The rain kept coming down heavy and loud during the night before the race with a flash flood warning in effect for the area. There was no doubt the 6th running of the Dirty South was going to live up its name.
A few runners decided to hit the snooze button for the morning. The battering of the rain overnight had them tossing and turning with imaginings of being sucked into the muck or being washed away by heavy flowing streams. (Not too far from the truth) Luckily most folks toughened up, walked out their front doors and showed up bleary eyed to the race start. Some runners came as far as Florida and Utah, flying in the night before. 140-ish brave souls toed the line with probably more trepidation than usual. Knowing you’re going to be out on the wet trails for several hours is enough to give one pause.
Flooding on some parts of the course had us a little concerned so out of safety for the marathon runners, the full course was collapsed down to the old 2 loop standard. All runners would now run in the same direction, with the marathoners crossing the finish twice, giving them an easier option to drop in case conditions somehow got worse. This decision wasn’t ideal but was the right call in the end.
At some point right before the race start the rain let up just a little. The forecast had called for a break in the weather so all fingers were crossed. At one point the clouds parted just enough to show some blue sky. But the course and the race were still mayhem. Burnett Creek Rd had flooded over and the Lost Chromosome trail was essentially a flowing stream. All runners jumped with glee into a flooded creek up to their thighs. Luckily it was warmer than usual. Cold creek crossings tend to be less enjoyable.
Then there was the slick, slippery mud. All runners had the pleasure of trying to stay upright, trying to not slide backwards on the climbs, and trying not to peel out on the downhills. From the looks of everyone finishing there was plenty of failing to do any of that. Everyone ended up covered in mud. Depending on where they had wiped out the mud was a different color. Shorts, shirts and faces were covered in 50 shades of brownish reds.
Even under these conditions we had a respectable number of runners under 2 hours for the half marathon. First one in was Roger Schmidt (1:42:51) followed by Sullivan Pierce (1:49:57) and Nathan Helton (1:52:13). A young Sierra Moody came in strong as first female (1:58:47 and 4th overall) followed by Megan Kleeschulte (2:02:47), and Hannah Rosen (2:07:18).
For the marathon we had a few folks cry uncle after one loop confirming for us the course change was a good decision. The full marathon in those conditions is nothing to take lightly.
Alex Brown smashed through the two loops like nobody’s business in 3:52:28. I highly suspect he’s got a cross country upbringing as he was enjoying the mudfest more than most. Sub 4 on that course is impressive, adding in the conditions and it’s doubly impressive. Not too far behind Alex (but not that close either) were trail committee member and new dad Tim Hill (4:09:08) and Brian Williams (4:34:44). Local trail favorite Alondra Moody came in relaxed at 4:33:48, third overall and first female. She was followed by Michelle McLellan (5:00:51) and Jonnie Mae (5:36:31).
A big thanks to the trail committee and other Track Club members for all the support and for filling in the gaps where needed. Next year we’ll once again shoot for the full marathon course. There’s even a chance we might have a spanking new trail to test drive. And the weather next year? My bet is on either a blizzard or tornadoes. Flying cats would also not surprise me.