While spending time on the roads of Vermont with plenty of opportunity for musing, I wondered how to write an interesting race report. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, no animal encounters, no major medical mishaps, no brushes with cutoff times. So I decided to write a report anyway and to gear it toward someone considering running their first 100 mile race - what worked, what didn't, products I used, and a little bit about the course. It's full of mundane details and not incredibly exciting, but if you are still interested, here goes...
I have been questioning for quite a while whether I have what it takes to complete 100 miles on foot. With a background of running (marathons, 50 milers), adventure racing, orienteering, triathlons, and cycling, my husband John and I began logging miles this spring in preparation for the Vermont 100. We recently moved to Grenoble, France for a work assignment, so we spent time on the steep rocky trails there, walking fast uphill and running hard downhill to condition our legs. Meanwhile, my brother Kip trained in Austin, TX, and we all met in Vermont for the race.
Highlights of our training in France: Paris Marathon in April (3:50 for me; John finished in 2:55), then 3 Raid-O's (2-day orienteering events, 6 to 8 hours each day wearing 10-15 pound packs), flat long runs for up to 4 hours, hill repeats of 45-60 minutes, a 60k trail race over hilly terrain, an 8-hour adventure race, a couple all-days hikes in the mountains, and 3 night runs, culminating in a 12 hour overnight trek/run with 5000 ft elevation gain/loss.
Our parents were our crew for 4 of the aid stations, plus we used drop bags at the other 5. The drop bags contained small tupperware containers lined in bubble wrap with various items: Thermotab electrolyte tablets, ibuprofen, Tums, sugar cubes, candied ginger, sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen, vaseline, duct tape, band-aids, tissues and a small amount of toilet paper. Sunglasses and spare socks ended up in a couple bags. Some of the later ones had warmer clothes such as poly pro, a jacket, gloves, and Buffs, plus maple sugar candy, Vivarin, spare batteries, and spare mini LED lights on lanyards. I put my main headlamp (a Black Diamond Moonlight LED) at Camp 10 Bear (68.2 miles) and John put his at Yates Farm (78.9 miles). I was accused by more than one family member of over-planning, but this is my normal MO and it has worked in the past so I say, stay with what you know.
Every drop bag also contained a disposable plastic bottle with our main energy source, SPIZ powder. John and I planned for half a serving at each bag and each time we saw Mom and Dad. Kip relied on it less but still drank some when it was mixed and available. The chocolate drink contains 500 calories in one serving, including carbs, fat, protein, sodium, potassium, vitamins, and amino acids. It is something I have been able to drink when I cannot get anything else down, and it has kept me moving during expedition races while helping maintain muscle mass. Plus it tastes good. ;-)
I carried one bottle with a hand strap, while John didn't carry anything. Kip carried a camelbak with up to 100 oz of liquid plus a small amount of food and supplies. I wore a light fleece jog bra, a short-sleeve Rail Riders Adventure Top, Louis Garneau triathlon shorts, Air-e-ator socks, Mizuno Wave Mercury shoes, and Joe TrailMan gaiters. We decided to use our road running shoes instead of trail shoes based on race reports describing the hard dirt roads and minimal technical trails. This system worked for me all day and I didn't change anything, including socks or shoes.
Pre-race preparations included sunscreen on my face and neck, vaseline in various places, and Hydropel on my feet. I had been using a pumice stone on some thicker skin on my feet, so various layers were exposed, but I hoped that would not cause a problem. Kip taped his feet with duct tape, while John didn't work on his feet at all.
John and I started the race carrying mini LED lights for the first hour of darkness, which worked fine with the number of runners and headlights around us, the good road surface for the initial downhill, and the slower pace walking up the first trail.
I guess you are wondering how long this report is going to be, since the race hasn't even started yet...!
Our family camped at Smoke Rise Farms Friday night, which worked out really well. It is a beautiful horse farm and the owners are so nice to let us park in their fields for the race. The weigh-in, drop bag drop-off, and briefing were uneventful, except for some interesting conversations with other runners that we met. Then there was the pre-race dinner - way better than any marathon pasta party! They had salads of all types, spaghetti, cream soda, bread, dessert, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Phew. Good thing we got to sleep a few hours before running.
The morning festivities were entertaining - piano music, porta-potty lines, fireworks, spooked horses - then the race started, almost exactly on time according to our watches. Off we ran, into the darkness and into the unknown.
