From the Back of the Pack
I might always be in the back of the running pack, but I'm addicted to it! When I miss more than a day it affects my energy, attitude, and the rest of life in general! I have had a lot of "character" building runs in the deep snow, extreme nose hair freezing cold, ankle high rain, and gale force winds over the past twenty five years and find some of those days to be the most peaceful rewarding outings of all! I'm one of those runners who is slow and steady, but goes forever and ever without ever getting tired.
January 23, 2010: Birkie Tour
Yes I run...and am a much better skier..skiing is the reason I moved to Duluth too! Since this is the majority of what my winter is, I decided to add this blog for those who also share my passion for gliding on the white stuff.
Despite the winter weather advisory, nordicskiers showed up in mass to ski the first ever Birkie Tour. This event was a non competitive way to ski the Birkie trails without 6000 other people in the way. We skied part of the Kortie trail, the classic trail, and the Birkie Trail so it really was a nice "tour" of all the trails. The only running event I know of such as this is the Grand Tour which is also a great event put on by Midnight Sun.
Being a Birkie event it was of course organized absolutely perfectly even though it was the first year. After participating in the Birkie for 14 years or so, I have 100% trust in the decisions that the Birkie people make each year with changes due to weather. This year with the predicted weather challenges, they changed the course so that all of us skied the same one to "OO" and those doing the "longer" event just continued on to Mosquito Brook. They also sent an email suggesting an earlier start time due to possible weather. By doing this they were able to focus on grooming just one course to have it perfected for us, which it was!
The weather on the drive there and back cooperated as it only started precipitating once we hit Superior on the way home. When on the trail the weather was also perfect with temps hovering around 30' or so and nothing falling from the sky.
Packet pick up and bag labeling were quick and easy, parking, finding the start, and following the course were all very well organized. The volunteers at this event are always super friendly and helpful too! We got a super neat long sleeved tshirt that says founder on the front along with a neat Birkie guy and the words Birkie Tour. On the back it says " I enjoyed a snowy ski tour over the hills and through the woods on the world famous Birkie Ski Trail"...heck in most ski races we don't get anything but some warm gatorade! We also got a really neat looking pin that was our "race bib" and bus ticket back.
The course up to the 16k mark of the Birkie was faster than expected and a slight bit slushy, fast slush though, either that or my wax was good. When we hit the 16k mark there was a definite change in the course as it became faster with a slightly icy feel on the edges. Anyone who has skied this knows that it's like a highway in a lot of spots so the edges are not a problem!
There were a significant number of classic skiers and many skate skiers who appeared to be "newer" skiers based on their technique. The group was very friendly, helpful, we could stop and chat, help each other out, it was super fun with no pressure! They also had at least one snowmobile going back and forth on the trail with a person holder on the back asking if we were all doing ok and cheering us on the whole time. Normally I don't care to breath in snowmobile fumes while skiing and these were almost fumeless ones.
Despite messing around and visiting on the trail, I ended up doing this faster than I normally do the Kortie...must have been the absence of people in the way!
At the finish we were treated to amazing chili, hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate and more in a nice warm building with places to sit while we waited for others we knew to finish. There was a bus that took us back to Telemark and we got right on!
I am hoping they add a 10k or so option for next year so those friends of mine who are still intimidated by the longer distances will have the chance to ski the beautiful trails there with support.
November 14, 2009: Nancy English Memorial 5k Run/Walk and 1/2 mile kids fun run
Huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped on make the Nancy English Memorial 5k a success today! Some of the local runners who helped out...Shane thanks for taking pictures...you got the talent for that..Tyler and Carrie thanks for working the door prize table...Kris hugeantic thanks for being the spindle expert and chute guy and more...Erik thanks for helping with the timing...Jeremy thanks a ton for being the one mile person...Brett...thanks for making the signs, putting them out and being a "grunt" in general...Amy thanks for helping out today with various things...Tim thanks for getting the chips, helping with registration, and more...I'm sure there are more people in the running community I'm forgetting who helped out...thank you too...and thanks to all the non runners who also helped make this possible!
We hope everyone had a great time, we apologize for the bridge, the weather, and all the other things that were beyond our control! Thank you for all your patience and participation! We hope you had a great time again this year.
Complete results and photos will be up on Northlandrunner and more will be on nancyenglishmemorial5k.com shortly. Here are the winners...if you know any of these people and they would like their award please let me know!
David Hyopponen 17:13 - new course record
Erik Crook 17:39
Kyle Rossow 17:41
Dan Freeman 17:43
Marlo McGaver 19:00 -technically new course record
Amanda Lepisto 20:19
Sara Hollingsworth 21:42
Tanya Thompson 22:04
Other place awards:
25% back women
Amy Mack, Mary Magnuson, Kendall Bergerson
50% back women
Katie Oberton, Nicole Tekippe, Lynn Stottler
75% back women
Jeanne Lindholm, Bobbi Trea, Pam Keller
last place woman
25% back men
Matt Stukel, Matt Royseth, Greg L. Jones
50% back men
Tom Diener, George Aposotolou, Aron Bradford
75% back men
Bill Simpson, Steve Skamser, Mark Knutson
Last Place man
October 21, 2009: Recent Pictures
Wild Duluth Pics:
Grand Traverse Pics:
October 16, 2009: Nancy English Memorial 5k Run/Walk and 1/2 mile kids fun run
Registrations are again pouring in for the Nancy English Memorial 5k run/walk!
