Monday, February 6, 2023

24th Annual Riddle Run

Riddle Run 2023 finishers.
On January 28, I finished the 28-mile Riddle Run trail event. There were 8 total finishers (4 male, 4 female). Last year there were only 3 finishers (all male). Think the reasonable weather contributed to more finishers. It was cold to start (28F, light snow) but warmed up nicely (43F, sunny). The frozen ground with snow and ice turned to slippery mud by the end. Was not my best finish, but it was a finish (6:09), and I was the first male I was a Riddle Run Champion! First female whooped me good (Ali Ball in 5:06 finish). Mark Kirkland even started at midnight and ran 50 miles (5th person to do so).

Male champion.
As usual, most runners came out to simply run 1-3 loops (4-12 miles). Then hang out around the fire to socialize, eat, and drink. It's a great annual event that has turned into a running reunion. While I do see some of these runners at other events, quite a few are once-a-year sightings! I ran my first loop with "Mr. Clean" (Eric Smith) and we finished in "first place" for loop #1 (of 7 loops). I knew I couldn't continue at that pace, so took a quick break, grabbed sports drink and a gel, and headed out solo for my second loop. And all my subsequent loops. Even though I was running solo for the next 24 miles, you always see other runners (you can go in opposite directions, plus people pass you and you pass others). There were plenty of quick shouts of "Hello!" or "Looking good!" or "Hang in there!" throughout the day. For me, I felt good for the first 16 miles, OK from 16-20, then terrible for the last 8 miles (loops 6 and 7). I think those first 4 fast miles drained me! Oh well, live and learn. I walked a lot during the final 8 miles, thought about dropping out, but persisted for the finish. It felt REALLY good to be done. Being first male finisher was a nice bonus. I'm now the proud owner of the toilet paper trophy (travelling award for male finisher). Here are full results, plus champions from 2000-2023:

I've participated in Riddle Run for 24 years. So has Tom Rice. We both plan on being back for the big 25th anniversary in 2024. Trying to think of ways to celebrate. Awards for Double Riddle (56 miles). Half-Riddle (14 miles). All DNFs get a prize? 24-hour version? 

Now I have finished 2 of 3 runs in the Free Ultra Trifecta challenge: Winter Solstice 30 miler at Clinton Lake, Riddle Run 28-miler, Backyard Ultra (Last Man Standing). I will complete at least an ultra at Backyard in July. Determined to be a Trifecta finisher! 

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