Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grand Island Trail Marathon

We really like this marathon so we keep going back. This was #3 for us and it just keeps getting better every year.

Yesterday we carpooled to Munising with friends Jan and Joe, stopping for a picnic lunch. While at the park we talked a couple of guys. They each had their Old Milwaukee refreshment and they shared that they were on their way to Lambau Field to try out for the Packers ;-) We wished them luck and went on our way. We arrived at Munising around 5:30 or so.

Wanting to get to bed early, we checked in to our hotel, the AmericInn, then packet pick up at the Holiday Inn and a quick dinner at the Dogpatch No pasta on the menu but we ate there anyway.

Race day meant getting by 4:00 (Eastern Time) to get ready to catch the first shuttle at 5:00. The hotel had breakfast for us and other early people.
The shuttle bus got us to the dock where we loaded our stuff and ourselves on to the first ferry. The morning boat ride was beautiful, the water was smooth and it was still dark with just a hint of light in the east. On the island, the race organizers were expertly getting stuff together for the race. We checked in, got our timing chips, placed our drop bag under the tent, swatted a few mosquitoes and started running a few minutes after 6:00 (the 1 hour early start).

Most of the course was around the perimeter of the island so it provided us wonderful vistas of Lake Superior and the shoreline. The first 10 miles seemed effortless. Maybe it was because this course was flat compared to running in Colorado two weeks earlier? The weather was great: clear and calm with temps around 60 degrees at the start.  A thin layer of clouds came in around noon and the highs were only around 70.

I really respect the race director and his philosophy that the race should have a minimal impact on the island. What did that mean for us runners?
  • We carried our refillable water bottles so we didn't need paper cups at aid stations
  • We were expected to take any of our garbage back to the mainland
Neither requirement was a big burden for us.

Jan and Joe finished long before we did but they hung around and played in the lake until we finished. Here are the results

Then we all caught the last ferry back to the mainland. To celebrate, we indulged ourselves with pizza from Main Street Pizza. Mmmmm, that was good.

This year the race included a handmade, ceramic finisher's medals, mile markers at every mile, and perfect weather. I'm glad we ran this one.
Finisher's medal