Best of Times, Worst of Times:
Escarpment '02

By Jim Dunn

Well, yet another Escarpment Trail Run has been held and run (or should I say held and walked/run/fallen/tripped/slipped). This wasn't a race of blood, sweat and tears, but more of sweat, cramps and stings.

With all the sweating going on in the first part of the race, it brought on leg cramps to many of the runners by mid race as well as giving the bees something to home in on. There had been rumors about years where bees were an issue, but I thought these were just fairy tales spoken by the race director to scare little children. But I was wrong, probably 10 people around me during the race got stung (I think I was saved by the fact that I had eaten 4 monster cloves of garlic 2 days prior and it was still in my system).

The rain that came down did help (I think) to cool us off, but it also made the rocks slippery. Everyone (well, almost everyone) was slipping on the rocks and down the steep sections (heck I saw where a two-inch in diameter maple had been pulled down, by a runner who must have grabbed to slow him/her down and snapped it like a twig). Funny thing is that the humidity and the rain didn't seem to slow down the front-runners; their times were still beyond human.

They did slow me down... however, given my current physical condition, I am totally willing to accept the 4:46 (yes, 4 hours & 46 minutes) time that it took me. I would have broken 4:45 if the flash from Bob R's camera hadn't blinded me and caused me to trip over a rock which in turn caused my leg to cramp within a mile of the finish. Granted I tripped about 20 feet beyond the point my picture was taken, but I swear it was a delayed blinding reaction, honest!

It was great to see everyone before, after and during... One thing that I am still wondering about is if I sweated more on Sunday (during the race) or on Monday when my brother had me clearing a trail through the jungle he calls a back yard. I think I would rather run Blackhead than push him on his riding lawnmower through six feet of weeds and pricker bushes!

Well, another year down... I think that is eight for me...

Jim Dunn
Falmouth, Maine

Entry in the Escarpment Trail Run, held every July near Palenville, New York, requires certain qualifications. To learn more, visit the Escarpment Trail Run home page.

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