Monday, February 20, 2017

Hypothermic Half Marathon 2017, Race Report

photo credit, coach Tim MacKay

The coffee was hot.  
The smiles were lovely. 
The good-cheer overwhelmed. 
The hugs were warm.  
And did I mention the coffee?  
It was hot. 

These are the random observations of a nine time Winnipeg Hypo runner named Mike.

There were a few nasty puddles and the black ice along along Chancellor Matheson Drive was treacherous, but overall this year's Hypo was a grand success. This is the second year of the new Hypo course and it was a huge improvement from last year.

Last year I chose not to write about the event because it was distressingly poor. After years (decades) of successfully hosting the event at gorgeous Fort Whyte Centre it was moved to St. Norbert Community Club in South Winnipeg. Last year's event did not measure up to the previous standard in terms of overall enjoyment, food, and course. Not even close.  Runners voted with their feet and the traditional three waves were reduced to two waves, barely.  It did not bode well for the Hypo. 

Despite the freakish weather, this year's event was a remarkable improvement from 2016.  Race director Chris Walton and his merry crew listened and responded to the many suggestions from the running community. There was a new sense of professionalism in the air while last year it seemed amateurish.  

Here's a how I saw it... 
  • The new course is safer, more interesting, and much more 'runner friendly'.  There's still way too much side walk where runners get bunched up, but less so than last year. There is room for improvement here.
  • The police presence was outstanding while last year it was non-existent. The police presence is reassuring to runners and volunteers and adds to the professionalism.
  •  The volunteers were plentiful, and knowledgeable of running needs.  I recognized many stellar volunteers from or running community such as Bob and Julie Gold Steinberg, Junel Malapad, Rick Lecuyer, Oliver Valencia, Aldo Furlan, Gary Sutherland and many others.  These are dedicated runners who understand.  Their collective running experience is invaluable and their presence adds to the quality of the race. 
  • The pylons clearly delineated the running lane and kept us safe from oncoming traffic.
  • The City of Winnipeg was nudged into sanding the trail through King's Park at the last moment... and this is a significant feat! 
  • The results were posted within 24 hours.... not bad, but perhaps room for improvement.
  • The post-run food was way better this year and the coffee was hot (last year it was luke warm). Vegetarians and vegans would have been disappointed, but meat eaters were in heaven (do you really need sausage AND bacon?).
  • There were pace bunnies for all levels of runners ranging from TC to 1:50.  
  • The medal is cool and unique and the swag is practical (a backpack which I will donate to an inner city school).
Perhaps the best part of the Hypo is the training. The Hypo gives us a reason to get outdoors at 6PM in minus crazy temperatures with equally crazy windchills.  Eight weeks of training outdoors in dark winter conditions makes us strong and brings us together.  We run with other like minded 'crazies'. We develop incredible friendships and camaraderie.  We cheer novice runners until they feel part of the team.  We run outdoors when many are huddled around the warm glow of the television.  We have suckled heaven where others taste cinnamon buns and coffee. We are stronger in mind, body and spirit.

We are all that we can be.

Thank you Hypo, for this we are grateful.

I expect the Hypo will be back next year as it should.  It's a wonderful, mid-winter event that adds to the quality of our lives.  Winnipeg is a finer city because of the the Hypo and the many volunteers that turn the cranks and gears of community.  We are fortunate for this event and I wish the crew continued good success.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Saturday, February 11, 2017

We killed a bottle of scotch.



It's just a cup,  a plastic juice cup used in hospitals around the world. This one was stolen from St. Boniface Hospital palliative care the night before my father died. We killed a bottle of Scotch that night, a 24 ouncer of Balentine. We had been working on it for several days, but truthfully it wasn't our first bottle. We bought the first one on New Year's eve and kept the bar stocked to the end.

We killed the last bottle together on January 31, 2000 and I have the cup.

We sipped in silence and watched the sun slide below the yardarm of 1999.  I remember the fireworks and the warmth of the scotch. Mostly I remember the moment of quiet contemplation where silence spoke volumes. Love was in the air. Words were not necessary.  I think we were both overwhelmed with life, with just being. Scotch and silence became a panacea for the moment. As far as deaths go, it was perfect, fairytale-like my sister would say.

