The steep and rocky climb up Bat Canyon went a lot faster than anticipated, considering Sean and I walked the entire way. It helps having good company. Once I reached the turn-a-round point I felt completely refreshed and ready to tackle the final 17 miles with vigor. More position changes ensued. Several spectators filled the canyon near the aid station at White House Ruins and provided a little extra motivation for the last five miles. The excitement of finishing the very first ultra on Navajo soil was about to become a reality. Not before running the last half mile through ankle deep sand though! Soon enough the finish line was in sight and I was done.
Those four hours and thirty minutes went by so fast it felt like a dream, and I did my best to take in all the sights and sounds while having the chance to be in this special place. Not only did they give every finisher a hand made turquoise necklace, the top ten male and females were awarded with unique Navajo gifts. I came home with a really neat pair of moccasins. A big thanks goes out to Shaun Martin for organizing the event, and all those involved in setting up, volunteering and making it happen. This was without a doubt the most incredible running events in recent years and quite possibly the best trail run I have ever done in Arizona!
The race is on!
Sean and I crossing the stream around mile 20.
Closing in on the final miles.
Top male finishers at the awards ceremony.
Photos courtesy of Brian Okarski, Waukera Taylor, Luana Mitchell, Matt Kalina