Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Running Halloween hills

Trail Creek 12K commences in costume


The first running of the Trail Creek 12K was “over-easy” as spectators cheered for “Bacon and Eggs,” the most popular costumed duo to brave the hilly course for the Saturday morning race on Halloween weekend. Photo by Willy Cook

Wonder Woman (Tizz Miller) became my mark on the back half of the new Trail Creek 12K Trail Run, Saturday morning.

"Participants (faced) a 7.7-mile course on Proctor Loop, Aspen Loop and the bench single track that offered everything a trail run should offer—sustained climbs, fast descents and cruiser flats all on a figure-eight lollipop format," said race director Brad Mitchell.

Following the race briefing, runners were sent off by air horn at 10 a.m., many draped in costume on the cool but by dry morning.

After pulling me up the drainage to the Proctor Loop ridge top, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner John Kurtz was a near constant rearview threat after I made a move on the downhill. With Wonder Woman and Kate Nichols, costumed in No. 2 racing stripes, leading the way on the back half, and Kurtz breathing down my neck, the Halloween weekend run was downright scary. As long as I kept Wonder Woman in sight, I knew where to plod—one sneaker in front of the other in pursuit of the fleet superhero and her speedy No. 2. Friday's frozen footprints and corridors through naked aspen trees pointed the way. Traction was excellent. Autumn grasses were laid down, exposing clear footing in the meadows. The few obstacles included a horse dropping, one marginally significant patch of ice and the invisible rock that flipped me head over heals, causing a bruised toe and skinned knee. Of course, the tumble had nothing to do with fading legs on the 2,000-foot downhill or the exhilarating views of Trail Creek Summit and Baldy's slopes that looked ready to ski.

Elvis (Jeff London) and a participant disguised as Shock Therapy (Anita Shocks) won the costume contest. In a bulky tandem costume, Bacon and Eggs (hot off the griddle) was a spectator favorite, but didn't win top costume, presumably because it was two people.

"We absolutely want to point out that Bacon and Eggs ran the entire thing carrying that stuff," said Mitchell to the loud praise of adorning spectators, who were clearly jealous of Elvis' coif and lamb chops.

"Thank you very much," said The King, as he gyrated and received his prize.

Women's race victor, Morgan Arritola, who completed the hilly course in one hour and five seconds, said she wished she had Skylar Goepfert-Maguire's dragon costume, probably for the fire-breathing capability, or maybe it was the adorably plush pelt that she admired. Liv Jensen and Angenie McCleary followed eight minutes behind in second and third places.

Temperatures were ideal for the cross-country event, the first on the course, organized by Sun Valley Running and The Elephant's Perch.

Many friends car-pooled to the run. Michael Sinnott took the tops men's position with a time of 53:49. Colin Rodgers and Boiseian Tom Liby were second and third.

"I train on the course all the time and I thought it would be good for a race," said Mitchell, a distance running competitor himself, preparing as a Masters 40-plus for the U.S. Track and Field Marathon Championships in Ashland, Ore., this weekend. "The idea is to introduce more people to the sport and have more events in the valley."

The Dollar Mountain 10K is set to return for a second time in June and next year's Trail Creek 12K is scheduled for Oct. 29, which should give plenty of time to plan a costume to trump Bacon and Eggs.

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