Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mount Jefferson Challenge and New River Marathon

Mount Jefferson Challenge, June 13, 2015

With this being just a 6.6 mile event, I do not have much to reflect on.  I so, however want to at least document this experience and hopefully encourage others to line up at the start next June. Also, I have neglected to post about last month’s New River Marathon, so I’ll be including some thoughts and memories from that one too.

The two events are both organized by race director, Ken Sevensky owner of Blue Ridge Endurance LLC. He is also the founder and director of Blue Ridge Relay and several other endurance events. See his website for more information.

Mount Jefferson Challenge, nicknamed MoJe starts in the parking lot at Ashe Civic Center. It goes 3.3 miles up the mountain to the end of the top parking lot, and 3.3 miles back to the bottom. The finish line is a seam in the concrete and it is the same as the starting line. On Friday, about 30 people participated.
Our little group readying for the ascent.
Friday was a lovely day for the 6:30pm event: clear, breezy 81 degrees at run start and probably 10 degrees cooler on the mountain. I started out slowly and stayed slowish…appreciating the fragrance of the flowers and grasses and bird song en route to the turn around.
Slogging past Park Headquarters

Not sure if this is up or down?
Coming up on the pavement seam finish line...
The way down was much faster than the way up! I finished in 51:17, good for a $25.00 gift card to Boondocks and a new female course record. I didn’t stick around long, but got a jump-start on weekend chores by being home and working in the gardens by 7:50pm.

I hope next year’s challenge will bring more competition. This really is the perfect time of year for this run.

New River Marathon (Just a short blurb) May 2, 2015
Love these race shirts...the only ones I don't give away:)
Last month I ran this exceptionally fine run.  Race Director Ken Sevensky, appropriately used the word “charming” to describe the new course. The morning vibrated of The New River, yellow wild flowers, a suspension bridge, dirt roads and a couple steep hills on an otherwise pretty mellow, fun course.
Cool clouds near Todd, NC race morning
Just weeks before the event, the start/finish venue had to be changed and the new start/finish area is now right smack in the middle of the tiny hamlet of Todd, NC. Runners were asked to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to get to the race as some of the parking would be half mile away. Despite this, our start time was postponed by around 25 minutes. This was the only thing, in my opinion, that wasn’t perfect about the race course or the execution of the event.

Aid stations and helpful volunteers were placed at good intervals. Gel, and salty snacks appeared in all the right places. I carried a tube of Clif Shot Blocks, yet forgot about them and didn’t use as the race provided plenty of fuel.
Just a few miles left to go...
Towards the end of the marathon route, the half marathon course shared pavement with us and it was fun to cheer and be cheered on by the other runners. I met runners from all over the southeast, 3 ladies from Texas, and many local runners.
Winner Katherine Price and her son
All the way from Texas to visit the New River!
Remi Wingo. She's so cool-we go way back with Outward Bound
Scott and Sarah from Charlottesville, VA
I wound up finishing up in 3:23:34, 9th overall and 2nd woman. I had a fun and smart run and took away a homemade wooden bowl and a free 1-night stay to a local bed and breakfast: MeadowsweetGardens Inn.

Next up? I’d better get some nice training runs in to get ready for the 2015 Grandfather Mountain Marathon on July 11.