Almost Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney.
This was a four miler. I saw the map and I figured it would be a flat course. I had no idea we would run almost 400 vertical feet in the first 1.25 miles and then pass Gobbler’s Knob. Usually this course is buried in snow. It must be treacherous.
But the course was absolutely brutal. The initial hill was endless, well it wasn’t a hill, it was a climb up a Laurel Mountain Ridge Line, starting at about 1,221 feet and peaking at 1,602 feet. Most of the climb was very steep, it stopped some people in their tracks. It’s the toughest hill in any race that I can remember other than the Dirt Monster Five Miler, but that one wasn’t near as long.
It was a small crowd. Mostly young, mostly hard-core runners. There were two fast walkers and they were very fast.
Again, late registrants got NO RACE SHIRTS! Please plan better for god’s sake. Not having enough shirts will save you a few dollars for your cause, but not keeping the sacred commitment of rewarding all runners with shirts is not cricket and will force me to put this race on the ‘Not Recommended List’
Also thanks to the early finishers for drinking all the water before we could get there, on possibly the warmest January 31st in recorded history. Other people exist, the slow people. You don’t need to drink nine bottles of water and leave none for everyone else.
I paced with a younger guy for the last three miles. I was trying to stay ahead of him. He swore he would get me next year. I swore I would be thinner.
The downhill was pretty steep. We had to dodge cars the whole way. The police car that I think was doing the tail actually went past me, so it was pretty nerve-wracking with cars flying past us on a rural mountain road.
I ran as hard as I could on the downhill. I made up some time, but not enough to have a good time.
A young lady and her dude caught me at the 3.75 mile mark and I had nothing left. They started walking in sight of the finish line so I yelled to them: ‘Start running! Don’t embarrass me!’
At which point they crossed the finish line ahead of me.
All in all, it was an odd day. I did get the perfect parking space in front of the old hotel.
It was interesting to see the tourists who had arrived in Punxsutawney for the big day. It was a very long drive for me though. I may try West Virginia, Kentucky or Western New York next time.
Peace be the Botendaddy.