Monday, April 8, 2013

Mt Penn Mudfest 15k – Race Report

Last Saturday was the 19th running of the Mt Penn Mudfest 15k. Not a mudrun or obstacle course, just a good ole fashion trail run. I drove into Reading, PA that morning, stopped at my parents' house to drop off the dog and made my way with my brother in law and dad to the race start. Luckily we get there about an hour before the race start because of the parking situation. 800 runners expected at a tiny park. I was sure to grab a spot with easy exit access.
After the usually tee-shirt pickup I ran about a mile to warm up. I ran into the woods so I could also use God's bathroom, a tree. The race was originally supposed to start at 10am but again, because of the parking situation, we didn't get started till 10:20. The first ½ mile was on pavement to let people space out a bit. I remember hearing one guy near me say 'look at all these people blowing their loads so early.' I thought, 'look at this idiot lined up near the front and getting passed by everyone.'
As soon as we hit the trail, things turn into a cluster-fuck. The trail is mostly single track for the first 1-2 miles and ½ mile isn't enough time to space out the eventual 550 finishers. I just hung out and watched people try and pass and get hit by branches. I wanted to say something like 'calm down, it's still early' but found people tripping over rocks much more enjoyable.
The course is designed to be an out and back with a lolly pop at the top. This worked out really well until the leaders were coming back the other way. I only saw 1-2 people until I turned off the course for the lolly pop at the top. Coming back the other runners were very nice and stepped to the side to let us pass. This went on for about a mile until we saw the sweeper come through to remove the trail markings.
Coming back towards the finish area, the ground was rock-free and relatively flat so I was able to open it up to what I imagine was about a 7 minute mile. I forgot my GPS so I was going on feel alone. I was also running by myself at this point with several hundred yards between the runner in front and the running behind me. Trying to catch the runner in front while not being caught was my plan. I came to the final steps up to the ball field and with just about 100 yards to go, I sprinted to the tape to finish in about 1:29.
I can't really compare this time to my time two years ago because it's a totally different course. For a 15k it felt like I was putting in a lot more effort than the 9:37/mile shows. It must have been due to all the super steep up hills and down hills that needed to be navigated slowly (read: walked).
After the finish I grabbed some Gatorade in my finisher's pint glass and checked on my place. Turns out I placed 3rd Clydesdale and one this sweet award.

I had to high-tail it out of there to meet some friends who were on their way to a beer fest of sorts. Great day to race and I picked up some pretty sweet hardware.
Thanks for reading.


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