I should have known and I should have paid closer attention to the confirmation e-mail when I signed up for this race. I looked at previous times and thought “OK, looks pretty tough.” But I thought, “how tough can it be?” Here’s an excerpt from the confirmation e-mail I received:
If this is your first visit and you are expecting a big, glitzy expo, or a flat fast course…You are in for both a shock and a treat…Camp Rockmont is one of the most beautiful pieces of land you will have the pleasure of running on….…and the course is…well…NOT flat. The course itself is challenging to say the least…It is a clockwise loop across two rock outcroppings on the property. The elevation gain and loss is somewhere in the 1500 foot range…The footing ranges from lovely groomed gravel road, to atrociously loose scree and almost imperceptible trails. We have had one of the wettest Spring seasons on record…so, the trails will be a bit of a muddy mess in places…and the rock faces will be slick and dangerous…be careful!
I think, everything is relative. But these people are not joking. This was the most grueling race I have ever done. Camp Rockmont is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacularly beautiful places I have seen. There are lots of nice spots in Western North Carolina but this really does stand out.
The race starts with a long uphill. I could run for about two miles or so and then I (and everyone else around me) had to walk. I estimate that I was “hiking” for about 1.25 to 1.5 miles. The peak is absolutely stunning and worth doing this race just to experience that. But then the descent is as warned — almost imperceptable, slippery, rocky, muddy. Impossible for me to run (call me a wimp but the realistic chance of twisted ankles and broken bones make me more than a little cautious and, therefore, slow).
I finished at about 1:31 (yes that’s a 10k — actually, according to my Garmin it’s less than 10k).
After experiencing that it makes me think, “how did Shiloh Mielke do this in 43 minutes?”
Photo of Me Reaching the Top. Don’t let the picture fool you. I look better than I felt. I was surprised by the view and the photographer. Courtesy, Chris Brown Photography (yep — he was up at the top!).
For more on the race, go to www.rock2rockrun.com