I'd arrive every day at 4:30 to the same greeting "Mike's here! Let's have a scotch." and we did, and we talked, and we sat in silence. And we apologized for past errors of judgement and laughed at the senselessness of life. We tossed around the meaning of life and finally agreed it is the pursuit of wisdom. That settled, it was time to let go, time to die.

The morning my father died I was with him, alone. He had passed and a nurse entered to fiddle with switches and knobs as I sat by his side. I spoke gibberish, telling her the light was bothering my father and if she could just turn it off he would be more comfortable. She was the mother of one of my students so I was trying to pull it together and be professional.  She approached me and dimmed the lights and then, unexpectedly she hugged me warmly and held me tightly. My gibberish turned to sobs, long guttural uncontrollable sobs.

And she held me.
And she held me.
And she held me.

I told this story to a friend this morning on a 20 km run through bush trail and side streets.  I'm not sure why, but in that moment it was the perfect story. When we run the talk turns existential as we question white light, theories of meta-physical existence and the human condition. As we run we develop incredible friendships based on trust and a willingness to let your guard down and show long shadowed vulnerabilities, flaws in character, hopes and aspirations, regrets and dreams.  We become human, we become at peace with ourselves.

Today was a sublime day to be alive.

Mike



Saturday, February 4, 2017

Running in the post-truth era




Love at the end of an era
Cause it's love at the end of an era
Wait for the night, for the light at the end of an era
Wait for the night, the light at the end of an era

In this life we keep moving

Strumbellas, End of an Era


Like many I am deeply disheartened in this era of post-truth.  The bloated angry face, the ridiculous orange combover, the hateful rhetoric, the spiteful tweets cause emotional distress. We feel visceral, physical pain. It hurts to the core to witness the dismantling of principled American values centuries in the making. America the Beautiful has become America the Wounded. We mourn the loss of decency and kindness. We are frightened for the future of our children. We are angry and we march, and we sing and we dance in defiance.

I desperately want to understand the mindset of Trump supporters some of whom are reading this very blog. I simply don't get it; how one can possibly support the hatred, the divisiveness, the mysongny perpetuated by President Trump? I want to understand, but I simply cannot.

The other day Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Maestro, Alexander Mickelthwate introduced a sublime evening of choral music at Westminister United Church.  He spoke eloquently of his frustration with the new world order, the era of post-truth, the era of Donald Trump.  Ever the gentleman, Mickelthwate could not bring himself to say the word so instead he spelled it aloud...

I do not understand the s.h.i.t. that is happening in The United States.

He then disclosed a pang of guilt for hosting the gorgeous New Music Festival in such troubled times... a hint of frivolity in desperate times.  He then rebounded passionately, angrily, and dismissed the guilt.

I paraphrases here...

No, this is exactly what we should be doing. Singing and welcoming cultures from around the world. Celebrating cultures joyfully and welcoming differences, and demolishing walls that separate us. Sing loud...

This was met with a thunderous ovation and set a glorious tone for the evening.  A tone of love, and hope, and humanity. The choirs sang loudly, their voices rising to the frigid  night sky. We were enveloped in a cozy blanket of truth and warmth. For the moment we surrendered to the beauty of choral voice in these troubled times, this era of post truth.

We need to move our feet when we pray. We must never stop believing in the spirt of humanity overcoming hatred.  We need to walk for peace. We need to run for humanity. We need to march for truth. Together we will regain our moral compass and the likes of President Trump will, in time, fade from memory.

In this life we need to keep moving.

These are beliefs of a runner named Mike.

I believe in goodness.

I believe in truth.

I believe in kindness.

I believe love trumps hate.

I believe it's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Sunday, January 15, 2017

These Old Bones

Big wheels keep on turnin'
Proud Mary keeps on burnin'
Rollin' rollin' rollin' on the river
Rollin' rollin' rollin' on the river

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Proud Mary



"these old bones" image courtesy Google search

All things considered, these old bones have done me well. 


I can't touch my toes to save my life. I can barely lift the bar over my head let alone adding dumbbells to the mix.  I'm lousy at hockey.  I'm too short for basketball. I swim like a brick. I was a pretty good catcher in my day and sailboarding and racketball were my strengths, but I fail at just about every other sport...

...except running

I remember high school football... okay, let's forget high school football... I was an abject failure.... but high school ping pong, that's another story.  I used to cut classes to climb the ping pong hall of fame ladder. I was that good ...in the mind of a grade nine, skinny geek, I was awesome.  

