Woke at 5:00 am to thunder and pouring rain. Would anyone show up for the Wild Duluth Fat Ass 50K/100K? http://wildduluthraces.wordpress.com
Dressed in several layers, found my rain gear, packed up wool hat and mittens and some food for the day, fed the dog, loaded him in the car and headed for Bayfront Park - meeting place for 50k runners. It had stopped raining but it was too dark to see what the skies had in store for us.
Arrived at Bayfront where one car was waiting - Phillip Gary Smith had driven up from the Cities to participate. We chatted and waited for the Holaks to arrive, then waited and chatted some more to see if anyone else was coming. Had the thunder scared everyone else off?
After a decent interval we loaded up into the two "aid" vehicles and headed to Chambers Grove Park for the start of the run. At the park we met up with one other 50K runner (no 100K this year) and our field was set. Everyone would win top honors in their respective age groups and there looked to be a race for overall men's winner ;-> All the runners were veterans of ultras: Kim Holak; Phillip Gary Smith and Rick Kucinski.
The start was set for 7:00 am but we ended up waiting a few minutes longer for the sun to rise. As the sky lightened we could see that the clouds were breaking up and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day to run the Superior Hiking Trail through Duluth.
(At this point I realized I had forgotten my camera, so no pictures from the start)
Due to the special firearms season runners were decked out in blaze orange and would remain so until reaching Magney-Snively and being firmly within Duluth City limits for the rest of the run.
The runners headed out and Andy and I took off to set up the first "aid station" along Hwy 210 where the Grand Portage trail crosses the highway and runners would first set foot on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT). Andy and I cooperated in providing a roaming aid station: one of us would stay until all runners had come through while the other took off to meet runners that had already passed by. This worked pretty well, as long as we kept on eye on the time and ensured one of us headed out in a timely manner.
By now the skies had cleared and it was looking to be a beautiful day. Porter and I enjoyed hanging out along the trail and it was nice to have time to read and knit in daylight.
Kim was in the lead and remained so throughout the day, looking strong every time I saw her. The guys stuck together for much of the race and I was wondering if there would be a sprint to the finish!
Made a mad dash home to grab my camera before meeting Kim at an aid station. Photos!
Kim coming into the "aid station" at 24th Ave W.
Heading towards Enger Park
Kim, leaving Enger Park, heading towards Bayfront
Kim coming into the finish.
Rick leaving 24th Ave. W.
Phillip coming into 24th Ave W.
Ultra runner glimpsed through the trees (I was on my way home via the SHT - benefit of living just off the race course).
At this point I had been "released from duty" and Porter and I enjoyed a walk along the trail taking in the fall colors and last of the flowers.
Selective Focus: Matt Kania
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