Everyone pretty much breaks up by the first mile and runs their own pace. This results in several small groups of different paces.
There might be a few tricky turns, but the whole route is blazed and completely followable. The only exception is a one mile straight stretch right before Mayapple Hill. I will give more detailed instructions soon, and there will be signs on race day.
"This is Watchung, not Siberia. Nothing bad will happen"...except bear attacks apparently!
so - no out and back after 280 - thats good - I will be dead by then… Just and FYI you can also download the free app called every trail to your phone. If you search lenape trail (liberty water gap trail) by sjmarano, you can overlay the trail onto a map on your phone. it seems pretty good from what I can tell and may help from getting lost in a pinch. Good back-up plan at least...
Just ran in SoMo last week for the Febapple and the trails had been pretty smoothed out by the end and there was not really any ice. With the melt all this week I imagine they are pretty clear and you can do without the spikes. Didn't see many people wearing them but did see a lot stuck in the snow or abandoned at the side of the trail. I imagine Eagle Rock would be pretty much the same as SoMo.
I think I executed my race strategy perfectly. Nothing you can do about Dante (except shoot him and I really don't think felonious behavior is worth a podium finish, just me). McNutlty was a wild card. The man is a human snow plow (amongst other things). And since Harry H., Julian V. and Elizabeth C. didn't show, that just left Jason F. and Jay L. to beat me.
So I casually obfuscated Jason at the ticket machine as the train was leaving without him. One down. I knew that Jay had a bum knee, so I had to figure out how to turn this to my advantage. He didn't want to run on the soft snow or on the inclines so I made sure to run in the snow and up the hills when I was next to him . Jay dropped at Aid Station #1.
All that stood between me and the podium was this very nice (and strong) Latina woman. If I could separate from her in South Mountain, I was confident that she would need to stop and various intersections and turns in the trail since she was unfamiliar with SoMo.
I thought I finished 2nd, but some bum "forgot" to record his finish on the timesheet in the RD's Jeep (as instructed by the RD before the start). Oh well, 3rd place in 8 hours and 30 minutes. 1.5 hours longer than last year but a hell of a lot tougher sledding out there. How the heck Dante finished less than 25 minutes of last year's finish is incomprehensible to me. I should reconsider taking that felony charge next year.
Thank you Chris. Thank you Aid Station Ladies (and Jules).