On Friday, 12 September I visited the Redwood National park tourist information office in Crescent City. Allan had mentioned something about a half marathon and 5k run in the Redwood Forest and I wanted to find out more. I met with Debbie, one of the organisers, and she confirmed the event and said that If I could get there in time she would waive the fee. The only problem was it was about 55km away and there was a 1000ft plus hill in between us.
I was really meant to be resting at this point but the thought of a race through the woods was too inviting and the timing seemed too good to be true. It took seconds to make the decision and after a quick stop to get lunch at Subway I was on my way.
The first hill was a killer. It just rose and rose and gave no signs of ending. Every time I thought I was getting to the top it just continued. As painful as it was the scenery made up for everything. The trees here are immense. Large Redwoods towering straight up in to the sky, majestic and proud.
After every good climb there is a descent and for cyclists that is great fun. For a runner it can be as difficult as going up. Each step you take jars your legs and knees and there is a constant pull of the stroller. This hill was made particularly trying as I had my first puncture… I have managed to make it 1200km without a puncture so I shouldn’t complain. This was very definitely human fault as opposed to the inner tube failing. When I investigated there was a plastic cap with two pins sticking straight into my tire. Luckily, after many years of commuting on a bike the stop was brief and I was soon back on the road.
Despite this little upset the rest of the day was great. I stopped at a little jerky house where a lady not only let me taste the different smoked salmons they had on offer but gave me money for an iced tea…
Just before I arrived at the campsite Allan appeared on the hill behind me. After about 4okm I was starting to fade and the unexpected arrival of company gave me the motivation to make it on to our final destination.
After a quiet night in the campsite I got up ready for the 5k run. While I was really wanting to take part in the half marathon I let my mind make the final decision. The Park Rangers very kindly set up a press meeting for me with the local paper and once that was finished I was on my way.
The race was very relaxed and I made sure that I left my competitive nature in the tent. I was here to enjoy myself and at the very last minute Allan decided to enter as well.
All in all a very cool day. If I am honest I think the challenge of running 50km to the race start was what thrilled me the most.
I took the rest of the day off and did the usual unpack everything and then repack it in a very slightly different order. It may sound like madness but each time you do it the whole operation of setting up camp and cooking becomes that little bit easier!