26.2 miles 4:50:09
0-7 miles avg 10:14/mi pace
This was the first inaugural South Park marathon near Fair Play Colorado. For my friends outside of Colorado yes South Park is a real place although it’s more of a ghost town and museum but Fairplay looks and feels like might imagine from the cartoon. The race started at 10000ft and ran up on the dirt roads out of town from the profile it looks like we spent all of about 15:00 below 10000ft. The dirt roads were pretty easy to run on but they kept climbing up an up as we approached the mountains. The clouds in the distance looked angry so I took my jacket with me which felt too warm almost immediately. I wore my jacket for about 3 miles and then around my waist for the remainder of the race but it was more of a precaution in case it rained or snowed.
7-14 miles avg 13:33/mi pace
Turning off the dirt road we got our first taste of trails around mile 7 and it was hell. It had rained most of yesterday and this trail was a sloppy mess. Running was impossible even walking in the slick mud was a chore as my shoes collected huge amounts of mud. Lucky the mud pit was relatively short and then we had some nice jeep trials followed by only downhill in the first half of the race. After horseshoe gulch we again hit the dirt roads for more steady climbing towards the turnaround on top of peerless mountain. The higher we climbed the more snow we encountered and remember its June. The race director spent hours shoveling a path though some of the snow drifts which was really awesome. Near the top it seemed we were only running on snow drifts that that stretched forever. At one point I fell through the snow waist deep and had to pull myself out by my arms… burr. Eventually I hit the turnaround at 12200 ft, the race organizer had originally planned on going to the top at 13000 but the snow forced them to change the route.
15-20 miles avg 10:04/mi pace
I was pretty happy to turn back towards town also get some downhill running. Up top it was too steep to even run at times and the snow and ice didn’t help either. I fell pretty hard on my hip when my feet went out from under me while walking down what looked like a waterfall. From then on I just took my time and safely navigated myself off the mountain. The dirt road was a much more manageable grade and I actually clocked 4 miles of sub 9:00/mi pace between miles 16-19. That was a ton of pounding on my not so fresh legs. Last weekend I ran the steamboat marathon that has a lot of downhill running. I was actually happy for the 1 mile uphill coming up which was the only significate climb in the second half of the race.
21-26.2 miles avg 10:07/mi pace
Back through the mud pit but going down it wasn’t so bad. My shoes still collected 5 pounds of mud each but I was able to run the entire time. Running on the dirt roads back into town was a lonely but neat experience of its own. I had beaten the mountain and was almost home. I pushed as much as possible but the small ups and downs really had me exhausted. Also for some reason I was really dehydrated, I thought I was drinking a lot of liquids. Finishing the race was cool, there was no fanfare but that made it even more special. I was doing this for me and me alone which I guess means I really love these tough trail battles.
Here are a few shots of South park. the race stated at the gate also notice the goats roaming the town
|The mud pit|
|First view of peerless|
|Shoveling this out took the RD hours and cost him a nice sunburn|
|Is this a trail or a waterfall?|
|So much snow. Soon after taking this pic is where fell though the snow|
|Town is way down that way somewhere|
|AThis mountain was across the valley and made the one I was climbing look like an ant hill (it’s the lower slopes of Mt Sherman)|
|Those clouds were threating to rain the whole day, I did get a few sprinkles.|