Saturday March 10th, was the 7th running of the Salida Run Through Time Marathon which included my 6th attendance. This race is truly a Colorado Classic, a mountain marathon in March with snow, single-track, and many hardcore runners. The race has 4,750’ of climbing and descending reaching 9,050’ in the Arkansas Hills above Salida, Colorado.
For 2012, the marathon course was changed for the second time in two years adding in additional single-track for the 140 marathoners (188 half-marathoners).
The first change was a 2-mile loop on a gravel road and pavement retuning to the start area where we began 1.1 mile switch-back climb up the Frontside trail. I was in the mid-pack with my teammate Amy Schnider where would see the leaders already way above. The next mile we snaked around the Lil’Rattler trail to the 4.5-mile aid-station. At that point, the race split with the marathon going up and the halfers going down.
The next 3.2 miles on the North Backbone trail was a great single-track rolling uphill. This was another great addition to the race. Some people do not like when races change their courses yet when it is improved I will take it.
At mile 7.8, the race connected with the original route that would follow up a gravel road (CR 175) for the next 5 miles with quick ¾ mile out-and-back to the 13.1-mile aid-station. This section has a long steady climb where I began doing a 9 minute run/1 minute walk to bank some energy for the next half of the race.
Leaving the aid-station with a fresh bottle of drink mix, the race joined a snow covered jeep road (CR 181) which was snow covered for the next 5 or so miles. This section was loaded with many short up-and-down sections and where there wasn’t snow, there was mud. Also, I believe the best view of the race was in this section, looking out to the Collegiate Peaks and the valley below. The Next five pictures are along CR 181.
After a steep downhill, I made my way to the 19.8 mile aid-station with my empty bottle and there filled up with a goal of drinking the entire bottle before the next stop. The next mile was the most technical section of the race on the Sand Dunes trail. It had a steep decent with jagged single track to bottom creek section, which is where I ran into the sandy section.
The trail then took another run to the left for ½ mile climb up Prospector Trail, which was very steep with thick mud. The next 2.4 miles was a fast rolling run on both Cottonwood and Backbone trails before hitting the final aid-station.
I had 2.5 miles to finish on a smooth downhill. Yet unfortunately, I tripped on a rock and then my legs cramped up just as I was catching two other runners. I had to walk it out for a few minutes and there was nobody behind me so I had a comfortable run to the finish. My time was 5:06.
In conclusion, this was an even better race and great spring tune-up. This year was even better having a great showing from the Runners Roost Race team (Ryan Kircher, Patrick Garcia, and Abby McQueeney Penamonte running the full and Amy Schneider and Dan O’Connell running the half). As always, Kelly Goode joined in doing the half having a great time despite having a massive wipeout.