I wanted to let people know that shirts have to be ordered October 19th, so to guarantee your shirt size, you need to sign up before that date.
Until November 1st the entry is only $20, after that it goes up to $30...I will have forms with me at the last three trail races, Wild Duluth, and the Halloween run on the 31st for anyone who wants to sign up then.
We are also in need of volunteers for pre race pick up of items, packet stuffing, and other little things! If you are able to help with any of this please fill out the volunteer form on the website and send it in soon! All volunteers get a long sleeved tshirt too!
Door prizes are awesome! Entries to many races, running shoes and clothing, DSSO tickets, and much more!
Check out www.nancyenglishmemorial5k.com for more information!
October 11, 2009: WHISTLESTOP
Duluth trail runners accomplished quite a bit at Whistlestop this year!! I enjoyed the weather even though it was cold...at least we were dry..the breathing was a bit tough for me after mile 9 and if anyone saw how I solved that ...it looked kinda funny! I'd like to see a picture of just how odd it looked!! The trail was beautiful, the other runners in this event are some of the friendliest I've been around.
Eric Hartmark won the half marathon...by at least 4 minutes and I believe broke his age group record...1:09 jogging at marathon pace...2 minutes faster and he would have had both the full and half record...he's too nice to be that greedy though!
Katie Koski (of Grand Portage for some reason none of us have figured out) won the full marathon for women... by at least 4 minutes... and I believe broke the age group record...2:54
Jonas Ryttie won the 10k in his new racing flats by 5 minutes...36:42
Jarrow Wahman was the first male Duluthian to finish in the full marathon ...he was 5 minutes ahead of the next person in his age group...and was the first master's...2:50...
Tonya Thompson was 4th in her age group in the marathon!
Shelly Thompson made it to Boston with time to spare!!
Keith Thompson made it to Boston with time to spare!!
Dave Hyopponen was 1st in his age group in the half marathon...and pr'd by like 5 minutes with a 1:18!!
Liz Albright-Olson finished her first marathon ever looking marvelous!!
Rick Bothwell...finished another marathon...he just keeps on running long distance races ...like the energizer bunny almost every weekend!
Brent Smith won the master's category in the half marathon with a 1:18 after an interesting start!
Jess Koski finished 1st in his age group in the half marathon!
Amanda Lepisto took 1st in her age group in the half marathon!
Jody Zeleznikar was 2nd in her age group in the half!
Michelle Flanagan-Haag was 2nd in her age group in the half!
Malcolm Macaulay won his age group in the 10k!
Rick Agar was 4th in his age group in the 10k!
Tim Krohn won his age group in the 10k!!
Dave Schunemann took 1st in his age group in the 5k with 18:03!
I think all of these finished are impressive!!
If I missed anyone I apologize and please let me know!
There were tons of others who finished the races too!! Sam and Shane did the full marathon...with great times looking strong at the finish...! I did the half... 15 minutes faster than I had planned...nothing special...had to stretch at the aide stations because the tear is still healing up...
There were some "interesting" things this year at least with the half....rumor has it with other events too...things that really should not happen in an established event like this ...
As we sat inside nice and warm, someone announced that the half would be starting 10 minutes late....we all stayed awhile then slowly wandered to the start line. On our way there, some volunteers in a car began honking at all of us to get out of the way so they could get through...with a thousand people on the road all trying to get to the start...was that really safe, or necessary??
While walking to the start line, I ran into Brent Smith and Darrin...who were frantically putting things into bags and getting to the start line...they told me that in fact the clock did start on time, not ten minutes late as all of us were told. This does take the pressure off of some people and spread things out, however, it also created situations that just should not happen in a race like this.
Runners, many of them elite, had been running over the starting mat and had activated their chips prior to taking off sweats...which added time to their results...some were fixed...
Finding people we planned to run with was impossible since everyone was starting at different times...
Walkers were in the way instead of starting in the back...and this event had quite a few walkers...so we had to run in the "mushier" part of the trail to pass often...
Those who were "racing" this had no idea when others started...it was like the birkie except there the bibs indicate what wave people started in....the top runners had no one to push them along once they were out in front.
Other interesting things with the half...
The road was icy, they knew it was snowing...the whole city is involved...lots of people wondered why they didn't get something on it...I hope no one fell! I stayed on the gravel but getting around others involved going onto the icy road.
A bus came through near the time when I had started and was about 1/2 mile in or so....it was honking for the almost thousand plus runners on the icy road to get out of it's way...we kinda thought that was a bit dangerous!
The first aide station and one further out had two people frantically pouring and maybe one cup ready...the rest of the stations were outstanding!!
Did anyone else think the half and full shirt looked a bit like a little boy's pajama top? I'm going to see if I can find the yellow waffle long underwear bottoms to go with it!
Why did the 10k and 5k get the nice HOT soup and we got only cold sugary stuff?
There seemed to be a few timing issues at the event ...the 10k results were delayed an hour, the half and full 1/2 hour....
We all finished though...I think...with smiles...and upright ...and soooo many with amazing accomplishments! Boston, age group placements, race winners, master's winners, first timers...and anyone who finished is a winner because they were out there instead of sitting inside eating bon bons and watching tv!