Only four weeks after running Boston in 2010, one of my friends sent me an email about an upcoming event just two weeks away, The North Face Endurance Challenge. The two-day event included 50-Miler, 50-K, marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 10K, and 5K races. I immediately decided to enter the marathon despite telling the Cruisers that Boston might well have been my farewell marathon. The location for the Endurance Challenge was in near-by Algonkian Regional Park and I took the closeness of the location as an omen that I was meant to run it.
With what I thought was two miles to go, I was pleasantly surprised to see Bill and Chuck at the fourth and final aide station. And Chuck wasn’t just there to cheer me on; he was there to run me in!
Unfortunately, I’d been given wrong information at the previous aide station and I still had four miles to go, not two. Chuck talked and kept me entertained as we made it toward the finish line, picking off a few more runners as we trudged along.
I was able to finish strong with a time of 5:32:38 (12:41 pace)and with my arms in the air shouting, “I loved this course! It rocked!”
We were able to meet Dean Karnazes right after the race. He signed our copy of his book Ultra Marathon Man and chatted with us for a while. He said that he had gone out earlier in the morning for a short run (probably 30 miles).
While I was munching on my post-race burrito, we saw Dean and a group of kids run by doing their fun run. It was amazing to see his muscles ripple as he ran by so easily.
As we were leaving, we checked the board to see if I’d placed. At that point, I was the only person in my age group that had finished, so I was excited to see that I’d finished first. Luckily, I was able to pick up my award (North Face hat and water bottle) before we left, because we were so tired we didn’t want to drive back two hours later for the awards ceremony. In hindsight, I wish I had attended the award ceremony because it would have been so cool to go up on stage and receive my award from Dean Karnazes.
I was the 12th female to finish and finished 33rd overall. I was also the oldest female to finish, and the only one in my age group. It’s not hard to win your age group when you’re the only one in it!
Race shirts and socks weren’t given out until after the race was finished which proved to be a problem for me. I was so sweaty and gross that I didn’t try on my shirt even though they said I could. I didn’t realize it was a compression shirt until I got home and it was way too small for me. Oh and the socks… they were way too big for me! At least the bag fit. Ha!
If you’re looking for a well organized trail race, I highly recommend The North Face Endurance Challenge! There’s a distance for everyone, and the atmosphere is really great. I can’t speak for the other locations, but the DC course is beautiful, challenging, fun, and it rocks!
- What’s your all-time favorite race?
- Have you ever run a North Face race?
- Which running celebrities have you met? ~ Jeff Galloway, Bart Yasso, Katherine Switzer and Dean Karnazes for me.