This race is a BLAST! You must do it next year. The course is great. Not too technical, no roots, no creek crossings, some hills, but a lot of sand. I think I’m really starting to like trail running. Another plus, crazy trail running people, pretty cool. This course would make for a good training run, so GBRCer’s may see this come up this summer.
This is a Jeff Crumbaugh event so I knew I was in for a test. Jeff was the race director of the Kewaunee Trail Running Festival in Copper Harbor MI. It’s sad that Jeff is no longer offering the trail festival, but after 10 years he said it was time to move on. I had a chance to run two of the three races in 2008 and they were very challenging.
The marathon is a two lap course so you know what to expect. That means those nasty hills that you saw from miles 10 to 12 will torture you again at miles 20 to 24. Oddly enough, they were easier the second time around. I wish that I were a good enough writer to be able to explain how great this course really is. Beautiful woods, wetlands and grass trails. Maybe that’s why the big hills were easier the second time around, because I knew a some fantastic views were coming up.
• The volunteers. Since this is an Eco-friendly race there are no cups used at the water stops. You need to carry your own bottles and the volunteers fill them up for you. Good news is that they are very quick and efficient. Better news, they are great people. Since I was just here to run, not race, I spent extra time at the stops yakking with the volunteers and it increased my race experience. These were fun people. At one stop the vols told me that they would have KFC by the time I came around the second time, and I almost lost it thinking about fried chicken, but it was worth a laugh. Thankfully they did not have the chicken when I got back to them.
• The post race barbeque. You get a choice of Elk or Buffalo burgers and sides and cherry cider to drink. These guys know how to recuperate from a hard run, high protein and low fat and anti-oxidant drink.
• GBRC members at the race. I don’t expect this to happen too often on my Wisconsin marathon journey, having my GBRC family racing with me, but Ross McDowell and the Bill Noll Racing team were there to share the fun. It was fun having them there and sharing lunch with them. The Noll Racing team Dad Bill, daughter Rebekah, and sons Sammy and Isaiah each took first place in their respective races and divisions. Ross, the owner of Run Away Shoes ran the half marathon in Vibram Five Fingers. The longest he ran in them before was 6 miles, can’t wait until my VFF’s come in.
• All marathon finishers received medallions made by local craftsman John Wilson from sugar maple sourced from the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The top three in each age group for the marathon and half marathon received 1-pound blocks of from local Oak Grove Dairy cheese.
Also met Chris Drossier of Greenfield. Chris is an ultra marathoner. By no means famous, but a great guy to run with.
By the way, I did get a block of cheese for finishing 1st in the 50-54 year old group which I didn’t expect. After not seeing any old guys for the first two hours of the race I decided to speed up and see if I could place. Considering that I haven’t placed since high school I was really shocked to take first. I’m not counting on that happening too many more times.
Jeff Crumbaughs next event is the Keyes Peak marathon & 10k in Florence WI on June 19. Considering his track record, you may want to see if you can do this event. Unfortunately, I’ve signed up for all of my marathons through July so that race is on the 2011 or 2012 schedule.