The Colorado Marathon might be the fastest marathon in Northern Colorado, but Quad Rock is definitely one of the gnarliest. I’m sure it’s solidly behind the Pike’s Peak marathon, but still. Gnar Gnar.
Actually it’s a 25 or 50 mile race. Not quite a marathon if you do the first half. But it will wreck you like a marathon and then some. For the 50 mile race you will run up both Horsetooth and Arthur’s Rocks twice. Yes, run up mountains. More than once. In fact, four times. Hence quad. For the full course map, check out the race page. Sound miserable? It is. Also very nice views and hits some of my favorite trails in the whole area. An last week’s race was had perfect weather.
Having missed the deadline for registration. And also the wait listing. And well, basically just e-mailing one of the race directors a couple days before the race, I didn’t actually officially run the race. But I did run all but 2 miles of the course. The two flat miles at the beginning. All the miserable stuff I did run.
What? Banditing a race? Have I no morality? Possibly. But in this case I arranged to first contribute and then take a ‘do no harm’ approach.
An approach I like to call “volunstealing”.
See this turn below? This is the first turn of the race. On the race course, it’s 3.5 miles into the race. From where I started, it’s only 1.5miles in. So after discovering that I could not register, I was told that they were still looking for someone to block the this turn. Also that technically the parks are still open to the public that day….hint hint.
So I would be starting at the same time but taking a short cut so I could block a turn, waiting until 6:30 for everyone to pass, and then heading up the course myself with a trusty pack. No aid stations for the wicked (or just procrastinators).
It was pretty exciting to get there at 5:30 in the morning and realize that I was going to get to see who was at the front of the race, not that it matters 3 miles in, but still, being that close to the front of the pack is not something, as a totally mediocre runner, that I ever get to experience.
It was fun. There is a lot more energy. And after heading up myself I was passing people a lot, which is also something I never get to do. Back to that mediocre thing.
It turns out, volunstealing a race is just like french fries. Tastes sweeter when yoinked from your friend’s plate while they weren’t looking.
But back to the race itself. Some of my favorite places to run. I love all the trails we ran. I just don’t usually run all of them on a single day. Well, love them with the exception of Howard trail, which we took up to Arthur’s Rock. I now hate that trail, it winds around forever, making you think you are getting closer to the top, when really you are just running up switch backs for all of eternity. At least that’s what it feel like as you complete the last climb of the race, which starts somewhere around mile 20.
You get some really sweet schwag at this race, too. Not those of us who are volunstealing, the one obvious downside, but everyone else got cool mugs and nice tech shirts.
And the finish line was a lot of fun. Pearl Izumi had a lot of shoes out for people to try on. But having exploded a huge blood blister sometime in the last mile, that was out of the question for me. As was all the tasty food. But I just wnted to curl into a ball and cry, anyway, so it didn’t matter.
And of course, all’s well that ends well. A tough run, but good training for the Jemez 50k coming up this weekend in New Mexico. I highly recommend this race, I’ll probably run it again next year. As an actual registered participant. Because I want a mug. And a cool t-shirt.It was really fun to get to run trails I know well, so different from just showing up and taking it as it comes. It’s kinda fun to actually know where you are and to have aid stations available where you usually just run alone and have to carry all your own stuff.
Hopefully if I don’t hate running after the Leadville Silver Rush, I’ll be in better shape next year and won’t end the race looking like this: