By Madeleine Ahlborn | email@example.com
IT’S a bright Saturday morning, and visitors and community members gather at the Salida Scout Hut on Sackett Avenue to pick up bib numbers and a complimentary pair of socks to get ready to explore and challenge themselves in the 17th Annual A Run Through Time Marathon and Half Marathon.
From my understanding, the course changes slightly each year. This year’s event, held March 12, included connecting trails between Arkansas Hills Trail System, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service land, and Chaffee County and City of Salida roads and property. Plus new trails such as “Rise N Shine” and “Dream On.”
The marathon took off promptly at 8 a.m., cow bells clanking, voices cheering, folks in funny hats and costumes starting off with positive and upbeat morale. This was a super fun day for all who participated. It wasn’t about racing against one another, it was about spending time outside next to one another.
I ran next to a few different people for periods of time, leapfrogging in front and behind taking turns leading the way. One gentleman drove all the way from Idaho to run in the race, another jogged backward every few minutes to take strain off his hips. One woman who I kept pace with said this was her 12th time running this marathon, and her 38th marathon overall.
She asked me, “Why did you choose this marathon?” I replied, “It’s close to home; I live in the San Luis Valley.”
But her question stuck with me: “Why this marathon?” I also thought about the bigger question; “Why a marathon? Why not the half marathon? Why not just a run in the Spanish Trails even closer to home?”
I kept her pace until the second aid station. She encouraged me, telling me that “your body will transform when we start going down.” She disappeared after the high meadow. She must have transformed into a gazelle or antelope, because I didn’t see her silver hair or blue pack again.
I pushed on with a swollen right ankle and a busted knee, using my bandanna as a patella stabilizer. I settled into the transition running downhill, still hoping I would transform in a similar way as the woman with silver hair and blue backpack. Yet, mile after mile the glutes, hamstrings, and calves continued to yell. Running is a full-body sport, and everybody and every body handles the strain differently.
Aid station three was the last checkpoint, but before continuing back down to town there was an approximate three-mile loop that had to be completed. Coming down “Sand Dunes” bearing left at “Prospector Trail” then left again turning UP onto “Uncle Nazty” – when I say UP I mean UP (this was a difficult and technical section, especially after 20-plus miles already
under foot). Then connecting to the “Pauli Trail” which leads back to the third aid station (mile 23). I said some four-letter words that cannot be repeated in this article, but I’m sure you can make the connection.
During the last three miles it was more painful to stop and walk than it was to keep going, so I kept going. With the end in sight, sending the switchbacks on the front side of “S Mountain” I began to hear voices, yelling, music, and a warm sense of comradery. Even though I never knew anyone’s name, I felt a supreme connection to the people on the trail with me and the staff and volunteers of the event. Proceeds of this event support Salida Mountain Trails and Chaffee County Search and Rescue – South.
I was not the only member of the San Luis Valley community to participate in this weekend’s event. Liz Bosworth, Rosalee Reese, Kris and Kevin Daniels, Mandy Wilner, and Hugh Poland were also getting their shoes muddy on the trail.
I caught up with Kevin and Kristina (Kris) Daniel, they were happy to share some of their experiences:
Alamosa Citizen: Is this your first marathon/half marathon?
Kevin Daniel: Kris and I have done a handful of half-marathons, but haven’t been able to for the last two and a half years. We began running 5k races, one every month since 2017, as an overall commitment to our health and well-being.
Even during the worst of the pandemic, we met our goals through “virtual” monthly races, and we’re just so excited to be back racing in person among so many other runners and walkers.
AC: Why did you choose A Run Through Time in Salida?
KD: We have done the two-mile fun run a few times before COVID, and had always wanted to try the longer distances on the awesome trails near Salida. The race organizers and volunteers have always been friendly, and we really enjoy supporting small-town events and communities.
AC: What are your thoughts about the trail systems?
KD: We are so impressed with how many miles of unique trails there are within the system, yet they are all linked together in a way that lets you put together any length of a hike or run. The views are amazing, and the planning put into their design is very apparent.
AC: What was your favorite part about the day?
KD: That’s probably a tie between the amazing views throughout and the awesome energy that all of the volunteers and race staff had at the aid stations and finish line.
Thanks Kevin and Kris! See you out on the trails!
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