One of the season's big mountain running events, the Robert Spurr Memorial Bird Ridge race took place last Sunday with 280 competitors filling out the fields. This is the second biggest event of it's type in Alaska, eclipsed only by Mount Marathon Fourth of July weekend.
I've written extensively on barefoot and minimalist running in the past. This trend in the running culture is no secret at this point. We continue to learn that this style of running is not for everyone and, even for those who make the transition from heel striking successfully, the journey is not without risk. But for many others, the switch is a sort of re-birth in enthusiasm for the activity.
This past Saturday saw another one of Alaska's mountain running races go down and I was there for all the suffering. The Government Peak hill climb outside of Palmer took place on a sunny day with 160+ runners showing up for a record turn out. The race staged at the charming Mountain Streams Bed and Breakfast which served as the perfect gathering spot before and after the event.
As I warmed up near the starting line I tried to remember the last running race I did. It was the Autumn Classic in Nampa, Idaho way back in 1987. Hmmm… 25 years. That's a while. I've certainly done plenty of racing since then but always on a bike or, more recently, on rando skis. Now, with my recent move to Alaska and a new love for mountain running, I decided to toe the line in the first trail running event of the year, Kal's Knoya Ridge Run last Thursday evening.
I traveled to Alaska following the biggest winter on record and arrived at the start of an uncommonly long period of settled weather. This allowed me to sample some of the close to town skiing in an attempt to ease some of my regret about leaving Jackson. It's been a hard transition.