Sometimes Running Stinks….True but the 2012 Skunk Run didn’t stink. I think everybody had fun. There were more than a few smiles even though the temps got above 80 degrees. A thunderstorm rolled through but it didn’t last long and only brought “good” lightning but did make it a little humid for a while. Oh…. there was some mud too with the first puddle about 300 feet from the start.
There were 22 runners that participated in the “official” Ozark County Skunk Run. The trails are located in the Mark Twain National forest and offer a lot of variety. They travel through pine flats, cedar glades, oak forests, and roll into the bottoms along the creek. We broke the run up into 3 loops or sections so runners of all abilities would have an option. When combined all 3 sections equal 11.7 miles.
The Baldwin Cemetery run is a 2.5 mile out an back that takes runners to an old abandoned cemetery. There is only one marked graved from 1897 and several unmarked graves. It’s pretty cool and the trail runs through the pine flats, oak forest and a cedar glade. For the most part, the trail is pretty gentle and runner friendly.
The Cujo Loop is 4.5 miles long when run by itself. This section was named after the giant killer dog in the Stephen King novel because Wilson and I came across the biggest, meanest looking dog while on a run one morning. We were meaner so Cujo ran away but still…. every trail needs a legend, right? This trail runs across a cedar glade and has many rocks to negotiate. Good place to draw blood if you get to dragging you’re feet.
The Turnip Bottoms is around 9 miles long when run by itself. This trail requires a few miles of the old service road before narrowing into the oak and cedar forest. It crosses a powerline right of way before heading down a rough and fairly steep trail. This trail comes out to a field planted with turnips with the creek bordering its edges. The best part of this “loop” is heading back up the hill towards the powerline…. It’s a pretty good workout and a test of will. Personally- I love this part but I understand why some would hate it. It takes time to cultivate that weird relationship that trail runners have with hills and other crazy obstacles.
Gene and Penny Britt
The World Famous Dan Bohanan
We arrived around 6 and began to set up everything in the dark. Naturally, we had no clue what we were doing so it took a while. Wilson took a few coolers with water down the course even though we advertised it as a minimal run. The forecast called for unseasonably warm temps and we knew that extra water along the course would be appreciated. It was around 7:10 before I realized that NOBODY had shown up yet. Uhhh….
But, in true Idiot fashion, several runners appeared out of nowhere at 7:16 leaving about a minute for my less than perfect trail briefing. Because we were just running for 8 hours it didn’t matter what time people started their day. Some left immediately and others waited around for a few minutes. April Wilson volunteered (or got drafted) to keep an eye on the kids while I departed for a loop around 7:45. I think Jon Wilson started about 20 minutes later.
Jenny Yarger and Tim Prososki
Norene, Tim and Jenny
I managed to squeeze in a full 11.7 mile loop and made it back to the start area around 9 a.m. This was perfect timing because my wife was just arriving with warm bacon and egg breakfast burritos. Score. So I hung out and took over for April so she could run a few miles too. It was a lot of fun to watch the other runners come in, grab some grub and head out again. But it was also a weird feeling to stay back and not take off with them. Guess that’s how it goes if you want to host an “event”.
Around 11, Charley Hogue showed up ready to run. He had already completed a “slow” 5k that he won with a time of 18:45 before coming over to the Skunk Run. Freak. It was perfect timing because a thunderstorm had just rolled through and was tapering off. It was also good timing because Jon Wilson was back to take over duties at the start/finish area. Charley and I took off for another 11.7 mile loop as Wilson fired up the grill to cook some burgers and hot dogs.
At the end of the day I had 4 hours and 28 minutes of running time and 28.85 miles. Wilson ended up with about 4 hours of running time and 24+ miles. Not bad for a couple of dudes with “other” responsibilities. It was a blast for us and several runners came in with over 20 miles for the day. Jared Smith failed to operate his Garmin properly and came in with 28.35 “official” miles. Brian Silcott from Goddard, KS. came to run and he totaled around 34 miles for the most miles and the “win”. April Wilson also “won” with the least amount of miles at 5-ish.
The “Most Awesome Blood” award was not necessary. This came as a surprise to me. Nobody fell and got bloody? Nobody? What the…. Guess nobody was dragging their feet. That’s a good thing. There were zero reports of skunk sightings which was disheartening but understandable because of the heat. We did, however, spy a skunk early that morning on the drive over. I took that as a sign that it would be a good day for all.
So…. The 1st Annual IRC Skunk Run was a success. Yep. I said “1st Annual” because we will absolutely do it again next year. Bigger, better and mo’ awesomer. Mark your calendars for next March and make travel plans to visit Ozark County, Missouri. Of course, there *might* be another event this fall. Stay tuned…..