Showdown in the Mazatzals "race" report | Posted: 2006-10-25 10:18:55 | 6426 hits | View in Hi-Fi Mode

"Oh shit!"

As I piloted my new Volvo wagon down the dirt roads up by mile marker 225 on Highway 87, a whole bunch of runners were coming directly at me. The race had started and I was late.

Not a great way to begin a race... but this wasn't really a super competitive event. Anyway, this was a real runner's run, if ya know what I mean. There were no fees (although I did donate $10), no race numbers, no chip timing... not even a big clock displaying our time. Just a bunch of really fit people hanging out in the Mazatzal mountains.

That just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Mazatzal.

I started a few minutes late, which was no big deal, since there was no chance I'd win this thing anyway. It was a different kind of race for me, anyway -- the length was supposed to be 18 miles with only one aid station at mile 9. I ended up bringing my Camelbak plus an extra hand bottle of sports drink, but I think that was overkill.

That is a brutal friggin' course up and down hills with some serious climbs and descents. Unfortunately, the police blocked us from doing the full run, so I didn't have a chance to see the second half of the trail. Kinda weird. I wonder what the story was with that. A bunch of the faster d00ds diverted themselves and took a different trail back, but we were forced to return the way we came.

Regardless, Jenn Shelton kicked all of our asses. When she flew by me, running effortlessly over the hills and trails, I wasn't sure if she was in the lead or if something else was going on. No one was even close, trailing behind her.

Since I was picking up a bit of time here and there, when I reached the next runner, I asked him, "Hey... was she in first place?"

As it happened, the guy I was trying to get past knew pretty well who she was -- he was a writer, traveling around with her, interviewing the monsters of Ultra Running. (I didn't catch his name, but he's one of the guys who beat me by a minute or two.) Jenn Shelton is a titan of the Ultramarathons, so it was a real pleasure watching her work. Even if it was just for a few seconds while she blasted by me.


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