Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, October 26, 2012

24 The Hard Way 12 Hour Race: Course Preview

Tonight I went over to the pre-race dinner and packet pickup at 24 The Hard Way. The wind was still howling, but the course is sheltered from the wind well enough that it's not going to be as much of a factor as it would be in the open. It did warm up somewhat this afternoon, into the low 50s, with winds at 20 mph.

I saw Chisholm and he greeted me and thanked me for coming to his race. He told me about the course direction- clockwise, and suggested some areas to set up my table. I chose a spot next to another tent and just past a portapotty. I set up my little table there with the cooler. Chisholm said they have security out there during the night so people are setting up their tents and race gear the night before.

That was awesome, I didn't expect to have that option, and it will buy me an extra half hour of sleep in the morning. Awesome!

Also this nice couple, Dora and Ben, from Oklahoma, helped me carry my table, crate, chair, and cooler to my spot, which happened to be right next to their tent. They offered to put my stuff inside their tent overnight but I didn't have anything I felt needed to stay indoors.

I began a tour of the 1 mile loop course. It's well-marked, easy to figure out, and there are mile markers every quarter mile, but facing away from the direction you run, so that will help. The loop is technically 0.96 miles, it's a certified course on asphalt. There are several races simultaneously going on. There's a trail loop, and the road loop, and on both loops there are 12 and 24 hour races going on, plus a relay. You choose your surface and your fixed time to run. Nice options to have.

There is a big tent with the aid station and shelter, plus the timing station. And there are portapotties about every quarter mile along the course.

I like the surface. It's asphalt, and it's well-worn, but smooth. I love loop courses, too.

Arizona flag.

The loop runs through the aid station.

At the dinner, which was lasagna and cheese tortellini, both of which were good, I sat and talked with runners from South Africa, Belgium, Canada, California, and Connecticut. Actually the South African and Belgian runners were both transplants and live here now. Most of the runners are from Texas and Oklahoma, but there were a lot of other places represented. Good job, Chisholm. Word gets around.

The star-studded table behind us consisted of two of my long-time running heroes, Don Winkley and Mary Ann Miller, both accomplished multiday runners in their 70s. They've been at it for a long time and still going. Both are about the same age, 74 and 75 (or so).

After all that, I was ready to go back to my room and relax. The race gets my preliminary seal of approval, the "This course is MINE" smile.

I can't wait to get started!