Saturday, October 18, 2003

Indianapolis Marathon (Indiana)

October 19, 2003
Marathon 27, State #21 (Age 35)
Indianapolis, Indiana



Sunday, October 12, 2003

Mt. Rushmore Marathon (South Dakota)

October 12, 2003
Marathon 26, State #20 (Age 35)
Rapid City, South Dakota

I had high hopes that this might be a course to attempt my personal challenge for a new PR.  I put in all my long runs and with the course appearing to be mostly downhill the marathon should be a synch.  Ends up the course although appearing to be mostly downhill had several very challenging climbs.  I ran hard for my first 15 miles and only 4 minutes off my planned pace, but after the extra effort I put forward in the first half of the race I decided to take it easy the second half.  Even though most of the second half is downhill, you can tell by my splits that I was tired.

The beginning of the race is 26 miles outside of Rapid City.  The marathon is a point to point route.  It is handy if you have your own support for a ride to the start line.  The parking at the start is off the side of the road and no central parking lot is available.   Free bus transportation is provided to the start line only.  No rides to the finish line will be provided.  After the race begins if you have your own ride your support team can jump in their car and follow you all the way back to Rapid City.   Most congestion on the route with the cars were in the first 10 miles. 

Aid stations are provided and positioned every two miles starting at mile two, and every mile after mile ten with water, Powerade, sponges, and minor medial aid.  Full medical attention and massages are available at the finish line.  Aid stations close after six hours (3 pm)

The Mount Rushmore International Marathon begins at 9:00 a.m. in a mountain meadow setting surrounded by distant pines.  With a seasonal wind from the northwest runners head southeast on an asphalt highway that ribbons through a stand of tall trees.  Although facing a slight incline, the runner soon realized that a gradual descent of over 2,100 feet will make this marathon a run of a lifetime.  What will become immediately obvious is the eternal presence of Mother Nature's finest scenery.  A brief, challenging climb of 150 feet in elevation caps the sixth mile and leads to a flowing descent of over 700 feet in elevation in the next six miles.  Between the sixth and eighth-mile markers, the route turns to the east and descent becomes more pronounced, as does the narrowness of the canyon highway cutting through the Black Hills National Forest.  In the area of the 11-mile marker, Rapid Creek makes its first appearance; only to disappear in the canyons and reappear around flowing bends.  Just beyond Big Bend, the creek is out of sight for the next eight or so miles, but the steepness of the canyon walls, cut by the ravages of a millennia of floods, entertain the runners until a slight rise in elevation of 150 feet challenges them in the 17th miles.  From then on the downhill run begins.  Over the next five miles, runners immediately descend 1,150 feet into the outskirts of Rapid City.  Entering Rapid City, runners pass through a Canyon Lake Park.  Then as a long city boulevard appears to dampen the spirits, a quick turn to the north puts the runner in the final stretch and across the finish line and reality.  Looking back, the runner sees the hills on the western horizon and knows no other course offers so much to experience while having a run of a lifetime. [Mount Rushmore Marathon Entry Flyer]

The "ups" and "downs".  From start to finish there is a net decrease in elevation of 665 meters (2180 feet).  Over the race course of 42,195 meters (26 miles, 385 yards), there is an elevation increase of 200 meters and a decrease of 865 meters.   The race route is "level" (+/- 2% grade) for 21,910 meters, "downhill" for 16,200 meters, and "uphill" for 4,090 meters.  Elevation begins approximately 5,577 ft and ends 3,281 ft.

Each entrant receives a commemorative long-sleeve t-shirt.  Each marathon finisher will receive a Mount Rushmore International Marathon Medallion.  Winners of each marathon category will receive Sough Dakota's original Black Hills Gold Jewelry, as will overall and master winners for male and female divisions.  Winning relay teams will receive a medallion for each team member, and a trophy for the team.  Marathon Categories:  Male and Female 19 & under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+.

Anywhere you can find a hotel in Rapid City is convenient for the marathon.  I had a wonderful experience and recommend the Best Western at 2505 Mt. Rushmore Rd. Rapid City, SD  57701.   877-666-5383  They provide rooms for $39.00 for queen and includes a deluxe continental breakfast.

There is so much to see in the area.  We climbed Harney Peak, (7,242) the highest mountain in South Dakota.  Of course there is Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Deadwood, and many many tourist attractions.   



Friday, October 10, 2003

Harney Peak, South Dakota (7,242)

15th High Point Visited
15th Highest State High Point
19th Most Difficult


"Amid much controversy in the state of South Dakota, the former Harney Peak is now officially Black Elk Peak, following a ruling by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names on August 11, 2016. That ruling will affect how the summit is named on all federal maps in the future"

Awaking at 4:45 a.m. in Columbus, Oh it's hard to believe that several hours later we would be a top of a mountain in South Dakota so far from home.  We stepped off our plane in Rapid City and felt the wind, at only 10 a.m. local time the mountain air was very chili.  I was excited to head to the mountains and make a late afternoon summit.

We drove past Mount Rushmore National Monument on the way giving us a glimpse of the famous mountain faces.  We continued up the road to our trail head at Sylvan Lake.  This beautiful lake welcomed us to the mountain trail.  Our climb was never strenuous and often seemed as if we were hiking downhill.  From across a valley we caught our first peek of the house on the summit.  The trail seemed to wind away from the summit, but before long we were already at one of the last forks in the trail before we started our summit push.

We hung our packs on a tree and took only a bottle of water and camera bag.  We past a couple that told us we were less than five minutes from the top, yet we couldn't see because of the dense trees.  Once we saw a small clearing and some stairs that headed straight up we knew we were very close.  It was great to see Homeyra's excitement for her first summit.

A large group of college aged hikers were spread across the summit area.  We explored the house on the summit and enjoyed the views in all directions.  As we soon noticed after the large group left we had the top of the mountain to ourselves.  Whoo hoo!

We picked a new trail downward and hiked around some rocks called the cathedrals.  We also were seemingly lost for a short period, it seemed as if our map didn't exactly match the new trail system.  I think we made and extra 1.5 miles by taking the new trail, but sights were worth it.  On the way to the hotel we stopped and visited Rushmore with a storm slowly rolling in and the temperature dropping.


Harney Peak (7,242), South Dakota - State Highpoint #15