Trying to schedule a friendly get together in the past four months with Monique Young has been no easy task. In order to meet her weekly mileage goal in preparation for the 50 Mile North Face Endurance Challenge, her days started at 5 a.m. and ended at 8 p.m. But waking up and going to sleep that early to get enough miles under her legs has been worth the trade off for her.
While she described the course through the woods of Algonkian Regional Park, her face lit up. “Amazing” was a common word for Young to describe the mostly dirt and gravel course that she said smelled like honeysuckle.
[button-red url=”http://results.bazumedia.com/event/results/event/event-4201″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]While Young left road running for trail running to be closer to nature two years ago, the North Face Endurance Challenge marked one of several 50 mile trail races that she has completed.
Laura Coogan, first place finisher in the women’s marathon with a time of 3:57:31, conveyed a similar nightlife situation—which she said has been on the decline since college. While balancing a time-demanding training schedule and nursing school life, Coogan took great delight in indulging in the North Face Endurance Challenge post-race festival, which consisted of ice baths, food, beer and many other activities.
“It’s like a big party,” Coogan said. “Except that you have to run a marathon. But at least you earned that party.”
The North Face Endurance Challenge consisted of an entire weekend of trail racing. And with a eight different events, including a 50 mile, 50k, marathon and marathon relay race, there was something for everybody.
All that George Johnson could remember from last year’s North Face Endurance Challenge marathon relay were trees, shade and cool temperatures. But all that Johnson could remember from this year’s race was the sun beating down on him.
While Johnson appreciated the lack of rain that muddied up the course in last year’s course, he said the start and finish that took place in an open field with no shade was quite the challenge this year.
Above the Potomac River, the well-marked courses included three miles of tip-toeing and hopping along bluffs on the River Trail with climbs up to 300 feet. In return for their brave climbing skills, the shaded areas of the park blocked them from temperatures that steadily rose to the mid-90’s.
Potatoes, salt, chicken broth and chips were served throughout the race to keep runners fueled. Gallons of water and sport drinks were guzzled down all in an effort to conquer the heat and finish the race.
Among the several local note worthy athletes that competed in the Endurance Challenge included Elite Ultra Runner Michael Wardian of Arlington, Virginia, who took first in the 50 mile race with a time of 6:45:36. In the women’s 50k, Rachel Clattenburg of Washington, DC won first place with a time 5:05:05.