Thursday, June 7, 2018

Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon - First Master, Second Overall

I continued my quest to run a marathon in every state by checking off South Dakota. Who would have thought I would finish both Dakotas before even starting the Carolinas?

I shared the lead for most of the race with Aaron Epps.

My friend Ken Swab convinced me to run this race a few months ago. I think it was in late fall that he dangled the idea to me and some of his other running friends. While they all were unable to make the trek, Ken had told me he was planning to go with his wife. So I talked to my wife and she had always wanted to visit Mount Rushmore. I was able to book our flight using my AmEx points, saving us roughly $1100 on airfare. And since Miles is still under 2, he can travel free as a lap child. We booked our hotel at the Lodge at Deadwood, the host hotel and where the expo is held. And soon after we booked, Ken had to back out.

Racing the Mickelson Trail

But my wife and I were looking forward to our first real vacation since our son was born: five days and four nights in South Dakota. When we landed, we went into Rapid City for a quick lunch. Then, we drove through the Badlands. We hit up Wall Drug and stopped for ice cream and the kitschiness. Then, we drove to Deadwood and checked into our hotel. Friday morning we found a small diner in town for breakfast. We toured Mount Rushmore, viewed Crazy Horse from the road, and drove Custer State Park, seeing bison along the road. We drove back to Deadwood through the Needles Highway. I picked up my packet Friday at the expo. I brought Miles and he loved running around the expo hall. Laura met us there then we went into town for dinner. I returned to the expo to look around before it closed, and met Jerry Dunn, "America's Marathon Man." He founded the race and has run more marathons in one year than I probably will run in my lifetime (200 in 2000)! He sold the race and no longer is race director, but he greets each runner as they finish in Deadwood.

Saturday we drove to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. When we returned, we took Miles to the indoor water park. For dinner, they didn’t really have great pasta options. The pasta dinner was expensive and the only sauce they had was meat sauce. The restaurant had a pasta special, but it had pork in it. They made me penne but their first try put cream sauce on it. They eventually got it right with the marinara sauce I wanted.

Waiting for the race to start

Moments before gun time

It was cold at the start, so some runners climbed the small hill next to the staging area to find the sun to stay warm. I dressed and lathered up for the race, did my warm-ups, and found the starting line. As a small race, I had time to research the competition. I was able to look up each male runner under the age of 45. Only one had a PR better than mine, Aaron Epps, and I quickly found him. I got it in my head that I should finish in the top five and even had a chance to win. Knowing the course was a gradual uphill for the first half and then a steep decline to the finish, I was prepared for a challenge. I thought a 7 minute pace would be fine, but I would realize that going up, 7:30s were more appropriate.

The first mile

Aaron and I chatted for much of the first half. A couple of other runners took off ahead of us. I fought the urge to catch them, knowing that they would likely come back to us. Since there was also a relay, I was careful not to be drawn into their pace. While the incline was never more than 3% (according to other runners and race officials), it was definitely something I noticed, so I ran on feel. If I could stay within myself and get close to the red line without going over, I would be in a good position. Aaron seemed to be quite relaxed. He said due to his job as a teacher on a reservation, he was only able to log 30 miles a week. I thought he might hit the wall, but when I learned his 2:58 was in 80 degree weather, I was decided his fade was highly unlikely. As we ran, one butterfly flew just ahead of us. We made a joke about being paced by a butterfly and not a rabbit.

Leading the race with Aaron
Around mile 10, Aaron announced he was going to stop at some point to relieve himself. I offered to wait, citing Des Linden, but he told me to go and that he hoped he would see me again. Around mile 12, he stopped and I kept going. For the next few miles, I felt great and concerned. I was feeling great because I had never led a marathon all by myself before, but I was concerned because I kept thinking I heard footsteps. I wasn’t sure if it was him or someone in the relay race. Just after the half, the uphills flattened and the downhill portion of the race began. Around mile 15, he caught me, taking advantage of gravity. We ran together for another couple of miles, but then my inner right groin started to ache. I got really worried and after a few minutes of discomfort, I announced I had to back off the pace and let him go. Worried that I might not be able to keep second place and first master’s, I slowed to a comfortable pace. I was starting to worry that I might not finish at all or would walk it in. Thankfully, as quickly as the pain hit, it was gone after a few minutes never to return. I think the switch from up to down hill aggravated it and am thankful that I was able to correct and it went away. However, I couldn’t find that early pace anymore - that gear was gone. With temperatures rising and less than eight miles to go, I was starting to stiffen.

Racing through the beautiful Black Hills

While I came through the first half in 1:38:15, I still hoped I could negative split. However, even with the downhill, it was going to be close. I would need a 1:36:44 in order to BQ again and keep my streak alive. Through the final miles, I passed several runners and walkers competing in the half. They were all very nice and encouraging. I tried not to show my discomfort as I shuffled on by and tried to finish strong. I’ve finished so many marathons. I really hoped I had a chance to catch Aaron. But, the only way that would happen was if he really hit a wall and would have to walk. I felt bad hoping for that since he is a nice guy and a good runner. But, I kept on at the pace I could handle just in case there was a chance.

