Okay, let me just come right out and say it: Grandma, I’m sorry for ever questioning the virtues of a home cooked meal. When we arrived at our accommodations in Bristol last night, the entire city had already closed for the evening. I was exhausted, sore, and feeling sick, and it looked like it was going to be another cold meal on the bus.
But when we met the innkeepers, they offered to open their restaurant for us, which was an incredibly hospitable thing to do since they are normally closed on Tuesday nights. When the food arrived, it was absolutely magnificent. Fresh grilled vegetables, an amazing garden salad, and a juicy cut of meat. It filled the stomach, and warmed the soul. Remarkably, when I woke up this morning, my cold was all but gone! I’ll never doubt the wisdom of my Grandmother again.
I’d been told that the New Hampshire course was beautiful, and I was glad to be feeling better so that Icould enjoy it. Because we were only able to secure five permits, the field today was more intimate. We had the marathoning couple, now on marathon number five of six, and an ultrarunner in the mix. We set off in some light drizzle, but the rain tapered very quickly.
The course was all it was built up to be, and more. The setting was bucolic; we ran past rustic old barns, through charming little townships, along numerous rivers, all the while circumnavigating Newfound Lake.There were definitely hills involved, plenty of them. It was a challenging course, but the hills made the landscape all the more spectacular. Newfound Lake is one of the cleanest in the country, and the mirror glass water was crystal clear.
At several points along the course, we were greeted by the 4th grade class of Towle School. They had been following the Endurance 50 as a lesson plan, and had planned this field trip to experience the event firsthand. The students had made a number of signs and banners, and I’d love to share with you what some of them said:
Endurance is faith and spirit!
Endurance is pushing your limits!
Endurance is trying your best and never giving up!
Trust your family
Express your feelings
Roses are red, violets are blue, Dean is running, and so can you!
And my favorite Karno Kids saying: “NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE”
One of the girls had baked some homemade brownies for me. “Those look great,” I thanked her. “And guess what, Mr. Dean,” she said, “they’re 100% natural.”
All of the runners today were awesome. Everyone crossed the finish line looking strong, and one of theguys even set a PR, which was remarkable given the difficulty of the course. We exchanged some handshakes and hugs, snapped some pictures, and marveled at what a lovely day it had become. I bid farewell to the other runners and kids, and boarded the bus for Vermont feeling renewed and reinvigorated. It’s amazing what some home cooked food and some laughs among newfound friends can do for the soul.