More impressive than ever! After the highest marathon in the world on Saturday, the second highest downhill road marathon on Planet Earth the next day: the Big Sky marathon in Montana!
I woke up on my own at 4:30 a.m. after ten straight hours of sleep. I had not slept much the night before and the marathon the previous day had tired me. Having eaten little the evening before, I had a copious breakfast after having taken my three packets of Immun’Âge® that were quite necessary for this heavy-duty week-end. I felt well rested and ready to do it again. Jeff who had driven me back to town yesterday drove me to the starting line today. He took me there with eleven runners that were privileged to have an early start for the run. Sam offered this great incentive to us runners – there were twelve of us – who had participated in many runs this year. We got to start first, thus avoiding some of the heat as well as the cars that will drive later into the park.
It took one hour and a half for the shuttle to drive us to the start, and, as yesterday, the sun rising on the valley and mountain created a beautiful sight highlighted by a herd of deer that crossed the road in front of us., We did not linger once arriving at the start as it was very cold and the run started at 6:15. I started at a slow pace as I did the day before because this course too began with a very steep hill. The run turned out to be easier than the one yesterday as we were running down the valley towards the finish in the small town of Ennis. The course counted only four or five uphills.
I was in second position for several kilometers until a runner passed me. “You are the famous Crazy Dave,” he said, “I heard about you, people start to know you in the States!” I thanked him and told him how nice it was to hear this. We chatted a little bit but he went on with a pace that I could not follow. I was in third position and ran all alone until the finish. The view of the valley was superb, and here too, I will let the pictures speak for me. I really felt well after this good night’s sleep and I passed km 5 in 33 minutes, km 10 in 1:06, km 15 in 1:40 and km 20 in 2:16. I reached the valley where I passed the half marathon in 2:23. I stopped for a while to get refueled and fill out my little bottle. The aid stops did not have much to offer that day besides water, but I managed! When I started again, I left the trail to run the road back to civilization. As I started the race very early, I did not meet many cars and it was quite pleasant. I took time to admire again this incredible scenery and take a few beautiful pictures.
I reached km 25 in 2:56 and km 30 in 3:39. A herd of antelopes crossed the road 100 yards in front of me; an American eagle and several hawks flew above me; a skunk popped up from the grass together with squirrels and other rodents whose names I did not know. Nature was blooming there and I enjoyed it very much. As time passed, there were more and more cars as I was getting closer to Ennis: This was the less enjoyable part of the run. This was a rolling course and the legs got stiff sometimes. I had slowed down my pace as I wanted to preserve my body, as I had already reached my goal.
I passed km 35 in 4:16. Suddenly, the future winner of the marathon passed me and it turned out to be a young woman! I congratulated her while she was passing me: Her performance impressed me. She left behind the first male runner who would arrive forty minutes after her! Hats off to her! I reached km 40 in 5:13. A last straight line downtown and I crossed the finish line in the Park of Ennis in 5:22:06. Sam welcomed us there and gave us our medals. I thanked him again for these two wonderful runs, his hospitality and kindness. What a great guy! I refueled myself and waited sitting in the grass for the other runners to arrive. I arrived in fourth position but the ranking would change. With both marathon times added, I should get in a good position.
This was the end of a superb if not crazy week-end. Sam was right to convince me to run the Saturday marathon as it was more beautiful (and harder) than today’s marathon.
Now I am going to rest for an entire week and recharge my batteries with delicious buffalo bison steaks. Let’s meet next week in Idaho Falls, ID. Have a nice week.