Blaine and SusanI had the privilege of running the final edition of the Ghost Town 38.5 this January, and it was a lot of fun and involved eating a lot of really good food…well, at least before and after the race. There was plenty of food available during the race as well, but I didn’t eat nearly enough while I was running and nothing that I hadn’t carried myself.

It’s a shame that this was the last year for the event, and I hope that at some point in the future it can come back, but at the very least I was able to make my way out and experience it while I still had an opportunity, so thanks to Susan for accepting my application and inviting me to take part this year.

The race was actually my first attempt at running at elevation, and I did pretty well. I managed to win the Marty Duchow Award, which goes to the first person that lives below 1000′ elevation to cross the line.

Other award winners were:

  • First place Male: Jason Koop (CO) – 5:06:54
  • First place Female: Kari Fraser (CO) – 7:07:35
  • The Jeff Johnston Award for the return runner with the greatest improvement: Brian Pilgrim (NM) took 4:28:25 off his time from 2010 to 2011
  • The Martin Luther King Day Award for the runner finishing in the same place as the date of the holiday – in 2011: the 17th finisher: Ed Craighead (TX)
  • The oldest finisher under the clock on the complete 38.5 mile course: Jean Jacques d’Aquin (CO) – 71 yrs. old – 10:41:00
  • The Bill Halm Award for the winner of the DoubleMasters – Bill Halm (NH) – 83 yrs. old – 8:30:04
  • The Mamaw Ruby Award for the finisher in the place equal to Susan’s age – 2011: 57th finisher – Iliana Dimitrova (NY)
  • The Jason Taylor Award to the first finisher who is in his or her first ultra at GT – James Darnold (NM) – 6:04:27

I like the unique nature of the awards and how past runners that did something memorable are remembered from year to year because of these awards.

Here’s my video race report of what the race was like:

Video Transcription


Other Thoughts on the Race

Here are some other thoughts that I have had on the race that couldn’t fit into the race report, which was already 15 minutes long.

Along with all of the great food, there was also some great swag. Granted, some of the raffle prizes such as the soiled gloves were more humorous than useful, and some items were both humorous and useful such as a backpack used as a gear drop bag that still had a used gel packet in it from the previous year, but there were a lot of sponsors for the race that provided items for us.

Pretending to Eat a RistraFor example, we got some great tote bags with the race logo on them, and every finisher got their choice of Moeben Sleeves in various sizes and styles (I opted for a pair of sleeves that are blaze orange for next Autumn.) We all also got some magazines and gift certificates and as I mentioned some folks got to take home some valuable gifts from the raffle. The folks that won awards also got to take home a chili pepper ristra, which is a fun (and tasty) prize, if a little difficult to travel with.

I especially wanted to thank James Darnold, Jim Breyfogle and Ryan Holler as I spent a lot of time with them out on the course at various points throughout the race. They provided some good company, as did folks too numerous to mention after the race and at the various functions throughout the weekend. (Well, I could list them, but you could just click on the race results link and the lists wouldn’t be too dissimilar.)

I also wanted to thank all of the volunteers, because without them this race wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. They cooked our food, they made sure we were provided for at the aid stations, they cheered for us all by name as they crossed us off on their checklists…which was actually a really nice touch, to have them all know your name as you run up and call it out. There weren’t very many spectators on the course, especially as they were only allowed in the first and last 7 or 8 miles or so, so having somebody to call your name was great.

I also wanted to mention my one real animal encounter while I was out on the race course, which was with a cow, and it came at the end of the race as I was running back on the road. The cow was on the far side of the road looking at me, and then it glanced to the right and to the left and went back to looking at me. Once the car that was coming up from behind me had passed it, it looked to the right and left again and then sprinted across the street and disappeared down a trail.

I’ve never seen a cow before that knew how to look both ways before crossing the street.