Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ironmaster's Trail Runs

[image credit Gary...more on this photo later]

On Sunday I did something I've never done: deliberately registered for and ran a 25K trail race instead of the 50K, in recognition of the fact that my training was insufficient to comfortably finish the 50K.  

In other words, where formerly I would have programmed for success and run "up" instead of running "down," I opted for the common sense version.  

The event was a series of simultaneous trails runs/walks (50K, 25K and 15K) at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in south-central PA, called the Ironmaster's Challenge.  See, this area was a major iron-making site in America's early days, triggered by a fortuitous combination of iron-bearing ore and plenty of trees for charcoal-making.

I must say that this race was great--I loved it and definitely will come back.  Lots of good people, superior post-race food and drink, and a fantastic location.  My advice for anyone in driving range: DO THIS RACE NEXT YEAR!

My general goal was simply to spend a pleasant morning running for about 4 hours in the woods.  Goal accomplished.  However...along the way--either by poor signage, or tampered-with signage, or runner error--the group of about 20 runners of whom I was a part, went off course on the 25K race.  We kept seeing 15K and 50K signage but none for our race, the 25K.  I've been "lost" on a trail before, but this was my first instance of being off-course and being so far past the last known point that it was smarter to proceed than to backtrack.  Net effect was a loss of perhaps 1K.  

I'm eagerly awaiting the results and any explanation from the RD.  But since I knew I was off course and probably ran short, I didn't even bother with checking the results board since I knew my time was tainted.

Which brings me to the photo above: this was taken along PA Rt 233 on the way to the race.  Little did I know how prophetic it would be, imagining that the 3 "babes in the woods" were actually rookie Ultrarunners.  Turns out the real story was infinitely more tragic: three murdered children 80 years ago.  Link here.

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