As I headed out on my 5th summer challenge I wondered how it would play out. Would be a horror show like #2 on a bike or #1 on foot? The big difference for this challenge was I was with runners and ones I had little or no miles with but at least a common appreciation of immoderate activities. Our group was all over the map for fitness and experience. Life funneled us all together for one common cause which was a first runner(s) finish at a bike dominated Summer challenge. Things were looking good.
Alain, Rheal, Joel and I left Winnipeg in the wee hours Saturday in the legendary Ultra van which has carried many runners to ridiculous activities. We were pumped, the weather was looking great and everyone got their packs down below 15lbs which are all you can ask. Since I mostly spend my time by myself or with folks I’ve known for years I had to keep reminded my Aries personality under control and keep it light and clean. I think I did just that by minimal standards and might get asked out again
Anyhow we left Morden early and started out on a course we pretty much memorized ( no GPS needed) with Joel’s amazing Local knowledge. That fella can sure will in the prairies with a rich history and that’s a big plus while you’re putting in hours and hours on a prairie run. The weather was amazing and the packs surprisingly a nonissue the whole run, how would have thought.
The miles ticked by fast with conversation flowing and we were quickly on our water drop for a shortstop for refills and an assault on the Pembina Valley gorge to the first check point in the park. The downhill was awesome and valley pretty topped off with a pleasant climb out.
Again I just can’t stress how unrealistically easy going the run was with everything falling in place. Part of me wanted the shit to hit the fan as usual but then I’d remember I was getting ready for a 100 mile run in a few weeks and needed an ego builder. This run along with the Falcon 50km fatass I had done a few weeks before built up my confidence to a tragically sad amount I’m sure for Lost souls.
The Checkpoint in the park was another quick stop for snacks and refocusing for the trip out of the valley back to the water stop. There was almost no traffic on the whole run except for the park with was hosting many more visitors than I would have guessed for the middle of nowhere.
Anyone who knows me well will be thinking “How many times did you offend those poor souls Dallas with your stream of consciousness chatter”? For that answer, I guess we’ll have to wait and read the other reports but I really think I did well.
So the final water stop was easily obtained and we were focused on a restaurant In Darlingford for a quick hot meal and the final push into the night to Morden. I’d guess I was at over 50 pictures into the run with my new Olympus em10 mark 2 which I had bought for a fun travel camera. To be honest I was getting distracted with taking pictures and would get left behind which gave me some time to stretch my legs.
Darlingford, man that town seen better times but even with most businesses boarded up the lawns were mowed and not a scrap of litter was to be seen, Local pride definitely makes for an enjoyable visit. The railway restaurant was fast and meals were great. Resting after 40+ miles was appreciated since none of us had gone this far on foot this year never mind with a full pack.
Heading out of Darlingfoed we put headlamps on and blinkies blinking, the night time would be our time. Pst, we owned mile 14n.
We grinded away the miles running into a few sketchy dogs (one house which had a very large kennel and sounded horrorshow like) which I wasn’t really comfortable with but Joel emitted a Jedi animal confidence so I knew we would be okay. That crazy kid has a calmness about situations that’s so contrasting to my scattered chaotic mental state. Past all that situation we could see the lights of the city and knew the journey was coming to an end.
Entering Morden everyone started talking about coffee and Mcdonalds because 15:45 of fastpacking means comfort is earned.
7ish litres of water
7 shitty granola bars
A cheese burger and fries
A couple cups of trail mix and 90 pictures taken.