Sadly, I have come to the realization that I am in a perpetual state of recovery... recovery from knee aches, shoulder aches, toe aches, calf aches, arse aches, and aches I haven't yet discovered. The young have injuries too ... boo hoo (yes that's sarcasm with a sprig of envy)... and recover about three minutes later with maximum whining.  Curse the young ones! 

We experienced folks take more time to recover, to heal, to mend. We like our injuries to simmer on a low boil for at least two or three weeks. We come to depend on our beloved massage saviours (thank you Alerry) and equally revered physiotherapists (hi ya Stephanie) We are never fully healed, and we're okay with that cuz these old bones sustain us and they're all we have. There's always another pain just around the corner to replace the one from which we've recovered.  

It's as good as it's going to get, and we're okay with that because we have come to love our old bones with all their scars and blemishes.

Aging gracefully is a full time job.   If I were a car, my owner would be looking for a new one with less mileage, one with fewer breakdowns, and easier on gas.  If I were a toaster my owner would just pitch me and replace me with a sexier, skinnier, shinier model. 

We are among the fortunate ones for these old bones keep us rolling down the river. 

Thank you bones.  I have a few more excursions planned so please hang in there for another ten years. I haven't yet run a 100 miler, but it's on the bucket list.  And if you fail me I'll understand and I'll be thankful for the miles you've sustained me. 

I know I'm on borrowed time.  Thank you bones.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Notion of Do

Just do it.

Nike ad.

Nike's tagline is brilliant and almost compensates for their horribly offensive ad from 2012 where they mocked people with disabilities. The notion of do appeals to me. It suggests action and satisfaction. Do is gratifying. Do holds promise and hope for the future.  To do is to flourish, to not do is to languish.

The way I see it there are three interdependent principles to the notion of do: 1) Do Something. 2) Do it well.  3) Keep doing it.

Do Something
Choose an activity and just do it. I chose running many years ago because of its pure simplicity, its graceful elegance, and the sheer joy of spirit it provides. I also chose running because it's damn hard and humbling. It is wrought with failure and tough life lessons. Running is my do. It is joyful and paradoxically, it sucks. Over time I have learned to expect the suck and embrace the suck. It becomes part of the mystique of running, the joy, the satisfaction, the disappointment, the exhilarance.

I use running as a metaphor for activity. Just do something, anything.  Do something hard, something that makes you realize you're alive. Something that takes your breath away (literally and physically). Chose a do that makes your heart pound, makes your brows drip, makes you proud. Do something hard, joyful, and challenging.

'Hard' is relevant in terms of the notion of do. For some hard is just getting off the couch and walking around the block.  These are the brave ones, the ones who inspire awe; the ones that take a terrifying leap towards do. The obese who take a calculated first step, the depressed who writhe in invisible hurt, the physically challenged who roll through life smiling,  the sick who are determined to remain healthy and relevant for their families and friends. They lace up and do. These are the true role models.

Do it well.
Don't stop at do, learn to do it well. Doing it well promotes positive wellbeing and encourages us to improve, to not be satisfied with status quo, to become all that we capable of becoming.  My friend Bill Diel Jones once said "we race the way we train" an analogy for we live life the way we live.  We can live life in mediocrity and safety or we can live a life of trepidation and excitement. Learning to do it well means we accept our failures, we pick ourselves up, cry a little, and try again, and again and again.

Joanne Schiewe, hard to say, the late Joanne Schiewe was a consummate example of do it well. She became all of her being and then she tried harder and found untold potential.  She then climbed higher and tried harder, and climbed higher yet, and worked harder, and trained harder. She battled the insurmountable with courage and fortitude. She cried. She laughed. She achieved brilliance and then, ever so sadly, she died.

Our dear friend Jo, understood do it well better than anyone.

Keep Doing it.
At age 13 my son Max broke his arm while skateboarding. It was a serious break. His arm resembled a swan's neck and he was in significant pain. He was rushed to the front of the emergency cue and several surgeons were called to discuss options. He had lost circulation in his hand and the docs were worried he may lose his hand without emergency surgery.  They explained the procedure to his terrified parents and asked if we had questions. Shell shocked with the immediacy and fear we were mute. Max broke the pregnant pause with his personal question,

"When can I skateboard again?"

Fifteen years later we can laugh and analyze his intention with a clear mind. The takeaway from this unfortunate experience is passion. Skateboarding was his do and he gave it his all. He practiced endlessly on the streets and parks of Winnipeg. He could not imagine a day without skateboarding, a day without perfecting his passion.