John ran on ahead while Kip and I stayed together to chat for a while. We each had our own thoughts on pace and strategy, but it was hard to know exactly how to approach such a long distance without having done it before. I have confidence in my endurance but I have always been successful at first-time ventures by starting slow and not trying to do too much. I usually win the "most improved" award the second time around when I have a better idea of what I'm doing. John and Kip were concerned about their tendency to start too fast, so they were trying to hold back early. But how do you really define "holding back"? Kip and I started out walking up hills and running everything downhill and flat, and we were still clocking 12-minute miles. My goals were: 1) finish in 30 hours, which should be possible unless something unexpected happened; 2) finish in 25-27 hours, which sounded reasonable; and 3) finish in less than 24 hours, which was a reach-out, dream, fantasy goal for me.
So early on, being on pace for a 20-hour finish was rather disconcerting. Kip carried a colorful pace chart and we referred to it after each aid station to see where we were. We came upon the first aid station sometime around the first light of day, and we found ourselves at a 24-hour pace (and a couple minutes either way would have changed it quite a bit). No problem. But Kip and I both thought we had been moving a little faster than that, so it seemed to jolt us into a minor sense of urgency about moving forward just a hair faster. Since it was easy and felt normal, we speed-walked uphill and even ran some of the slightly uphill grades to stretch out different muscles. Downhills were fun, and we tried to step lightly to keep from pounding our quads and knees. Starting at aid station #2 we were on a 20-hour pace.
This seemed odd, but we were talking and meeting other people, and much of the course felt downhill at that point. I don't remember much about the early miles of the course except the long slope down to Taftsville and the covered bridge we ran through to cross the river. Kip high-fived a group of spectators and received extra cheers for the effort. Horses started passing us early on, beautiful creatures trotting carefree down the road. I had to wonder what 100 miles in the saddle feels like. At the early aid stations I made sure to keep enough liquid in my bottle and I grabbed a little something like a cookie, gummy bears, or some chips at each one.
Kip and I met some other runners from Austin, TX, plus an adventure racer from Vermont. Walking uphill and running downhill continued to be easy, with the flatter surfaces being the most difficult since they were too easy to walk but not as easy as the downhill to run. Apparently this would be a good course for us, since most of it was on an incline in one direction or the other - but never too terribly long or steep. The road/trail surface impressed me the most. After training on steep lung-buster trails full of rocks and roots where you had to really focus your attention and energy, the Vermont route was a wonderful change. A faster pace took less energy than what I was used to, a pleasant surprise. The trails through the woods were really beautiful, and we had mist, tree cover, and cloud cover for most of the morning.
We saw our parents for the first time during the race at Pomfret (mile 18.0), which was a lot of fun. They helped us fill our bottle and bladder (with Gatorade! - a welcome change from the Succeed race drink), handed us some SPIZ to drink, offered other food and lip balm with sunscreen, and then sent us on our way. It was a nice, quick transition. John had come through about 20 minutes earlier, so we were close enough that the crew should be able to catch all of us at aid station #10 before having to leave to meet John at Camp 10 Bear.
Off we went, briefly along the main road, posing for a picture, then getting slightly confused about the race markers pointing us to a grassy section beside the road. No problem, on we went. We saw some of the same runners around us as we had seen earlier, plus some new people. Throughout the race it was obvious that there were many strategies being used by other runners, some probably by choice and others by necessity. One guy in particular walked extremely quickly up the hills, and then we would pass him on the other side. I watched the women around me, out of curiosity and complete lack of competitiveness. It was way too early to try to race anyone, especially when we obviously didn't know what we were doing.
Because we were still holding the 20-hour pace - even after a climb on grassy trails (complete with a taste of wild raspberries), a fun descent on trails toward aid station #9 and our first drop bag, and a traverse over another hill to aid station #10 (mile 30.8) where we met our crew again. The idea of still being on a 20 hour pace seemed ridiculous to us, so after chatting with our parents briefly and downing some food, we walked up the hill vowing to chill out a little bit and back off on our blistering speed. Kip's chart encompassed finishing times of 20 to 30 hours, and we were still several minutes "off the chart".
