Recognizing HURT in the Midwest

I just completed the Afton Trail 50K on Saturday, July 7th.  This is run entirely in Afton State Park, along the St. Croix River just outside of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.  Since I’ve been away from Hawaii for around 11 years and have finally gotten myself back into decent ultra shape, I proudly wore my new high-tech HURT shirt recently received from Big John.  I was interested to see what kind of reaction it drew here in Minnesota, far from my old home trails on Tantalus.

Well, was I ever surprised!  A couple of people were familiar with the HURT 100 Mile in January, and asked about that.  "No, I haven’t run it, but I’m signed up for the next one."  Two or three more people asked if I was from Hawaii.  "Yes, I used to live there, but moved to Minnesota long ago."  And the big surprise (or maybe not) was that here in the Midwest, two different people along the trail asked if I knew John and PJ.  I didn’t have the chance to get names, but I get the distinct impression that John has sold everyone he’s ever met on the wonders of trail running.  After all, he did that to me one afternoon on Tantalus somewhere back around 1983.

As for the run, it’s a great combination of single track through woods, wide grassy prairie, and steep, rocky climbs down and back to the river.  It’s the closest thing I can get to Tantalus, so I love it.  The run is two 15.5 mile loops.  My first loop was an excellent (for me) 2:55, and then about 4 hours into the run, the switch was flipped to high heat.  With temps rising to 94 degrees, I faded a bit, but ended up with a respectable  6:37 finish.

Carl Gammon (an old HURT original member)