Sunday, December 4, 2011

Northface Endurance Challange Championship

We weren't 100% sure of where we were going, but as we got close to where the finish was, we looked out the window at the hills and saw a steady stream of runners coming down a trail. They were in the final 5 mile stretch that went up over that hill from the Tennessee Valley aid station.

For those not familiar w/this event, on Saturday there are 3 distances: 26.2 miles, 30 miles, and 5o the hilly Marin headlands. On Sunday there are 13.1, 6.2, and 3.1 mile runs. Being the championship race of the series, it brought our all the "greats" of trail running. It was pretty amazing to be there and walk around recognizing people we see regularly in our Trail Runner mag.

If you make the hill pictures larger you may be able to make out the runners making their way down a long hill.

The finish area was pretty neat. Basically a large circle of tents, some vendors, sponcers, a med tent, ice bath tent, tent w/computers to look up your runners last check point/aid station location, a hydration tent, and a food tent. The middle of the area was filled w/tables and chairs and lots of grass to lay on.

We spotted these two right away. Sam and Jasmine, who are the Mr. and Mrs. behind Brazen racing. Super nice as always and gracious enough to allow for a picture. Sam ran the 50k, or 30 miler. He was up and moving like it was just another run. We spotted a few Brazen shirts walking around in the crowd, which is always neat!

We saw a lot of this sort of thing, but overall we were amazed at how good of shape the runners were after completing these distances in these hills. Most weren't even walking funny, although I suspect if we saw them today it may be a different story.

The above picture is pretty neat. That's Dean Karnazes in the Blue standing. He's congratulating his 13 year old son, bent over in blue, who had just completed his first marathon. Dean had finished running the marathon about 45 minutes before his son and had been awaiting his arrival.

So above we have our friend Ryan crossing the finish of his second 50 miler with a huge smile. Below he's with our other friend Ryan who was one of this 3 pacers. The other two had fell back a bit and crossed the finish together looking like they were pacing each other.
Can you imagine....50 miles??? From here they went straight to the beer garden.

And finally, the main event of the day.....which distance had a green bib you ask???

The above picture is just a picture of those amazingly lean legs on Dean. After already running a marathon, he lead the kids on the Karno Kids Run. It was a free event, lead by Dean. The kids got to run w/characters, had bibs, and got huge medals at the end.
He got right in there and talked to the kids about having fun being the goal, he high fived my 3...
So did Buzz....and then there's a lap in pictures because the announcer said, "if any of you parents want to run w/your kids, feel free to jump in here".....I have never thrown down my purse and camera so quickly!! Brian was laughing at me, but no way would I pass on a chance to run any where near Dean! It was pretty embarassing when I walked up behind Bubba and said "I'll run w/you", and he got mad and told me he wanted to run by himself. I convinced him he wanted me to run w/him. We started and my shoe came untied, so I pulled over and tied it, then had to sprint to catch up with Bubba, who really didn't want to run w/me, he was trying to catch Buzz and Elmo. Meanwhile, Dean was run/walking so that all the kids had a chance to "beat" I sprinted by him on my way to catch Bubba. (did you catch that...I passed Dean!!!) I resisted the urge to reach out and poke his leg, although I had been wondering what they feel like....has to feel like solid rock, right??
I caught Bub just as Buzz was carying him down a flight of stairs. Then we climbed up a hill and joined in the same course the big boys were running on and crossed the same big finish line and got....the same big medal the big boys were getting!! Well...not me....cuz it was a kids race after all......

It's not every day you get to run through the woods with Bigfoot!
Pretty amazing day! It was awesome to be there and see the finishers. It's hard not to catch the trail fever. Brian and I have agreed to a 2 year goal of running the 26.2 next year, and the 50k the following year. Possibly the 50 miler after that???? One thing is for sure, we will be jumping on it when registration opens as every distance from the 50 miler to the 5k sold out and has waiting lists.

1 comment:

  1. So cool! The grandkids did this race the next day - Dean and his group puts on a great race! Your kids look so cool in that final picture. (For the record, the kid's medal was larger than the adult's medal - A friend of ours did the 50 Mile race on Saturday and her son did the 1K both days.)

    The main courses are really tough, but I think I'm with you as far as trying to get into the Marathon. Maybe 50K. It was a stunningly well run event from what I hear.