Back at aid station #9, I had found an unmixed bottle of SPIZ, meaning that John had missed the drop bag. I mixed it and shared it with Kip, while John got refueled when he reached the crew at #10, forty minutes ahead of us now. It was a rather long stretch from there to the next handler aid station, Camp 10 Bear at #16 (44.2 miles). I started to feel the sun whenever the clouds cleared and we came out from under the trees. But it never got too hot that day, for which we were very thankful. We can run in heat, having trained in Texas many years, but it is much more enjoyable on a cooler day.
Somewhere in that stretch I found a suitable rock wall to climb over for a makeshift porta-potty, while Kip went on ahead. We were both moving slower. After my pit stop I suddenly felt much better, so I steamed on ahead, in search of Kip. It wasn't long before I caught him on a downhill. I was running quite well that morning and afternoon, while Kip's forte was walking fast on the uphill grades. We agreed that if either one of us wanted to go faster, that person would be free to go ahead at any point in the race. Until then, we would enjoy the chatting and the company.
The next few miles were uneventful for us, but John and a couple guys he was talking with missed a left turn after aid station #11. He ran an extra 1.5 miles with the out-and-back. We were all hoping to avoid missing a turn, so Kip and I religiously verified every intersection and mentally noted many of the arrows and confidence markers (and we followed other racers around this particular turn that John missed). John got back on track and it didn't seem to adversely affect him for the rest of the race.
After running down to Route 4 and crossing another covered bridge, we stocked up at an aid station before starting a long uphill stretch. It was at that aid station (#12, 36.1 miles) that I could no longer resist the lure of Coke. Boy, did it taste good! I was wary of starting on caffeine too early, but oh well. On the way up the hill, Kip made his pit stop, which apparently took awhile. I charged on ahead, running the lesser grades but mostly walking and trying to keep to the shadows of the trees. At the aid station near the top (#13, Barr House), I stopped briefly and turned to see a bunch of people marching up toward me, including several women I had seen earlier. I definitely need to work on my uphill walking speed. A man at the top mentioned that this was the hardest hill on the course, which would be nice, but I never really believe superlatives and promises that sound too good to be true. The group of us passed over a field and then up another small hill before finding the downhill on the other side. And who should show up again but Kip! He had also found new legs after his pit stop and made up a bunch of time going up the hill. Kip and I cruised on down the hill ahead of most of the people who had been around us at the top.
At the next aid station I found some iced tea - wow, did that hit the spot! Not to mention the caffeine, woo hoo! We also took some watermelon, which was sweet and juicy, a perfect treat. We ran along a main road and then turned onto some trails next to a rest stop for the horses. A woman running ahead of us with a black and white head covering (who had been dubbed 'The Nun' during an earlier conversation with her and another woman) missed a left turn, so Kip yelled to let her know. It was an easy spot to miss if you weren't paying attention. The trail was fun, little ups and downs, running through the cool woods in the heat of the day. Too soon we emerged on a road, finding ourselves barely 'on the chart', or just over a 20-hour pace, at the unmanned aid station. On the way to Camp 10 Bear we chatted with a couple women runners, then it was down the hill to the cars.
We could see Mom and Dad sitting and watching for us, so we started waving and smiling. They were ready with the trunk of the car open (we had great access to the vehicle at the handler stations that they used). I sat down for the first time, as this was a planned 'work on my feet if necessary' stop. The right middle toenail felt like it was floating around on the top of my toe, but it didn't hurt too much. I decided to leave it alone unless it started to bother me later, since I had visions of needing to pull the nail off and I didn't want to expose new skin to the abuse of the next 56 miles.
Instead we each took an ibuprofen and an electrolyte tablet, and Kip took a Tums. I put on some sunscreen and lip balm, we drank some SPIZ and then headed over to the checkout table to be weighed for the first time. I was at the same weight as on Friday and Kip was down a couple pounds. So far everything seemed to be working. My knees were surviving the downhills (and the ibuprofen kept them from swelling as they are prone to do during long runs). We were still eating and drinking, although not peeing very often, and the heat was under control.
Mom walked with us up the hill a little ways out of 10 Bear and it was great to chat with her. She told us that John was still 40 minutes in front of us due to the added scenery he had discovered. He apparently was looking good, 'like he was taking a walk in the park'. We left Mom at the top of the hill and cruised down the other side. Turning onto the 10 Bear loop, I had to walk part of the flat section to let my stomach settle while it was digesting. We returned to running pace but I looked forward to the uphills where I could walk again. Be careful what you wish for. Agony Hill gave me plenty of time to walk and again a few people outdistanced me. On the other side I was ready for more downhill running. A couple aid stations, some trails, some hot and sunny roads, a couple new people to study, and we were running more quietly.
