Date: August 16, 2015
After three previous attempts, I can finally cross South Dakota off my list. Hallelujah.
Almost two years ago, I signed up for the Crazy Horse Half Marathon–my first attempt at completing a race in the Mount Rushmore state. Those plans were thwarted, however, by extreme blizzard conditions that resulted the both a canceled flight and the cancellation of the entire race. I wrote about that weekend in an October 2013 blog post. I signed up for the same race this past October but decided not to go because I was taking care of a very dear friend who was dying from cancer. Sadly, he passed away in December.
Deciding the Crazy Horse Marathon was not meant to be, I decided to register for the Deadwood Mickelson Tail Half Marathon, which took place this past June 5th. Unfortunately, in my infinite wisdom, I had mistakenly booked my hotel room for June 6th. By the time I realized that error, I couldn’t change my reservation and all hotel rooms in the entire town were booked so I scrapped those travel plans. I was beginning to think South Dakota wasn’t going to happen. Or, when it did, my race fees would make this state the most expensive race effort ever.
Well, things finally did come together this past Sunday when I ran the Leading Ladies Half Marathon in Spearfish. My running buddy, Denise, and her mother had run this race a few years ago and she recommended it. Plus, the timing of the race worked out much better.
The trip out there and back was one of the quickest. I flew into Rapid City just before noon on Saturday, drove to Spearfish, picked up my race packet and settled in to the nondescript Quality Inn. The race, which started at 6:00 a.m. required a 4:30 shuttle departure from a nearby park so I got very little sleep. After finishing at about 7:30, I showered, packed, and was back at the airport by 10:30 to catch my flight back home. In South Dakota for fewer than 24 hours.
The race itself was small and the course reminded me of the Big Cottonwood Canyon race in that it started up the canyon and the course meandered downhill into town. I would say the very active gun range about two miles before the finish line detracted from the race experience, as did the fact that they didn’t shut down traffic. So, really, it was more like my Emigration Canyon training runs but not as peaceful. Still, most of the course was scenic, the weather was perfect, and I’m happy with my time. Not going to complain.