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New Rock/Creek race team member Elizabeth Callaway on her 3rd F finish at River Gorge

Elizabeth Callaway sends this race report our way, after ending up on the podium in her first race with a Rock/Creek jersey. Great job!

After last year’s lightning storm and my personally hectic start to River Gorge 10.2 mile race, this year’s race seemed a breeze. The mostly clear skies and pleasant temperatures had everyone pumped to hit the trails- veterans and novices alike.

This year’s start changed from the previous edition’s course with a slightly uphill climb that thinned the field before narrowing to single-track; this prevented the chaotic bottleneck most racers dread. I think it worked well and allowed a good spacing of racers once the pack hit the Cumberland Trail.

Despite the previous evening’s violent storms, the creeks weren’t too bad. I think I even made it all the way to the creek right before the second aid station before actually sloshing through the icy water. The trails were in great condition with little wear and tear – nothing too muddy or rutted out.

Oh, the rocks! I was ready for them last year and ready for them this year too. In 2011 they more or less got the better of me. I knew that passing the first rock garden was only a baby in comparison to the mama rock garden between miles 8 and 9. Thankfully, I had the right shoes and mentality to take on those rocks and move as quickly and safely as possible without hurting anything in the process.

It’s that same mama rock garden that will have you running in the wrong direction, as I had to call back a few guys in the midst creating their own race course- one missing the white blazes and yellow flags that litter the intended route.

With the last half-mile approaching, I could finally hear the crowds, volunteers, and that crazy guy on the microphone (that would be the Matt Sims). The additional noise signaled the end of my 10.2 endeavor, a happy finale to spectacular trails and wonderful camaraderie. As long as I’m in the south, this race will stay on my short-list.

Thanks to all those who helped, especially the race director, volunteers, and the generous sponsors!

Gear worn:

And my trusty: