Monday, January 29, 2024

25th Annual Riddle Run 28-Miler

2024 winners with RD
This past Saturday was the 25th annual Riddle Run, which is a 28-mile trail "fun run" that started back in 2000. I have become the "caretaker" of the event since Jeff Riddle, fun run founder, gave up that task. The weather was pretty good (35F to start with heavy fog, but no rain, snow, or ice). The trail was extremely muddy and wet due to melted snow and recent rains. My race plan was to stay slow and steady for the full seven 4-mile loops to reach 28 miles in about 6 hours. Last year I went out way too fast/hard with Eric Smith on the first loop and that damned me for the rest of the run. Finished the 28 miles, but the last 8 were terrible. This year I went out a little too fast with Pat Mills, but wised up and walked the first long hill (Pat kept going and I remained mostly solo for the day). I did get one good loop in with John Reed, but then went solo again. Unfortunately, the muddy trail wore me down and I stopped at 20 miles (5 loops). Up to this day, I only had 34 total miles in January. I was sick at the start of the new year (7 days of zero running) and slowly got back into running before this event. Many 2-3 mile runs don't help you finish an ultramarathon! Oh well. I finished 20 miles and stayed healthy and injury-free. It was nice hanging out around the fire pit with other buffalo runners as we waited for everyone to finish. I'm now ready to start training for the Allerton half-marathon on April 20. Hopefully less muddy.

Foggy start
Since this was the 25th anniversary, I figured there should be some extra prizes and surprises. I bought "DNF" and "Ultra" bumper stickers for everyone. Plus "Death before DNF" coffee mugs for the two champions. Then, to surprise everyone, I proclaimed that 6 runners had achieved "Legendary" status by awarding them pint glasses with "Legendary: Riddle Run 2024" on them. Those runners were: Tom Rice and Chris Migotsky (25-time participants), John North (broke nose, went to hospital, then returned), Curt Chambers (he is Legendary), Sarka Petrickova (5-time champion), and Jeff Riddle (Riddle Run founder). Jeff was not in attendance, so he didn't get any extra prize, but the darn race is named in his honor, so there's that! Sarka also received a permanent stuffed buffalo to keep--it has her race year wins written in permanent marker. Should have been a stuffed GOAT since she is clearly the greatest of all time at Riddle Run. Maybe next year.

Out of about 40 starters, we only had 4 finishers of the full 28 miles: Sarka Petrickova, Paul O'Neil, Mark Kirkland, and Gregg Rose. Sarka was not only the female champion, but she was the overall winner besting all the men. Congratulations to her! These four finishers are now in contention for the Free Ultra Quadfecta ("Grand Slam"): Riddle Run, Backyard Ultra, Allerton Ultra, Winter Solstice. All others can still try to complete 3 of the 4 events to be a Trifecta finisher. That's my goal. Not sure what the awards are for Quadfecta vs Trifecta, but I'd be proud to finish three of these ultras. Remember, these are free events. Just show up, run, and enjoy. 

Here are the 2024 Riddle Run results

Here are the past 25 years of Riddle Run winners

Thanks to everyone that came out and shared food and drink. I hope to be back next year to see what happens at the 26th annual run. Not sure I can keep organizing this event, I may simply be a runner next year. I do plan on keeping my Riddle Run streak alive. Twenty-six in a row sounds nice. And I want to finish the full 28 miles next year. No "DNF" for me. I want that "Ultra" sticker. 

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