Sunday, May 24, 2015

Medicine Bow Half Marathon Laramie, Wyoming Sunday, May 24, 2015 On Sunday, May 24, 2015 I race walked the Medicine Bow Half Marathon in Laramie, Wyoming. I arrived in Wyoming on Thursday and have experienced a lot of rain and some snow. The weather forecasters have been extremely accurate so far. The precipitation was forecast to stop by 3 AM Sunday morning and resume on Sunday afternoon. They were right; thus, the skies were sunny with little wind and the temperature varied from 32 to 40 degrees. The course is very challenging on a sand, gravel, grit, and dirt US Forest Service Road. It starts at an altitude of 8750 feet and drop to 8200 feet in the first 3 miles. The next 2.5 miles sees another drop of 100 feet while the course has ups and downs. The next mile climbs to 8500 feet where the half marathon turns around. The participants return over the same road and finishes at the start. I expected the footing to be very slippery because of all the rain but was pleasantly surprised to find that the grit mixed in with the sand and dirt made the footing good in most places. The road was open to traffic which for the most part was no existent as only 5 vehicles passed me during my journey. There is absolutely no housing or businesses on this section of the road. There was only one water/Gatorade/food station located just after mile 4 that was manned by two efficient volunteers and also used on the return trip just after mile 9. Everyone had to carry their own water bottle that could be refilled at the station. Absolutely no trash or clothing or anything was allowed to be discarded along the course. As far as I could tell everyone cooperated completely. If one needed a restroom while on the course, you were expected to use the forest. All of these rules were spelled out very clearly on the website and in the emails received before the event. The half marathon had about 60 participants. There were also a full marathon, a 50K, and a 5K which had a total of 90 additional participants. Every finisher in all the events received a nice medal. There were no overall or age group awards. This event has been held for 38 consecutive years and I also did the half marathon in 2013. I was sadden to hear that this might be the last year for the event as the race director for all 38 years has decided that he needs to stop and is having trouble finding another person to take over. I really enjoyed the two times I have challenged myself to complete this extremely tough half marathon course.

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