FALLING FORWARD

With October 13 and the Escalante Canyons races approaching, we join our runners in anticipation of a wonderful event.  Forging ahead, though, I want to share an experience we had in the aftermath of last year’s Escalante Canyons Marathon.  As always, race preparations fell on the shoulders of a small group of local volunteers, and, as we do every year, we scrambled to ensure that runners would have the best race experience we could offer.

To achieve that, one member of our race committee put in an especially strenuous effort.  After race day, we noticed that he seemed exceptionally fatigued, then the shivering started.  We finally realized that it wasn’t simply a matter of over-exertion, and two days after the race he was Life Flighted to our regional hospital with a life-threatening diagnosis owing to severe dehydration – he’d been so busy the week before the race that he’d forgotten to drink anything.

A week in intensive care was followed by several weeks in the hospital and rehab before he finally rebounded.  Needless to say, this year others are stepping in to prevent him from repeating that episode, although he’s still working hard in support of the ECM.

I’m sharing this with you for two reasons.  First, hydrate!  Second, we want you to know that even after last year’s scare, none of us – not even our Life Flightee – considered discontinuing the Escalante Canyons races.  We love this event, we love seeing you all cross that finish line, and we love the way it brings our community together.  If we’re going to fall in the process, we’re going to fall forward, as you do with each of your running footfalls to go the distance.

We got off to a slow start this year, but please know that we’re as dedicated as ever to making this one of – if not THE – most memorable races you’ll ever run.

Hydrate and carry on!

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OH WOW, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS ONLY 10 DAYS AWAY!

I know, you can’t believe it, either.  The most beautiful thing is that we still have folks registering, indicating either a lot of thought or a lot of spontaneity.  Either way, we’re so happy to have both the early birds and the second brood joining us this year.

Don’t know about you all, but this year has been a great challenge for your not-so-esteemed race organizers.  More on that in the next post.  This is just to let you know that we’ll be posting lots of info as you make your way to the start line.  We can’t wait to see you there!!

5K Fun Run

Free 5k Fun Run.  Starts at 1:30 PM and finishes at Escalante City Park (same as the Marathon and Half).  The race is a point to point race and transportation can be provided to the start line.

Every finisher gets a medal.

Scooters, strollers, etc are allowed.

 

SUNRISE and START LINE TEMPS

At 7:23 this morning we witnessed an exquisite Escalante sunrise, and I hope it will be like this at the marathon start line on Saturday.  High clouds, all the warm colors against a blue background, cool and energizing.

Temperatures are likely to be cool for both starts.  We’re putting a generously-sized clothing bag in each race packet, so feel free to wear warm clothing that you can store just before the race starts.  We’ll also have bags at the first three aid stations for the marathon and half marathon (aid stations 1-3 and 7-9) if you need to shed outer (!) clothing along the way.  There will be a finish area map in your race packet that shows the location of the clothing bag pick-up.

Stay warm and carry on!

 

WHETHER THE WEATHER

On this glorious Sunday in Escalante Canyons country, we’re hoping that those of you who will be joining us next weekend will be lucky enough to likewise enjoy the very best of fall here.  Each year we fret about whether the fall colors will be at their peak, whether we’ll have a major storm, whether the weather will cooperate, and we keep our fingers crossed.

So far, forecasts are great!  We anticipate a sunny week ahead, with cooler temperatures but clear skies next weekend.  This is good not only for  our racers, but maybe even more so for our volunteers, who won’t be working off as much body heat as those of you in constant movement.

The first time we held this race, six years ago, it rained up until race day, then the night before it snowed in the higher elevations.  Race day, we all agree, was one of the most beautiful mornings ever witnessed around here.  The sun came out, the skies were full of that after-storm clarity and freshness, and the early snow in the distance was icing for the race experience.

One thing about this place, one of its great hidden treasures:  the weather is almost always wonderful.  Sure, we get some extremes in the middle of summer and winter, but our extremes are always tolerable, moderated by the low humidity and the shelter of such a variable topography.  Of course, as we all experience more extreme weather events, the Escalante Canyons are not immune, particularly in terms of flash floods, but at this time of year, well, it’s pretty much all good!

One other thought:  There are very few places on earth that you’ll experience the pure, clear air of this region.  We’re trying to hold onto that, and to our dark skies.  When you come to run next weekend, soak in this environment.  It’s stark, our communities are isolated, it’s a long way to cultural amenities like movie theaters and big-box stores, but it can’t be beat in terms of peace, a certain type of beauty, and joy.

Enjoy your time here, dear runners and families and friends!

RACE DEDICATION

I was reminded recently that this year’s race date, October 14, is also the birthdate of both my grandfather and his oldest child, Nora.  My mom (now 93) is the youngest of Granddad’s 14 children, and in talking with her, I saw how much it would mean to highlight this particular synchronicity.

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Granddad was born on October 14, 1879, and Aunt Nora was born on the same date in 1901.  Granddad’s wife and my grandmother, Rachel, died when Mom was 3 years old, after which Granddad raised all 14 children on his own  in a two-room house  in Lake Point, Utah, next to the Great Salt Lake.

Granddad worked for Kennecott Copper, as did my father and most of my uncles.  Later on he had a small subsistence orchard and farm in the western part of  Salt Lake valley.  Just imagine the daily strength it took to support all those kids while working full-time at the mine and raising his own food.

Think of this when you are pushing past your own perceived limits.   I hope you’ll join me in dedicating this tough race to those among us who have faced the most daunting of challenges.  While I’ll be thinking of my granddad, I hope you’ll think of whom you want to personally honor, including those who have been so terribly harmed by the recent hurricanes  and the Las Vegas tragedy.  In Granddad’s and their honor, run this race with all your heart, and stay tough!