Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Mesa Falls Half Marathon
Saturday, August 28, 2010
On Saturday, August 28, 2010 the Mesa Falls Half Marathon started near Ashton, Idaho at an elevation of 5746 feet with a temperature near 50 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, and 10 to 15 mph winds. The first 0.3 miles were a steep downhill on a highway, followed a very steep 50 foot loose gravel downhill path to an ATV trail. I started slowly to let most of the aggressive runners get ahead so I could use common sense on this dangerous part of the course. It worked out fine as I arrived safely on the ATV trail with only a few people near me. The ATV trail was almost 4 miles of gentle downhill with two parallel tire ruts to serve as our trail. My conservative strategy paid off as I had one of the ruts to myself for almost the entire 4 miles. I needed to pass a couple of slow runners and about 8 runners needed to pass me on the trail. It worked out wonderfully. At mile 4 the trail came to the road where the rest of the race held. Between mile 4 and 7 was a steep uphill that gained 300 feet of elevation in 2.8 miles. After mile 7 the course was a gentle downhill with one short 50 steep uphill near mile 8 that went through wheat and potato fields and offered a view of the Teton Mountains off in the distance. There was a fierce thunder storm about 5 miles off the course and fortunately stayed away from the participants and the race itself. The race finished in the little town of Ashton, Idaho at an elevation of 5253 feet. Water/Gatorade stations were located approximately every 2 miles and were manned by plenty of enthusiastic volunteers. A few police patrolled the roadways which were open to traffic; however, traffic was very light. There were only a few spectators most of whom were in Ashton near the finish line. The race shirt was the best I have ever received as it is a quality polo shirt with the race information embroidered. It made a very nice shirt to wear on the airplane ride home. The finisher’s medal was actually made of wood but surprisingly was rather nice. Each finisher received ticket for a delicious Huckleberry Shake at the local old-time drug store 4 blocks from the finish line. The event had about 200 marathoners and 400 half marathoners. It was challenging, very well organized, and fun to do.
The Mesa Falls Half Marathon marked a milestone for me in my marathoning career. The Half Fanatics club to which Gerda and I belong has grown to 520 members in 13 months. I am the second person in the club to reach level 10, The Sun, which is the highest Fanatical level. I also belong to the Marathon Maniacs which has 2811 members of which 53 has reached the highest Maniacal level, level 10, Titanium, and includes me. I am the first and only person in these two international organizations to reach level 10 in both.