Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Race

By Larry Miller

The Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Race is 7.6 miles of brutality and it is one of the funnest races around. Somewhat difficult to get into due to the cap on the number of runners, I was able to run this year by using a transfer of a runner that could not make the race.

The day was mid 30’s, very gray and a little drizzly at times. Fortunately the rain and sleet held off until I was on my way home.

The race is run in the State Park bearing the race name outside of Grafton, IL. The race is scenic with beautiful vistas and overviews and long, looping trails in the depths of the woods, not that I see too much other than the trail in front of me and other runners. Rocks, roots, leaves and ice were the order of the day. I witnessed a few spills but none of them serious. I did see a couple of runners being aided by the staff, hopefully their’s were minor injuries & they will running very soon.

The trail starts and ends on a short section of level trail, everything else is up or down. Most of the trail is either steep or steeper. There are enough breaks along the way to give some rest but after mile 6, a section of stairs make for tough going. I don’t see how the fast guys cover some of the areas. It seems somewhat impossible to me, but then again, I am only a mid-packer and I do not possess some of the superhuman strength that the elites do.

As I was running down the final descent the thought crossed my mind that I was about to complete a trail run without an injury but realized I still have about 3/4 mile to go so I put that thought out of my mind so I could avoid any injury, like tripping and falling right in front of the finish line.

I did finish without any problems other than some muscle fatigue and a little sweat and mud. I’m thrilled that blood was not part of my race this time. My finish time was acceptable, slightly slower than last time I ran the course. I was originally attributing the slower pace to all of the ice but as I looked at the results page I noticed several age group records were set. I’ll work on a different reason.

Overall, very satisfactory and very fun. Highly recommended but difficult to get into. Good luck and I’ll see you there next year.

Find out more about Larry on his blog: Wide Spot in the Road

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