It started well enough. It ended badly and prematurely.
The one thing you can definitely say about the Speedgoat 50k is that the profile doesn't lie. It is either relentlessly up and relentless down. Often on a mountainside, never predictable. Snowbird Ski and Summer resort, the race start is at 2500m above sea level. It was supposed to be in the 80's fahrenheit, but that never materialized, and as I should know by now, the mountain is an unpredictable host.
From the start you climb to the highest ski station at 3300m in 12km, up jeep tracks, single track and mountainside scrambles. It was tough but not impossible. I walked and jogged about as much as anyone around me and got to the top. Eventually. Then the altitude, or something, hit me. Going down I felt dizzy and spacey, and unsure of my steps. I was so looking forward to some proper running, that it bottomed me out mentally. It also got cold, and I started to shiver.
|The 18th km involved a duvet|
The second aid station is at 18km, and the start of a 16km loop with no way of getting out if in trouble. The aid station helpers fed me, sat me down and eventually wrapped me in a duvet. The weather had turned and it was raining, so heading out on the loop in the cold rain, with only a vest wasn't very appealing. I sat there from 9am-11.30am waiting for the cable car to open, and watching every other runner go past. No one else dropped that early. Everyone else managed. It was chastising.
|Runners weren't the only ones suffering for the Speedgoat 50k|
Eventually I was joined by three other drops on their way out of the loop; a torn calf, badly bruised foot and a.n.other. Our broom wagon was the cable car back up to the top, and then down the other side. Then I could disappear into the crowd once again and not be the runner who quit.
It really is the ultimate conversation stopper for runners after a race. It's not shameful, is often a sensible course of action, but still you are the one without the war stories of bee stings, moose encounters and muddy, bloody legs. You can't share in the camaraderie. As Olson, Clayton and another top 10'er soaked in the hot tub back at the hotel, I couldn't bring myself to join them. I hadn't earned that right.
|A moose was encountered (photo; irunfar)|
Upfront it was fast with Sage Canaday breaking Killian Jornet's record, and second place Anton Krupicka doing likewise, almost running Canaday down in the process. The women's record also went. And a 15 year old finished seventeenth overall. This is now a youngster's sport.
|Finish of the Speedgoat 50k|
I'll take away yet more respect for anyone who can run these hills, at this altitude, especially those training below a mile high. It's a different sport!