1. Packet pickup/Start-Finish/ Race Festival: we got there late afternoon Saturday, so we went right to the start line where the Gore-tex 50 Miler was in full swing and picked up our stuff there. Everything ran so smoothly. We grabbed our bibs and signed up to have our shirts custom screen printed (to say 10k since that's what we were running) and then hung out and watches some of the Ultra runners come it. After we ran our 10k on Sunday we grabbed some delicious food (cheeseburgers!) and hung out in the sun, just enjoying everyone and everything. It was a very well run and laid back experience and I loved it.
2. T-shirt: Well it was customized to our race distance so that was awesome. Plus it was made of recycled materials, fit true to size and is super soft. So it was an all around win.
3. Course/Support: I'll admit that I was worried. I trail run a lot. I also get lost a lot, which when you are on your own is no big deal since it's not like you are being timed. I was really concerned that I would get lost, miss a turn and then not finish the race in the 2 hour time limit. I shouldn't have been worried at all. The course was extremely well marked, so I was never in danger of missing a turn. The volunteers who were handing out water at the turn around were great, and sporadically along the course there were medics and other volunteers cheering us on.
4. Trail/Views: This was the biggest plus for me. I get bored when I run on the road, and love running trails, so any opportunity to race in the mountains is instantly a win. This trail was great- it was definitely technical, but by no means impossible. There were valleys, views, waterfalls, mud to jump in, streams to cross and hills to climb and scramble down. I had a blast.
5. Pictures: the on course photographers were great and I got a ton of pictures that I think came out great. Including the ones of me crossing the finish looking like I might die right there.
Like I said, I loved it enough that I immediately registered for the 10k in Ontario in July and I'm eying races in other locations, trying to figure out if they are do able. If you get the chance to run a North Face Endurance Challenge Race, you should definitely do it!
My thoughts on the race are pretty straight forward. I loved it. I loved the whole weekend. Before the weekend was over I had already signed up for the next Endurance Challenge event in Ontario. Instead of a big gigantic post, I'll just outline all the best parts.
All The Crooked Saints
By Maggie Stiefvater
Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.
Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.
At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.
They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.