Relying on an aid station

As I went through the aid station near mile 14, the volunteers handing out the water were adolescents. I appreciate all volunteers, but they were confused as I approached because they didn't hold the cups out so I could grab and go. I started to panic and just grabbed a cup on the table - but it wasn't water or Gatorade, it was full of M&Ms! Normally, that would be an awesome surprise, but since I wasn't going to stop and go back, it meant I went without liquid for four miles since the aid stations were about two miles apart.


Even if I didn’t have to slow down and let him go with about nine miles remaining, I am not sure how much longer I could have stayed with him. Maybe I would have come in under 3:15, but I am pretty certain he would have out kicked me. He’s 28, a solid 12 years younger. It would have been fun to get to the final few miles with him and challenge each other. It also would have been fun to lead the race the last few miles and hear the roar of the crowd had I been in position to win the race outright.

As I cross the finish 

As I approached the finish line, the crowd was great in cheering me on as I was announced as second place overall. I shook Jerry’s hand and bent on my knees to catch my breath. I hadn’t been this tired after a marathon in quite a while.

Thanks, Jerry, let me catch my breath!

I’m thrilled to have placed second overall. For my efforts, I received my finisher’s medal, a fleece blanket, and a subscription to Trail Runner. As I was looking to leave, I was called back to the awards tent. I had also won the Road Runners Club of America State Championship Master Division for South Dakota! That was a pleasant surprise and I received another medal - two for one race. That has me looking at the calendar for future opportunities to collect state championships. I think I will aim for some smaller races in states I haven’t run. While I do like a good big race, I also love the feeling of finishing at the top and in a position to claim a prize, or perhaps finally win a marathon!

A proper finishing photo with Jerry Dunn, "America's Marathon Man" and Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon founder

Receiving my award for winning the master's division - with race director, Emily Schulz-Wheeler

Spilts: 6:43/7:15/7:19/7:23/7:36/7:29/7:31/7:32/7:41/7:35/7:51/7:49/7:46/ 7:09/6:51/7:09/7:20/7:17/7:54/8:06/7:37/7:45/7:44/7:51/8:16/7:46/ 6:36 (1:35 final .24)
Positive split of about 90 seconds - I hoped with such a downhill second half that I could have run a negative split.

Race results

It was also fun to make it into the local newspapers. From the Rapid City Journal:

On the men's side, Aaron Epps from St. Francis won the marathon in 3:11:28. Kenny Ames finished second in 3:17:47, Chris Riley was third (3:20:27), Michael Immer was fourth (3:20:33) and James Mullen (3:20:54 took fifth in what was a competitive race for third.

Race results

Deadwood/Mickelson - Marathon Female RRCA Awards List ============================================================================= FEMALE RRCA OPEN ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Time ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 43 Elise Durgin Saint Paul MN 26 F US 3:33:10 ============================================================================= FEMALE RRCA MASTER (AGE 40 - 99) ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Net Tim ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 146 Tracy Meyerson Wilmington NC 54 F US 4:10:29 ============================================================================= FEMALE RRCA GRAND MASTER (AGE 50 - 99) ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Net Tim ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 203 Robin Schrempp Box Elder SD 53 F US 4:22:14 ============================================================================= FEMALE RRCA SENIOR GRAND MASTER (AGE 60 - 99) ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Net Tim ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 222 Susan Talon Berwick ME 60 F US 5:06:58 Deadwood/Mickelson - Marathon Male RRCA Awards List ============================================================================= MALE RRCA OPEN ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Time ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 49 Aaron Epps Saint Francis SD 28 M US 3:11:29 ============================================================================= MALE RRCA MASTER (AGE 40 - 99) ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Net Tim ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 8 Kenny Ames Washington DC 40 M US 3:17:47 ============================================================================= MALE RRCA GRAND MASTER (AGE 50 - 99) ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Net Tim ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 168 Bill Owens Springfield IL 56 M US 3:31:09 ============================================================================= MALE RRCA SENIOR GRAND MASTER (AGE 60 - 99) ============================================================================= Place No. Name Town Sta Age Sex Cou Net Tim ===== ====== ======================== ============== === === === === ======= 1 154 Douglas Muellner Long Beach CA 60 M US 3:55:29

Deadwood Mickeleson Trail Marathon

Congratulations on finishing the 2018 Deadwood Marathon

Below are your individual results.

NAME:                            Kenny Ames 
OVERALL PLACE:                     2 
AGE GROUP:                       M4044 
AGE GROUP PLACE:                 1 /   20 
FINISH TIME:                     3:17:47 
HALF MARATHON SPLIT:             1:38:25 
PER MILE PACE:                    7:33 
For complete event results, please visit:

A celebratory beer!

27 down and 23 to go!

I don't know what my next state will be. For 2018, I have already raced three marathons and only the New York City Marathon is on my calendar right now. I am planning to shift gears (no, really) and train for short distance races, a one miler and 5K, for the summer. In August, I plan to start NYC Marathon training. I look forward to checking off my next state - whatever it may be!

1 comment:

  1. Great report, but you can't claim to be an "Old Guy" until you reach Senior Grand Master status. Put another way, until Miles is about to graduate from college.