There was an aid station next to a farm (#19) with some very helpful volunteers. I was mostly relying on the SPIZ and energy drink for calories by this point, as the solid food was not appealing. Leaving there we passed a pond and I could not resist the opportunity to soak my shirt in it. Ooh, it was a bit cold to put back on, but ahh, did that feel good! We turned into the wind and ran across a field, drying and cooling off.
Soon we found ourselves on a long downhill in the trees, with the Tracer Brook aid station (54.9 miles) at the bottom. We made quick work of the drop bag (SPIZ, Tums, electrolyte, ibuprofen) and started up the hill in a generally northern direction. We were now done with the northernmost and southernmost parts of the course. Westernmost was in our sights. But first, there was a long, long hill to climb. We ran with a trio of one woman and two men for a while and talked a bit about ultras and the places we lived. They seemed to think I was looking strong, which was nice to hear.
I could have done without the last bit of uphill on the sunny road, but then it was over and we were at the aid station on top. Yay! From then on the trees shielded the sun and I didn't feel hot again. We passed a runner bent over, apparently stretching his hamstrings. Then he stood up and zoomed past us. We had to wonder how fast he could have gone without whatever trouble was holding him back. The road rolled a bit up and down, eventually leading us to Cox's aid station. A group of people worked hard providing treats - grilled burgers, little chocolate-covered cherry mice that I really wished I could eat, and a bunch of other food. Kip and I both went for the ginger ale instead. I drank my SPIZ and we left, wishing we could come back to the same buffet after the race!
After a pit stop in tandem (I think we ate too much at the pasta dinner the night before), we continued on, still running downhill and what little flat area we found. We started talking seriously about finishing in less than 24 hours. This was based on reaching 55 miles in 11.5 hours, as I have read that 55 miles can be a good estimate of halfway in terms of total race time. Kip was hoping to hit a point where he could walk to the end (I suggested 3 miles an hour would do it) and still break 24. The cooling of the evening helped our pace and our spirits.
We made a quick stop at the next aid station to be sure we had liquid for the next longer section. After making the turn back to the east we started a long downhill, mostly trail section. A couple interesting people appeared, one shirtless guy with tattoos who was working to keep a good pace despite not feeling great, and a guy wearing a hat and headphones who shuffled his feet. Plus one large bearded man who flew by and disappeared, looking super - did he oversleep or what?
By the bottom of the hill our legs were quite ready to climb again. One bit of up, a little more down, then we found the turn back to Camp 10 Bear. One more time that we get to see our parents! Mom met us at the top of the hill, all excited. She ran with us to the car where we sat for the second time. There was Gatorade available, so we dumped the Succeed and switched it out for the good stuff. Hand/face wipes, headlamps, ibuprofen, SPIZ, we remembered everything except a quick pass with the toothbrush, guess my teeth will have to stay icky until the end of the race.
The weigh-in took a few minutes (I was up 1 pound, Kip was down about 3), and then we jogged out of there. Mom and Dad decided to meet us at the finish line instead of trying to navigate to a handler station in the dark when we were all doing great, the drop bags were there, and we didn't need the assistance. John was about an hour ahead of us at this point and our pace was much better than expected.
Food settling was no problem for me coming out of Camp 10 Bear due to the steep climb up to another horse farm. At the top we discovered nice roads and gentle hills. I carried my headlamp and bottle, while Kip had his headlamp in his Camelbak. We mostly ran without talking, passing a Japanese runner in the fading light but not seeing many other people. Kip then asked about the ginger in the drop bags and whether it might help his stomach issues. He was not feeling too well, so we discussed food, liquid, weight, peeing, electrolytes, etc. We decided he should try drinking a bit more and take ginger at the next opportunity.
We discovered soup at aid station #26 and it was super good. We got enough 'to go', enjoying the warm liquid and being able to eat something different. Soon we came out of the woods with a view of Mt. Ascutney, thankful that we didn't have to climb up there. Just a bit more of the southern/eastern travel before turning toward home.
