Quick update for everyone: I ran the Desert Rats Trail Running Festival Fruita Marathon yesterday. This is a great spring race which offers the marathon as well as the 50k and the 50miler too. It is run on mostly single track with great desert views of the Colorado River and nearby McInnis Canyons. Unfortunately because of all the rain the organizers had to do a last minute course change to avoid the majority of the single track. We were to run two “A” loops and one short out and back. With the severe weather and the high mountain snow and with highway 70 closed for most of Friday due to the snow the race had a smaller turn out than normal.
I was ready for a good solid effort. I wanted to run fast! The race started and I put in a high tempo out of the gate. Mike Ambrose from Breckinridge hung on for a mile and then backed off. By mile 3.5 at the aid station I was a ¼ of a mile ahead of him and he was another ¼ mile ahead of 3rd place. Now was the time to keep pushing I was racing myself.
I left and followed the race flagging out onto a 3.6 mile loop (Rustlers). Unbeknownst to me and everyone in the race this was the wrong way. The flagging had not yet been adjusted. I ran the loop and came back to the initial aid station. They said we were all going the wrong way and directed me back to another trail. Was I now in last place? I did not know. As it turns out the majority of the racers followed the flagging and therefore added on the loop.
I got on to the trail. Mike had by this time caught up we ran together for a minute. From high on this trail we could look down and see most other racers on the wrong loop. Well, I guess we ALL had to do the wrong loop. I left Mike and followed the flagging, the wrong flagging once again and after 20 minutes ended up back at the first aid station… AGAIN. They told me once again to follow the loop. I knew that was pointless and I knew we were supposed to end up back at the start so I ran back to the start.
When I got there I showed the race directors where I had run and it was decided that it was more than the “correct course”, therefore I was ok. They sent me back out on course to start my 2nd lap. As I left I saw Mike finishing his 1st lap. Once again I was ¼ mile to ½ mile in front of him. I ran the 2nd loop with little problems. The race crew had put up new signage and taken down the old flagging. I finished and added on the short out and back to finish and win the race. Weird day, but everything worked out in the end!