Basically the race starts in Galeton, PA, circles the town and then heads up a mountain . . . about 12 miles of constant, steady uphill. Then, it gets really steep uphill for about another 3 miles (here is a picture of part of that stretch.)
You crest the Denton Mountain just after mile 18 and then it is pretty much downhill for the last 8 miles to the finish in downtown Coudersport.
Ron Fleming and I met in Roanoke Rapids at 6:30 Friday morning and headed up to Pennsylvania. Would have been more fun if it hadn't rained the whole way! But we were still excited. Got to Coudersport at around 4:30, checked in at our motel and went directly to the fire hall for packet pickup and the pasta dinner!
And there I had my first big surprise . . . they didn't have my registration! Luckily there was still space in the race, but could you imagine driving over 500 miles and then NOT being able to race! I learned a valuable lesson . . . verify before you travel!
Up at 5:00 am and to the finish area to catch the shuttle bus at 5:45 am. Got to the Galeton High School and encountered my second surprise . . . they had NO porta'poties. The high school had one bathroom open with two stalls! Even this would not have been that much of a problem if the race had been "chip timed" . . . but it wasn't! So the line was REALLY long and I just made it out to hear the start of the race!
My third surprise was a good one! I managed to properly pace myself and handled the hill really well! I shortened my intervals to 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking. I did this until mile 15 when the hill got really steep. Then, I tried running some, but I pretty much walked the next three miles.
As I neared the top I actually saw a bear! And even got a picture with it!
Once over the top, I ran in high gear (for me!!) for the next 3 miles. Then, back to intervals to the finish.
A few Highs and Lows from this race
- High - This race had aid stations each mile! What a great idea! Seemed to make the miles go faster!
- High - A challenging course that many would avoid because it's hard. And it was a beautiful run!
- High - A nice cotton t-shirt. I still prefer marathon t-shirts to be cotton. I can buy tech shirts to run in.
- High - A fun trip with a good guy!
- Low - Super cheap, cheesy medal. Come on folks, you can do MUCH better then this!