|Location:||Death Valley, CA, USA
||THE MIT COMMUNITY RUNNING CLUB (MITcrc) www.MITcrc.org
RUNS ENVIROSPORTS' DEATH VALLEY TRAIL AND BORAX
Death Valley Trail was an experience of a lifetime -- truly a life altering
event. The marathoners started on a road that led them into the mountains.
The 30k runners were dropped into those same mountains where we started with
a short downhill, before climbing steeply to the summit at 5,000 feet.
During that climb, runners were muttering to themselves, "thank you, Dave,"
or something close to those words. At 5,000 feet the Park Ranger was there
to happily greet us and send us on our way for 14 miles of downhill to sea
level. We were surrounded by spectacular and mesmerizing mountains and
canyon walls, as we threaded our way through Titus Canyon on a rocky road to
our destination. It's amazing since we had to watch every step through the
rocky course while feeling the colorful canyon all around us.
Surprisingly there were "gravel pits" throughout that acted like quicksand,
preventing the stable footing we craved. Ravens circled above wondering if
any runners would drop. Aid stations offered relief of water, blue and
green "jetsons" like beverages, bananas, energy bars, pretzels -- a feast
really and truly a joy. These same aid stations proudly advised us of the
mileage remaining. We then emerged from the canyon with 3 miles to go. We
could see the buses in the distance through the shimmering heat, as we raced
toward our goal. At the end, many collapsed from the pure joy, and sought
shade to cool down and hydrate. Many were queasy at the end but elated
with the experience of running through a truly magnificent and spiritual
place in the desert. We are definitely signing up for next year's event
and may even try the marathon next time.
Our runners were a sub-group of our Providian team. After the Providian, we
spoke with MITcrc Coach Danny Dreyer who put together a 3-month training
schedule in preparation for the Death Valley run. Due to injuries, this
group of eight narrowed down to five, so we named ourselves "And then there
were five" for the Death Valley run. The 30k runners included Barbara
Goodwin, Dennis Haas, Mary Fisher, and Nancy Bennett. The marathoner was
Kenn Callahan. Paul Cohen (Nancy's husband) also joined us as our Vegas
tour guide, entertainer, and van driver extraordinaire. All runners were
Death Valley Trail was the third EnviroSports event for MITcrc. Our first
event was the Stinson Beach Marathon. Scott Feamster ran it as his first
trail marathon and set a club record for time on course at 6:28. Dave
Horning, EnviroSports Executive Director, stuck around to check on Scott
long after all the other runners had departed; Dave informed Scott that he
may have set an EnviroSports record as well. Scott next ran the Death
Valley Borax Marathon three weeks later as a recovery run; his tales and
photographs of Death Valley beauty and EnviroSports run fun further inspired
the Death Valley Trail team.
Death Valley is the largest national park in the continental United States
with 3.3 million acres containing 400 animal species and nearly 1,000 plant
species. The Shoshone, the last of four prehistoric Native American
cultures inhabiting Death Valley during the past 9,000 years, still call it
home. Unlike most valleys, Death Valley is a fault basin rather than a
river valley. It has the lowest elevation in the United States and may be
the hottest place in the world with temperatures often surpassing 120 F
during the summer; ground temperatures are usually about 40% higher than air
temperatures. The highest recorded temperature of 134 F has been exceeded
only in the Libyan Sahara Desert.
Elevations in the park range from 11,049 ft to -282 ft. Stands of limber
pine and bristlecone pine grow in the heights; lower elevations support
various kinds of sparse, bushy vegetation. About three million years ago
the basin floor sank leaving mountains that are now flanked by alluvial
fans; west side fans are larger as the basin continues to tilt east.
Beautiful views are available from Zabriskie Point and Dante's View and
along Titus Canyon Road. Other scenic vistas include Mosaic Canyon, Ubehebe
Crater, Badwater, Artist's Drive, and Golden Canyon. Other noteworthy spots
include Death Valley Museum, Harmony Borax Works, and Scotty's Castle.
EnviroSports events provided MITcrc members with great excuses to visit this
immensely spectacular wilderness.
You are invited to join the MIT Community Running Club (MITcrc), the premier
Silicon Valley running club. We are Road Runners Club of America (RRCA)
Central California Champions and won two Silicon Valley Marathon club
awards. We participate in major events, hold fun walk/runs, and offer
special running clinics. Our objective is fun and fitness.
We are an open club and encourage all walking/running enthusiasts to
participate with us in all events. MITcrc members receive special discounts
on and/or access to athletic gear, personal coaching, group workouts,
physical therapy, sports psychology, sports massages, travel fees, SVCC
facilities, MITcrc Updates, and RRCA and AATRA benefits as well as our
official politically correct MITcrc Boston Marathon RRCA Champions shirt.
We emphasize fun and offer coaching and camaraderie so all enjoy
participating at their own paces and improving at their own rates.
We are strongly committed to helping others improve. We encourage walkers
to walk further and increase their paces. We encourage runners to try new
events and increase their distances. Our founder was an old, overweight,
out of shape couch potato who decided to run the April 16, 2001 Boston
Marathon to honor his son and his son's graduating MIT class. He
subsequently ran three marathons that year and nine marathons the following
MITcrc became the fastest growing club in the history of the RRCA. Over 130
athletes and volunteers participated on our Silicon Valley Marathon team.
Most had never participated before in a marathon, half marathon, or marathon
relay. MITcrc also includes experienced runners including numerous
marathoners with an average of three marathons each. Our members are
committed to helping others improve their enjoyment and performance.
Details are posted at www.MITcrc.org.
|Scott Feamster |