Under clear and cool conditions, we started down the road on the Casper Marathon to the cheers and hollers from the small crowd that had gathered to see us off. Today’s group was smaller, with not all runners intending to do the entire marathon. As we covered the first few miles, herds of antelope bounded through the fields and across the roadway ahead of us. With the deep blue sky above, and the miles of open expanse ahead, it seemed a fitting start to a marathon in Wyoming.
After winding through the hills for several miles, the course dropped down to the Platte River and followed a path along the water for much of the way. The mountain peaks in the background were still covered in snow from a storm that had passed through the area last weekend. Temperatures were cool with very low humidity.
The group today was strong, all of the runners being experienced marathoners or ultramarathoners. We moved a good clip, especially given the elevation. At the half, one of the runners, who had just run Boulder Backroads with me the day prior, peeled off. He looked good, but wanted to save his legs for another race.
The second half was flatter and we ended up running a slight negative split. The tempo was much fasterthan what I had envisioned, but the group seemed comfortable running at this pace, even as I gasped for air trying to keep up. When we got to the finish, the 4th grade class of the North Casper ElementarySchool was waiting for us cheering. After crossing the line with the marathoners, I circled back and did a dash to the finish with the kids, which they loved, but I think I loved even more.
The racers all received their finishers Medal, and we spent some time chatting and snapping photo’s. It was a great group, four of whom had driven from out of state to run today. The stories I’m hearing of overcoming adversity and perseverance continue to amaze me. Every runner has a story, and today in Casper I was reminded of how much strength and inspiration we can garner from learning about each others struggles and triumphs.
Keeping the spirit alive on the long road to South Dakota.