On Saturday, July 9, I participated in the Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon, 13.1 miles. Runners started in Savoy and followed Highway 14A, Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, to the Spearfish City Park. This is a slight downhill road race with amazing views along Spearfish Creek. The race entry was $55 and is an annual fundraiser benefiting the abused and neglected children through the Northern Hills Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Program.
As usual, I have a lot to say and will cover the whole weekend, we made it into a mini vacation. Spearfish is about 5 hours from Hazen and it is one of my favorite places to visit. My husband, nephew and myself left from Hazen and met up with my sister and two friends who were driving together from Fargo. We met in the tiny town of Amidon where there isn’t much but there is a bar! It’s called Mo’s Bunker Bar and we stopped in for a beer on this hot afternoon as they were opening at 2 p.m. They had Shake of the Day and my nephew won! This rarely happens. I have never seen it done (you have to roll five of a kind in one shake) and this was the first time in the 2-year history of the bar someone won. So, we obviously celebrated. A few beers and a shot later, we were on the way to Spearfish (I wasn’t driving).
We got to Spearfish at about 5:30 local time. I wanted to drive out and see Highway 14A so I knew where/what I’d be running. We went about halfway or more up the highway until I realized we were almost out of gas and running short on time. We turned around but it gave me a very good idea of what the last 7-8 miles of the run would be like. We fueled up and checked into our motel. We stayed at Bell’s Motor Lodge Motel – a tiny place on Main Street right off of downtown Spearfish. The place was a bit older but super clean, nice and cold and had an outdoor pool. The rates were cheap (especially since this is high season) and accommodations great. Our room had cable, a nice big bathroom, microwave and a fridge. They even have kitchenette rooms you can reserve.
The guys loaded me up to go check in (also very close to downtown and our hotel) for the race.
PRE-PACKET PICK-UP will be Friday, July 8th, 2016 from 9 am to 7 pm at the
NHCASA office 741 N 5th Street, Spearfish
OR at 6 AM at the Spearfish City Park the day of the event.
I got my bib and race t-shirt from a very kind volunteer. Leading up to the race I was very nervous for the hot forecast. I typically run before work which means nearly all my runs are done in the dark, cool, humid times of 0430-0445 until about 0530-0600. On the weekend, I usually run when it is daylight, but still in the cool mornings. Race morning in Spearfish called for temps of 75 at the start time of 0730. I was very concerned. The volunteer kindly told me that since we were starting up in the canyon, the temps would be more like 57-58 degrees. I was so relieved. The route was all downhill into Spearfish and we would end in the city park. As we got down in elevation though, the temps would rise and it would be about 80-85 degrees. Yikes. I made sure to drink at least 4L of water Monday through Friday prior to the race.
We met up with the ladies once again to get some dinner. We went to Dough Trader Pizza Company. I highly recommend this place if you are in Spearfish. We love their wood fired pizzas. The outdoor seating is great and service is quick. We enjoyed 3 different kinds of pizzas and some $2 PBR beers. I considered it all to be carb loading. Haha. But seriously, I tried not to eat anything that was TOO cheesy, greasy or spicy. I really like spice but toned it down. The ladies were going to head to a brewery and our group decided to go downtown to check out Downtown Friday Nights. The Spearfish business association puts this on for most Friday nights throughout the summer. They close off main street and have bands, vendors, food trucks, beer stations, kids games and more. It is a great idea! After checking that out, the guys went to a sports bar to watch some UFC fights and I went back to the motel to get a good night’s rest.
My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. so I quietly got ready and went outside to eat two pieces of seedy bread with peanut butter and drank a bit of water. I woke up my husband at 0600 to drive me to the park and said see you in a few hours! I got to the park at 0615 and the buses were leaving at 0630 to go up towards Savoy where the race would start. There were about 300 people running the half. In about a half hour, we pulled off the road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere at 0700. There was a water station and a friendly woman volunteering who told us the start line was just a few yards up the road but we didn’t see anything. I was expecting like an arch with a chip timing pad or something. There were also no porta potties. I was OK with that as I had taken care of those issues at my motel. HOWEVER, many of the 300+ runners were looking for some relief. The volunteer pointed the crew towards the beautiful Spearfish Canyon Lodge who opened their facilities to the runners. Apparently, there were new owners to the porta potty business and they were running late. Whoops. They did eventually show up about 10 minutes before the start of the run.
I checked my bag with the same woman volunteer. We just threw them in the back of her SUV and she’d drive them into town. We walked up a few yards to see a white spray painted line about 6’ long with the word START on it. Here is the printed schedule that was posted:
Half Marathon Race Schedule:
- 6:00 am Check-in begins at Spearfish City Park
- 6:30 am Check-in ends
- 6:35 Last bus leaves from Spearfish City Park to take runners to the start line in Spearfish Canyon (Savoy)
- 7:30 am Half Marathon begins at Savoy in the canyon, ends in Spearfish City Park
I suppose that will be part one…this is already getting a bit wordy….