The third do principle is perhaps the hardest. Keep doing it.  Never stop. Never settle for mediocrity. Be all that you can become.  Become better at your do.  Work hard to perfect your do.  Witness your self-esteem flourish.

I think of our friend Natalie Pirson and Joanne Schiewe and revel in their determination to be all they can become. I think of others, the invisible ones, the silent ones, the ailing ones who take a timid step forward. Who move forward with strength and dignity. They are the brave.

They do, they do it well, and they do it forever.

If you haven't yet set a new year's resolution might I suggest you do.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I miss Jo

... where I saw the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time...

Gord Downie, Tragically Hip, Bobcaygeon (Phantom Power, 1998)

Photo credit, Chris Wattie, Globe and Mail/Reuters December 7, 2016


The memory of Jo lingers. I am at loss. I remember her blog... Run to Eat All the Time..it's how we met. We talked blogs and one conversation led to another and another...I see Jo whenever I run. I see her spirit and she laughs. I see her enormity and I am in awe.  I see her loveliness and I am gratified.

Soon we ran, her to eat all the time, me to revel in the experience of Jo. She a youngster, me an old man.  She didn't see my age.  She challenged me to run faster, to be strong, to suck it up buttercup, to be the finest I can be.  That was Jo, tough as nails and a smart ass like nobody's business. 

We laughed and cussed and told off colour jokes. That was Jo, all off colour and irreverent. She just didn't give a damn what people thought of her... she just did while I squirmed and considered consequences, and worried, and hemmed and hawed.  

I learned from Jo. She taught me to be myself and be happy with that, for that's all I have to offer, myself. Be happy.

Jo loved my blog sign off, it's a good day to be alive.  She liked that and that makes me happy, even now. 

I remember the chatter, the endless chatter, and the smile, and the cutting wit. I remember the running, miles upon miles of running through trails, cold streets, happy times.  I remember her laughter, her irreverence, her toughness.  I remember her smile. 

And the stories, I remember the stories. Oh my goodness, the stories, the endles stories! 

And she laughs. 

I miss Jo. 

It's a good day to be alive.

Photo credit Facebook

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Those Rascally Turtles. What are they up to now?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Meade


Those rascally Turtles, what are they up to now? 

I have a friend who cycle-commutes to work everyday all year, regardless of the weather.  When asked why he does this he replies casually "I'm just trying to change the world" and then adds without a hint of sarcasm or spite "Why do you drive your car"?  

I thought it an odd response, but in reflection it speaks precisely to the Meade quote above. We all have it in ourselves to make the world a better place, to improve the quality of life, indeed to change the world. It is a series of small, thoughtful acts of kindness that make this tired old world spin smoothly. 

So I started using that line when asked why I cycle or run to work,

"I want to change the world" and then I would add "and besides, it makes me feel good".

That's what our friends the Turtles want; nothing short of changing the world and feeling good in the process.

The Turtles are a group of trail runners that meet several times weekly to run city trails and country trails. They may call themselves Turtles, but in reality they're a pretty serious group of experienced ultra-runners. They love life like no others, they exude positive energy, and they spread joy to all those who share the trails. 

A few founding Turtle members were running at Garbage Hill the other day and noticed the unsightly trash in the tall grass along the many trails.  The hill is named for the garbage below the surface, not the stuff on top!  They have organized a "Un-garbage Garbage Hill" campaign for Sunday, November 27, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Facebook event page is here and their message is below.

Please come and support this campaign of love and kindness. You too can change the world and feel great in the process.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Garbage Hill unsightly trails.

Calling all runners & lovers of Garbage Hill! 

Winnipeg's hill training capital is a disgrace. Many members of our community spend multiple hours pounding out the miles on the road & trails at the, currently very aptly named, "Garbage Hill". As you can see from the cover photo, there are some who do not seem to appreciate the importance of this special Winnipeg spot & have chosen to litter freely. We invite you to come for a run & help us clean up the hill before the winter weather sets in & we have soppy trash in the spring.

Come for an hour or the afternoon, but please come.

Please bring:


  • family, 
  • friends, 
  • garbage bags, 
  • disposable gloves
  • a winning attitude!