The road down was rough on me. My knees complained, my quads ached, and I walked just a bit in the middle to relieve them. More roads at the bottom, then cars started passing us on the way to handler aid stations. We saw very few cars all day except here and after Bill's. Finally we came to Yates Farm (#27, 78.9 miles) and our drop bags.
I had been drinking half a cup of Coke at various points during the day. Whenever it wore off, my head would get a bit fuzzy/sleepy, so I was stuck with the caffeine cycle. Luckily we weren't on a multi-day mission, and the energy boosts were fun. I grabbed another cup at Yates Farm while a volunteer filled my bottle with Succeed. I found the drop bag and pulled out the candied ginger for Kip, along with ibuprofen for both of us. Kip filled his Camelbak and snagged some soup.
Interesting discovery: an unmixed bottle of SPIZ in the drop bag. John (or my parents) had been adding water and mixing the bottles so he could drink half and I would get the rest later. I figured that John had decided to skip the SPIZ this time, but then my hand closed around his headlamp. Hmm, looks like he missed this bag altogether. He was carrying a tiny LED light, and each subsequent bag had another little backup light if he needed it, but he was going to have to finish without the benefit of a brighter headlamp. I couldn't wait to hear how that went, at the same time wishing I could help somehow.
We left the aid station and made our way in the growing darkness down a hill and toward a creek. Darkness has some advantages, my favorite being peeing without being seen. I carried the SPIZ with me so I could drink a little at a time, as I was no longer interested in downing it all at once. We used the headlamps along the dark roads, following the creek as I tried to figure out which way the water was flowing. Strangely, I couldn't tell whether the road had a slight uphill or downhill grade. We seemed to be moving well, in any case.
Up and around past Ashleys aid station (81.9 miles) and then we could hear fireworks not far away. We wondered what that was about. A belated Bastille Day celebration? We moved quickly on, finding a trail through a field and then a steep climb into the woods. My legs were going more slowly up the steep stuff and recovering less quickly. However, sooner than expected we ran across a volunteer who announced that Bill's aid station (83.4 miles) was at the end of the trail. We had stopped looking at the pacing sheet so I wasn't sure what mileage Bill's was at, and I had guessed long. So much the better.
Bill's was bustling! There were people in the barn, outside the barn, along the road. We moved as efficiently as we could, getting weighed (1.5 pounds up for me, 2 pounds down for Kip, so we had each gained a little since 10 Bear), getting liquid (more nice volunteers appeared out of nowhere to help with that), and grabbing the drop bag to extract ginger and meds. I had put an extra SPIZ bottle there, which John mixed (thanks John!), so Kip and I shared the extra serving.
In the middle of all that, I ran into one of the Skip Guys from the Urban Challenge Finals! (more on that story) He had recognized John earlier and he was waiting for the person he would be pacing. It was great to see a familiar face. I mentioned our time goal and he seemed to think it would be no problem, although I wasn't so sure because we were slowing down.
Out of Bill's carrying some good soup, along the road to cheers of the crowd, along another road dodging handler cars, then back into the woods. We caught and passed a group of people, then found a quiet dirt road leading off into the night. A solitary runner in a reflective jacket led the way some 100 meters ahead of us. He reached the main road and turned left, which seemed odd to me. Sure enough, it was supposed to be a right turn, so we yelled to call him back.
The main road was also quiet, gently taking us toward Blood Hill. It was nice how both Agony Hill and Blood Hill had street signs announcing our arrival so there was no question that we were about to turn in an upward direction. We saw no one else as we walked upward for quite a long time. Kip thought we still needed to press ahead at a good pace to ensure our 24-hour arrival. I was not sure of the need to push, but since we were both still able to do so I was not about to argue.
At the unmanned aid station at the top, we discovered that we had covered the previous 5.2-mile section in about 1:15 so we were still putting time in the bank. I guessed from race reports that the next 1.4 miles would be tough going, so we were mentally prepared. When they turned out to be all on roads, mostly short rolling hills, we flew along and Kip was quite pleased. It's always better to be wrong like that.
The lights of Jenneville (mile 90.0) were like an oasis in the dark. I finally found a porta-potty after looking for one the whole race. Kip took more ginger, I declined all meds since we were close to the finish, and we shared the last of the SPIZ. I briefly considered carrying an extra shirt, but it still seemed warm enough for the short sleeves I had worn all day. I spotted a map of the course and studied it briefly. I also checked with the clipboard woman and found out that John had been through at 9:45 pm. It was just about midnight and we found out later that he finished right about that time. I also heard a radio call for an ambulance, which Mom also caught wind of from the finish line.
