GARDNERS Pennsylvania, April 6 2014
In 2013 I ran a half marathon six days before the Bull Run Run 50 miler. The Run for the Animals turned out to be one of my favorite races ever – the course was great, the volunteers were friendly, the cause was righteous, the post-race food and music were outstanding, I set a half marathon PR and got an age group award. There was no feature of that race that was less than top-notch.
Since I believe in doing what works, and I attributed my much-better-than-expected performance at BRR 2013 to my experience at the RftA, I decided to run a half marathon six days before the 2014 BRR as well.
I strongly considered going back to Onancock to run the RftA again, but it’s a little too far for a day trip and staying overnight for a mere half seems a little excessive.
So I chose this charming little trail half instead. It was still a couple hours drive, but that is easily day-trippable.
I enjoyed the race. The course abutted the Appalachian Trail; I’m not sure whether any of it actually joined up with the AT or not. There was more delta-z than I expected, some 1600 feet of gain according to my GPS record. The organization was impeccable. I am a little late in writing up this report, so I may be mixing up the post-race spread with some other event’s, but in my memory there was this outstanding vegan curry that really hit the spot.
I don’t have much to say about the actual running. The aforementioned delta-z caused me to walk a fair bit of the course. A shamefully large bit, it must be said. The trail was beautiful, though, and the weather was great. I did my share of passing, I did my share of getting passed. Near the end of the course, in the last mile, I sloshed through a small stream and started climbing a good-sized hill. About three quarters of the way up I heard something behind me and looked back to see a woman determinedly hiking the rise. I got the feeling she had it in mind to pick me off before the finish, and I picked up the pace to stay ahead of her.
This turned out to be a challenge.
I wasn’t sure how far we had left to go, so I was hesitant to go all out, but I kept hearing footsteps closing the gap behind me. Finally I came off the trail onto the road leading back to the finish, and I felt comfortable starting a strong kick. I held a good pace through the finish and held off my rival by four seconds.
This race was great, but all-in-all I think I’d rather do the the RftA again. Maybe I’ll make that trip again next year.
Miles this race: 13.1
Miles raced this year: 105.8