To any truck owners who would be willing to haul away filled bags, that would be great!
Please share, share, share!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

An open letter to Councillors Scott Gillingham and Cindy Gilroy

Dear Councillors Gillingham and Gilroy;

I am writing on behalf of hundreds of Winnipeg runners who train year round on Winnipeg streets and trails.  Perhaps you've seen us; we're on the roads at 6 AM, we run through blizzards and squalls, ice and heat, sunny ways and foreboding skies.  We are your average Joes and Josephines, we were at ground zero of the Boston Marathon bombing, we are ultra marathoners, we run in wheelchairs, we are Ironmen, we run to lose weight, we are survivors of cancer and strokes, we run to be sane in a complicated world. We believe all days are good for running, some are just better than others.

Part of our training includes weekly hill workouts.  Hill training builds strength, endurance and prepares us psychologically for the challenges ahead.  It's hard to find a hill in this neck of the woods, but fortunately the old city dump, Westview Park, affectionately known as Garbage Hill, is the 'go to' hill for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of outdoor enthusiasts.  Garbage Hill is a diamond in the rough and has significant potential as a year round mecca for active Winnipeggers.

There are seven elements to Garbage Hill (see here).  I draw your attention to the most common element, the Loop.  The Loop measures 0.8 km from the south gate, 'loop' around the cul de sac on top of the hill, and return to gate (see photographs below).


Garbage Hill, The Loop 
(approximately 0.8 km)
Start at south gate.
Round corner facing east.
Up the straight, due north.
Round the cul de sac at the top and return to gate.

The Loop is virtually inaccessible to pedestrian traffic in winter months because it remains unplowed for months on end. It's especially treacherous in the spring season with the the endless freeze-thaw cycle rendering the hill dangerous let alone inaccessible.  This is unfortunate because many outdoor enthusiasts train year round for spring running and walking events including our very own Manitoba Marathon, Winnipeg Police Services half-marathon, and the Spruce Woods Ultra-marathon.  Many others just like to meet up with friends to "pound a few hills" before meeting for a beverage and bite at a local establishment.  

Westview Park straddles the boundaries of Daniel McIntyre Ward and St. James Brooklands Ward. As councillors with shared responsibility of Westview Park you are in a position to improve the quality of life for many. 

This blogger respectfully asks you to consider plowing the Loop portion of Westview Park with a sidewalk plow with the same frequency to plow other sidewalks in the vicinity. This would make the Loop accessible year round and would greatly speed up the spring melt along the entire roadway.  

Winnipeg is a winter city. Our citizens are hearty and we embrace the cold. Plowing a 0.8 km strip of Garbage Hill is a small price when compared to the health benefits and the sheer enjoyment of citizens who access the hill year round.  Garbage Hill is Winnipeg's Kilimanjaro, our little bump in the middle of the finest city in Canada. 

In summary:
  • Garbage Hill straddles Daniel McIntyre ward and St. James Brooklands Park.
  • Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts including runner, walkers, families, tobogganers, cyclists, dog lovers, and many others access Garbage Hill year round.
  • The Loop is a 0.8 km section of the paved roadway and is the most common element of the hill.  
  • This blogger requests City of Winnipeg plow The Loop with a sidewalk plow at the same frequency sidewalks are plowed in the vicinity of Garbage Hill. 
  • It's a good day to be alive.
Please reply at your convenience. Your letter(s) will be published on See Mike Run as a follow up to this post. 


With Respect,

Mike

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Beer Can Angel

Calling all angels, calling all angels
Walk me through this one, don't leave me alone
Calling all angels, calling all angels
We're tryin', we're hopin', we're hurtin', we're lovin'
We're cryin', we're callin' 'cause we're not sure how this goes

Jane Siberry - Calling All Angels Lyrics 

Photo Credit Heidi Hunter of Runs With Scissors
Forgive me, another angel post.

Dino is a lone wolf, a middle aged Wolseley woman, a character with short curly, faded red hair. She watches the neighbourhood and searches the alleys and riverbank for lost cats and dogs. She's a weed pulling pop-up gardener, a flyer delivery girl, and a blue bin scavenger.  Social assistance provides her with the bare necessities while beer cans allow for indulgences. She ekes a meaningful existence, however humble.

Dino is invisible to most.  She tends to lurk in the background and eye contact is difficult for this angel. She will talk, but minimally so.  Dino has an intellectual disability and speech is difficult.

