Thursday, November 17, 2016

2016 Run Crazy Horse Marathon Race Report and Video

Here is Holly's Run Crazy Horse Marathon report with Dave's comments and video to follow:

My fellow 50 state crazy friend Michael had suggested this race for South Dakota. I hadn’t heard of it but it sounded like a good one to be able to see some more unique sites of the country. We had the race on the radar for a while and 2016 was finally the year we agreed to do it. Stan and Pam joined us for this one as well. They had been to the area before and were anxious to return. Dave is handling the pre race stuff, so I will just get right to the race.

We stayed in Hill City, SD, which is at the race finish. This is a point-to-point course and it starts at the Crazy Horse Memorial and runs down to the town of Custer and then you turn around and run back up the Mickelson trail to Hill City. It was a quick twenty-minute ride down to the start and we met Michael and Tara inside the Crazy Horse Memorial Center. I was having a bit of a meltdown. No a major meltdown. I’m not sure what it was, but I was not ready to run, and was rather grumpy. I think I was still remembering West Virginia a couple weeks earlier. I had some more leg issues since then and didn’t run much so I didn’t feel prepared, mentally or physically.

This was a small race, only 140 in the marathon. We walked outside at the last minute for the start. It was a beautiful morning, crisp blue skies and the memorial was our backdrop. We were soon off and running, down a huge hill and then up a bigger hill. This didn’t help my mood much. Also the surface was a dirt road with large rocks that you had to watch out for. We circled the memorial and were able to get closer than most visitors can get. We soon left the park area and hit the Mickelson trail and headed downhill to Custer. I was feeling good, we were going downhill and the trail was really pretty. Our cheer squad of Dave, Pam and Tara were doing a great job of tracking us.

We get to the town of Custer and turn around and start heading back uphill. It was uphill from mile 10-15. This is when I started to lose it. This race is also at elevation, 6000’ so I was really feeling it. I pretty much checked out around mile 13. Stan and Michael and our cheering squad were trying to get me back in the game, but I was pretty miserable. Finally we got towards the top of the hill and would now have a pretty much downhill route to the finish. Michael also broke out his portable boom box and started taking instant requests. This was a LIFESAVER. I have to admit when he said he bought one of these I was dreading it. I thought we would annoy people and also annoy me! But when he put on “Chicken Fried” and Stan and I started singing like crazy people, I was out of my funk. We had a really great time the last 10 miles. It was getting warm and we did slow down, but we were having fun. Our race chasers were doing a great job, keeping us supplied with water, oranges, cookies and popcorn.

We make it into to Hill City and ran into the finish line with the “Chicken Fried” song playing once again. So happy to be done and so happy to be able to run with friends who don’t give up on me and pull me to the finish. State 38 is in the books. Also a nice surprise was I won an Age Group Award. My first ever! 3rd place out of only 5 but I will take it! I would definitely recommend this as a great race. The scenery was spectacular and we were all surprised at how beautiful it was. Be ready for that uphill section and the rest will be fine. The medal is a great one as well.

Dave's Comments

Having the race start at Crazy Horse Monument worked out really well. We had clean bathrooms, a warm place to wait before the race, and we got to see the monument and museum. A new trend of mine seems to be missing our runners at the start line. They lined up left when I was on the right. We saw our runners three times while using the Crazy Horse museum for warmth breaks in between. The course was easy to navigate early with places to stop every mile or so to connect with the trail. In the town of Custer most businesses were seasonally closed but we did find a nice place for a coffee and browsed the local grocery store.
As we passed the half pulloffs were becoming difficult to find near the trail. Maps don't tell you the trail becomes elevated at points. We were a good thirty feet under the trail at one stop - no good. Another stop looked promising but it turned out to be a one way dirt road that took us way off into the forest. Finally we found some people on the main road watching runners pass as the trail went under the road. We stopped here and I went down the rocky incline (no cameras) to intercept and supply our runners.
Snack options were lacking. No food was available at Crazy Horse and the only places open were in Custer at Mile 10, then again nothing until the finish. We found ice cream and homemade chocolates in Hill City.
After the race we went to The Mangy Moose for lunch. We said goodbye to Michael and Tara as they were heading off for a few nights in The Badlands. Afterwards we did what we do best - tour breweries. First stop was Miner Brewing. They had a good variety on tap in a very pleasant setting. We spent some time out on the patio enjoying the pleasant weather. Our next stop was Sick-n-Twisted Brewing, which shared a space with Naked Winery. Sick-n-Twisted was in an old house and went for an eclectic cluttered design. We had dinner/snack at Bumpin' Buffalo on their last night of operation before seasonal close.
Here's the video


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