We headed out on Friday for a short trip to Grand Rivers, KY for the Land Between the Lakes Trail Runs. I opted for the marathon, even tho the 50M, and 60K were quite tempting. They also offer a 23K.
Local ultra running legend, Christine Crawford holds the course record for women for the 60K. They pay $200 per year for setting a new course record. Each year that a new record is not set, they carry over the $200.
This year, they began also awarding $200 for new course records in all 4 events. (They used to only do it for the 60K.)
I thoroughly enjoyed telling people that I know the woman who holds the course record in the 60K. And Christine, BTW, you still hold the course record.
Grand Rivers is a charming recreation/resort area. Local shops and restaurants greet travelers in a land where people talk with lots of extra syllables.
Packet pickup was at the Grand Rivers Tourist Information Center. This was a room large enough to comfortably hold 5 people. We picked up my packet of cool swag (t-shirt, hat, draw string bag, HEED sample), and headed to Mr BBQ for a spaghetti dinner.
Mr BBQ offered a special $5.25 for spaghetti, bread and a salad. We opted for that, and sat at one of about 10 tables in the quaint hang-out. You could definitely tell the locals from those that traveled for the event.
All events started at the Lighthouse Landing Marina and Resort at 6am. We start with a 1.7 mile run down Highway 453 to the Canal Loop Trail which is in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area. The loop is 11.3 miles. The 23K does one loop, marathoners do 2, 60K gets 3 times around, and the 50 milers get 4. After your loops, head back to downtown Grand Rivers, and finish in front of the Tourism Center. At any point, you can drop down to a lower event.
There are 4 aid stations on the loop, which translates to about every 3 to 4 miles. The course is a single track, with a few hills in the second half of the loop. Footing was great, some roots, not rocky, a few creek jumps, a few muddy areas. Conditions were ideal - 40s, low wind, overcast. (In case you are wondering why overcast is ideal - with no shadows, overcast gives the best visibility of your footing.)
The first loop I was often near other runners, but not close enough proximity for chatting. On my second loop, I rarely saw other runners. So, it was me and my iPod and my thoughts. It was a pleasant trail run, but nothing particularly amusing to report. Saw a guy barf while on my first loop, but that's about it.
New course records were set for both the men and women in the marathon. John Nay of Columbus, IN ran a 2:56, and Amanda Stickel of Stoutsville, OH ran 3:31.
A new course record was set in the 60K for the men. Steve Vesbach of Muncie, IN gets to take home $1000, with a 4:26, breaking the previous course record of 4:46 set in 2004.
Christine Crawford's 5:07 in the 60K, from 2007 still stands.
New course records were also set for the men, in both the 50M and 23K.
After I finished, we had a quick snack at the community center, then back to the hotel to clean up, then we headed back to Wisconsin. We stopped at a TGI Fridays for a Jack Daniels burger. I swear, that was the yummiest burger I have had in my life. Had to make humming noises while enjoying it. Very happy tummy. Topped that off with a stop at a quick mart for candy circus peanuts. Downed those, and took a nap in the car. Good thing Bill was driving.
I would definitely recommend this event. This would be a perfect race for trail newbies. The gentle course, plenty of aid, and the option to drop down to a shorter event after any loop makes it a great introduction to trail running.