his wife Tina Weissauer are at the helm of the SoCal Trail race series. Both avid runners, Daniel started producing races around 2010. Essentially apprenticing with Generic Events, he realized that he had a knack for the industry. 

“I wanted to make my life all about running, so I offered to help out at the races and then got a job with them,” Daniel added. 

He gained plenty of experience with Generic, helping to produce XTERRA, Los Muertos 5k, Turkey Trot Los Angeles and other popular races. 

tough topanga trail race, socal trail race

Runners picking up their race bibs bright and early!

Now, Daniel and Tina are building their own race empire with SoCal Trail, produced with Blindhund Athletic Productions.

“We moved up to Topanga and found out about this race. It was a total grassroots race. We were out here and said ‘Let’s bring it back.’ The old race director wasn’t doing it anymore,” Daniel said. 

The husband and wife duo basically resuscitated the race event, bringing it back in full force. After overcoming the trials and tribulations of the COVID pandemic; suffering from price increases and reluctancy from runners to return, it was clear on the morning of Tough Topanga 10k 2022 that race registrations were no longer an issue for them. They saw 50% returning runners and even 50% new registrations. 

Over 240 runners from all walks of life and running speeds came out, whether it was for the Hiker’s Delight, the downhill flyer prize, a podium position or just the delicious beer and tacos. 

Fully immersing themselves in the event, Daniel was happily pouring free beers for the race finishers and congratulating each runner. 

Daniel Weissauer, tough topanga, trail race, socal trail race

Daniel Weissauer pouring beer for Tough Topanga finisher!

Since May and through to August, they are offering runners to join in on their Tour of Los Angeles, which includes group trail runs, course previews and races with incredible prizes. 

Next up, you can register for: 

  • Tough Mugu race course preview on June 26th (no registration required) 
  • Inspiration Point Trail Run on July 10th (no registration required)
  • Tough Mugu – 25k / 5-miler on July 23rd
  • Bulldog Ultra – 50k / 25k on August 20th
  • Follow for more races @SoCalTrail

The SoCalTrail race series can be a goal for a beginner or competitive runner. Train with local runners and build your endurance together. 

Daniel’s best training advice: run 10x for 20 second intervals at a slight incline. Do that twice a week.

As for 85 year-old John Williams, who has been running Topanga races since 1982, his secret to trail running for a lifetime is “Cold beer at the end and a small trace of insanity. A bit of insanity in the family helps.”

My advice: 

Come for the views, stay for the beer and tacos. 

Sign up at 

Jennifer Sunahara , altra, socal trail race, tough topanga

Altra Rep and runner Jennifer Sunahara featuring Altra’s styles with racers!

tough topanga 10k winners 2022, socal trail race

Tough Topanga 10k Winners

runners for public lands, tough topanga trail race

Vendors spreading the good word at the race!

tough topanga 10k, vfe massage

Massages on-site to work out those sore muscles!

john williams, tough topanga trail race, daniel Weissauer

Cheers to the next race! Daniel & John Williams

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