I first noticed Dino many years ago while walking my pretty Annie early one morning. She was deep in the bush in front of Laura Smith School, hidden from all except those who choose to see.  I noticed her red head bobbing among the bushes.

"Good morning" I said, "what are you doing?"

"I'm pulling the weeds" she replied with a tinge of impatience as though I had missed the obvious, and went back to work.

I thanked her for her good work and continued on.

And there I would see her day after day, month after month, year after year. Pulling the weeds in Wolseley public spaces, Laura Secord School, Wolseley School, and others. No matter how rushed I was, I always stopped and commented on what a good job she was doing and I thanked her for her work.

"Our neighbourhood is more beautiful because of you." I would say.

"K, thanks" she replied shyly and continued weeding.

She was uncomfortable with the compliment. but secretly, I know she liked it.  I continued to thank her whenever our paths crossed.

"Thanks for making our neighbourhood beautiful.".

"K, welcome".

I commented on one occasion that I hadn't seen her pulling weeds at Laura Secord school for quite a while.

Dino replied, with typical no eye contact, "They asked me to stay away because I was scaring the children.".

"Scaring the children? What do you mean?" I asked.

She explained some parents complained their children were frightened by her presence.  To the parents she looked unkempt (my word) and suspicious, always in the bush, crouched down and hidden from view. Invisible to all but those who choose to see.

What a wasted opportunity.

Instead of welcoming her into the school community they reacted to unfounded fear. Instead of seeing a model citizen for students to aspire towards, they saw a threat. Instead of showing compassion, they showed intolerance.  They failed Dino. They failed the children. They failed our community.

Thus is the life of the beer can angel.

Calling all angels,
Walk me through this one
Don't leave me alone...

Last August I found Dino curbside rummaging through my blue bin.

I approached her and asked "What are you looking for?"

Startled, she backed away from the blue bin, afraid I was angry with her, fraid I was going to yell.

I told her "It's okay, I am just curious, what are you looking for?".

"Beer cans" she replied "They're worth 10 cents a can."

Choking on the words, 10 cents a can, I asked if it would help if I separated the beer cans and hid them from view in front of my car on Sunday evenings, the night before recycling day. Our little secret.

"K, that would be good, thanks" she replied

"It's my way of saying thank-you for pulling the weeds and making our neighbourhood beautiful".

And if a ten dollar bill happens to fall into the beer can container, so be it.

Dino, the beer can angel, now gets my beer cans, 10 cent each, ten will get you a dollar.

I think of Dino as I run and I consider all the good she does and how she is invisible to all except those who choose to see.  I think of Dino, the pop-up weed pulling gardener, the blue bin scavenger, the flyer delivery girl, the cat rescue, dog loving, beer can angel, and I smile.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hecla Half Marathon Race Report by Andrea Richardson Lipon

Thanks very much to Andrea Richardson Lipon for submitting this race report of the inaugural Hecla Island Half-marathon.  It sure sounds like a successful event!  

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Andrea Richardson Lipon
The Hecla half marathon was the first of my back to back half marathons.  I questioned myself; does this make me full on crazy?  No one really needs to answer that. 

The Hecla half marathon was the largest running race in the Interlake and the first time the race was “run”.  Right from the beginning, the correspondence from the race director to the participants was great.  Race pick-up from available in the city or on Friday or Saturday, it was all seamless.

The race course was an out and back and just gorgeous.  I had never been to Hecla before and I was amazed by the beauty.  It made the feeling of lungs burning that much more enjoyable.  The course was nicely marked, you really couldn’t get lost.  😉

There were just the right amount of aid stations and porta-potties.  Coming from someone with a defunct colon, porta-potty placement is key!


There was a part that was around the lake possibly around mile 5-6 and it literally felt like it was uphill both ways.  It was a great challenge, but once again surrounded by beauty!


The “trail” part of the race was the last 2km.  This was the fun part!  There was this part where it was loose stones…..not even gravel…… and it was so close to the end.  I remember thinking….. “I don’t have time for this in my life”……hahaha meant lovingly of course……..we were warned about this last part before the race started.  But still, who really listens to that?


It was a great race, a great venue and the organization and the volunteers were top notch!  They did run out of wine, but we were warned about that before the race started.  I mean how can you go wrong?  Free wine. Free Massage.  And great food……..and surrounded by beauty.  I can’t wait to see how they build upon this for next year!

Race Report by Andrea Richardson Lipon