And we were outta there. The ambulance passed heading toward the aid station and I hoped everything was OK. The roads were dark, my brain and body were on autopilot, and Kip was feeling great so I just followed him. We finally saw a couple other runners on the road, including one we had met earlier. He was concerned about having enough time to break 24 hours, but he was still moving about as fast as we were and I was certainly not worried (4 hours for 10 miles?).
Up a hill we trudged. About this time I started to prefer the flatter stretches since uphill required energy and downhill rather hurt. Such a difference from earlier. Our pace was still good through the unmanned aid station, then Kip started pulling away now that the ginger was working and his super uphill walking pace was back. He made a pit stop and I continued on. At the 94.0-mile aid station I had a bit of Coke and sat for only the 3rd time and waited for Kip. He arrived almost immediately so I pulled myself up to continue.
The next section included perhaps a mile on a twisty trail with roots. We had apparently come that way early in the race but I don't recall noticing this section. Now it was obviously a challenge, requiring us to watch our step and pick up our feet. Kip ran on ahead and I could see various headlamps going different directions in the woods. Then we were back on an easy road again, heading down toward the last aid station. Woo hoo!
Kip was waiting for me there, having determined that we had plenty of time and wanting to finish with me. It was very nice of him, since he could have gone on faster. I was determined not to slow him down too much. I heard people talking about placing (about 85 people had come through) and runners were getting fueled for the final section. I walked right through, needing nothing but to keep going. Kip joined me and we slipped back into the night.
It wasn't long before the final challenge(s) appeared. I had read about a difficult couple of miles near the end, with hills, roots, rocks, etc. However, the course had been changed to avoid a nearby farm that harbored a horse disease. We weren't sure what to expect from the change, but the hills were still there. The first one was long and fairly steep. The good thing was that we were on a snowmobile trail and it was wide with mostly decent footing. I heard voices behind us but managed to stay ahead of a guy and his pacer near the top as we came out in a high field.
We had minor questions about the direction of travel because there were no glowsticks in the field, so Kip double-checked the arrow and we took off to the left. I assumed the barn was below us, even though there weren't many lights, so I was confused when the indicators led us away from there. We went down past a house, up another field, and then back into the woods. I started questioning where we were going. The 3.9 miles seemed to get longer and longer. I heard a woman's voice behind me but couldn't do anything about getting passed. She turned out to be a pacer with a male runner, which made me feel better. We went up another hill, not quite as long as the previous one, but still difficult. On a short downhill we were passed by an older runner we had seen MANY miles before, on a tear for some reason (trying to beat a PR?).
Then there was yet another uphill (I'm pretty sure I'm not making this up) and it seemed like we would never get there. Finally we started seeing people waiting on the trail, cheering people on. Kip asked how far to the finish, and with the response of 'about 200 yards' he yelled 'sub-23 hours, baby!' We ran down the last bit and burst out into the open to see the neon Finish Line sign! We crossed together with clasped hands and raised arms. 22:42 - wow! Way better than my wildest dreams! Kip and I were both ecstatic.
Mom hurried out to find us, joining in our celebration. We woke John up from his resting place on a cot to discover he had run 19:58. This guy is incredible: no headlamp, no pacer (nor brother to run with), no electrolyte tablets, no water bottle, no foot preparation, no blisters, one ibuprofen, very little food at the aid stations besides the drinks, 4.5 servings of SPIZ, and one sore ankle the next day that healed almost immediately. I ended up with one blister under my toenail and several other toenails that will fall off soon, plus sore pectoral muscles from carrying the water bottle for hours (a reason to get back to upper body workouts!). Kip had more toenail blisters plus a sore leg the next day, but didn't feel any of it during the race. Not bad, all in all.
We have no illusions that we can do the same thing on other courses or with different conditions. We did well with our training and preparation, and we got lucky with the weather. No telling whether we will attempt another 100 mile run in the future, but this first one was an amazing experience. Congratulations to all the runners, thank you to all the organizers and volunteers, big thanks to our parents for crewing for us, and a super-duper thank you to Kip for many hours of company, pacing, humor, and encouragement!
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