Hills, knolls, more hills on mostly grassy trails. (about: 2003)|
R. O. from Calgary, Alberta, Canada (6/8/03)
This was marathon #5 for me, on a very hilly, cross-country, ski-trail course. I forgot to actually count, but over the 42K, there must be 80 to 100 ascents. Most of the course is in an aspen forest, affording a bit of shade if sunny. Some parts of the trails were out in the open. It's a pretty course, very well marked so you don't go off on the wrong trail, running on the south slope of the dammed Vermilion River. You hear waterfowl and birds, and I saw rabbits in the early morning. There were wild strawberries and violet under foot, and loads of saskatoon and chokecherry bushes in full bloom. Watch this if you have allergies. It has a decently smooth surface - I never tripped once. It is a 10.5 K loop run four times. Aid station were well placed so that you double back on them, making efficient use of volunteers. Water, Powerade, bananas, oranges, and watermellon were supplied. Under-advertised, so few run it, and maybe the fact that it is hilly deters runners, but I am very much a slow novice runner (best time: 5:33), and I did this in 6:30 with no ill effects. You just need to have trained on hills, and pace yourself for those and the weather. Had it been wet, the steepness of the trails when wet would have been a real slowing factor. It is low-priced, with no finisher's medals. I would recommend this to anyone as a challenging experience.