The morning of June 6, 2015, I drove from Custer, SD where I was staying, up to Deadwood in the Northwest corner of the state. It was quite an interesting drive, and as you draw closer to Deadwood, the name starts to make sense: there are literally lots of dead trees lying upon the hills as you dive down the canyon and into town. I had volunteered earlier in the Spring to help with the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon & 1/2 Marathon since I would be out there, but didn't feel like I would be ready to run the event, especially with a race two days before and another the next weekend and then two more in Montana within a few weeks time. Packet pick-up was held just up the hill outside of town at The Lodge at Deadwood.
The lodge was a beautiful building and the marathon was given a very large ballroom for the packet pick-up and event expo. Emily, the RD, had done a great job of organizing and bringing in not only great vendors to the expo, but also as sponsors of the events which included a Kid's Wonderful 1K, the Fast 5K, the Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon Relay. I really enjoyed helping at packet pick-up and as a reward got an entry into the 5K. [As a note, I was also suppose to help out on Sunday at the finish line for the longer races, but due to flooding in Hill City and not knowing the back roads real well, I opted to stay around Custer. The drive home Saturday afternoon included rain, hail, flooding, and various route changes which included me driving past Mount Rushmore!]
The Fast 5K gets it's name because it is run on the final 3.1 miles into the town of Deadwood on the Mickelson Trail and is all downhill on a gentle slope with a wide crushed stone type of trail, perfect for someone from Iowa who runs a lot of gravel! Since this was a point to point trail, we were bussed to the start just outside of town where we all lined up at the start line to get going.
The race started next to a creek which ran alongside of us to the right and provided some of the natural beauty we experienced as we followed it through the canyon and into town. I found I was running much faster than normal and realized this was not only going to be fast, but potentially very painful because of the speed I was going! Eventually I found someone I could race alongside or just behind who was going about the same pace. I would later find out she was using me as a pacer as much as I was using her, though I swear most of the time she was faster!
We made it into town and the lady I was running next to had started to get away from me, and I started wondering about my place and position, so I began moving up and passing some people in the last 1/3 of a mile or so. In the end, I was just behind the woman who I had been running back and forth with, though one young lady tried to pass me in the finishing chute. (Maybe she wasn't happy I had passed her in the final KM?) Fortunately, I had crossed the first finishing mat before she passed me. I talked with my "pacer" and her son, both of which won awards in their age divisions. I had hoped to place in the top three in my age division, but just missed out and got 4th, 26/121 finishers. [Results.] The awards, appropriate it seemed for this historic western town, were railroad spikes painted gold, silver, or bronze. This race was also the Road Runners Club of America South Dakota Master's 5K championship so there were awards handed out for racers in the age categories 40 and higher. I was pleased to see one of our own Iowans take an award in the female category, having recognized her from the RCC Run the Woods back in November, 2014.
I was glad to have the opportunity to run the Fast 5K as the Dino Run scheduled for two days before in Rapid City was cancelled due to heavy rainfall in the previous weeks which compromised the trails for race day. This was probably the fastest 5K I have run in a few years since I switched from focusing on shorter distance races and started pursuing longer endurance running. Emily and her crew did an awesome job, and I can see why the event is such a big hit! (Local news: Mickelson Trail Marathon hits 14 years in Deadwood).
(P.S. Sorry I don't have any pictures for this race, but hope you enjoyed the review without them anyway!)