This is one of the several must-do races for me. I am not the fastest on the trails of all the runners. I am there just running for the views and doing the best I can based upon my abilities. It is a tough course with lots of rocks which will make it a challenge in looking up to see the beauty around me. So slowing down a bit to take in a view will be worth it. As always there is not too much to see in the dark so that gives me a solid 8 hours to focus on running and getting through the night.
Summary: (excerpt from MMT website)
"The MMT is a challenging 100 mile trail ultra over a demanding, rocky course in the Massanutten Mountains of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The course includes short but rugged mountain climbs that total over 16,000 feet. While the May date usually avoids Virginia's brutal summer weather, we have had rain and violent storms in prior years. The event is noted for its well-stocked, friendly aid stations and good course marking."
One of the significant things about Massanutten is that it is on my birthday weekend. The race starts on Saturday May 12th, I will be 39 years old. By the time I cross the finish line, I will be 40 years old, which is the starting of a new decade of running for me. I will be running in the solo division, which means no headphones, no garmin, no pacer, and no crew assistance. Massanutten is one of the only races that provides an additional award for this sort of division.
Completing the race in under 36 hours you get a pewter belt buckle. If the stars align just right and a miracle occurs for me to complete it in under 24 hours I will get the silver belt buckle.
You could call this a birthday present!! Not sure when the next time my birthday will fall on a weekend like this. So I need to stay focused for the next six months to ensure it happens. I think I might go out to Virginia for the spring training run to see the course and establish some goals.
Here is a snapshot of how my mind sees the finish line and me celebrating my birthday. Not too sure this realization will play out like this.....