|The GPS trackfile says a bit less than the official distance, but machts nichts as my German grandma would say. It's a lovely day for an intense run up and down the hills of Scotts Run Park in northern Virginia. Barry Smith kindly gives me a ride to the event. Before the start Catherine Howard introduces herself; she's a friend of Mary Ewell and a fast runner whose half-marathon PR is near 1:45. I start with Michelle Price in the middle of the pack. The double-loop loop course is slightly changed from past years (2007-04-07 - Difficult Run, Difficult Run 8k XC 2008, 2009-04-11 - Difficult Run XC) and replaces the super-steep initial hill with a series of lesser slopes that add up to the same elevation gain but reduce the single-track traffic jam somewhat. Nevertheless we're in a forced slow walk near the start until we get to wider spot.|
Crawling under a fallen tree trunk I scrape my back as Warren Prunella wisely goes around and photographer Dan Reichmann captures the moment. The second lap I stay lower and survive. Other deadfalls are low enough to leap over or step on top of. GPS errors are fierce today; Barry's unit says 4.6 miles, and a couple of other finishers report 4.8 or so. Pushing hard on the final lap I pass a 10-year-old in the final mile. "Good run, Sir!" I pant. After the finish stinging flies keep us moving.
Arch-rival Tom Young finishes 5 full minutes ahead of me. Catherine Howard is first woman and comes in more than a minute in front of Tom. I pass Alex and Adam Dutchak during the long climb in lap 2 and fist-bump congratulate them after their finish. Ten-year-old Kyle Morin is a fast runner whom I only manage to sneak past during the final mile.
The official result:
50 41/69 3/6 189 Mark Zimmermann M 59 Kensington MD MCRRC 45:07 9:05
That is, 50th overall place, 41st of 69 men, 3rd of 6 in the male 55-59 age cohort, 45:07 total time.
^z - 2012-04-25