How Charlie and Kevin Won the
We drove in to Mississippi Palisaides Park about 20 minutes before
the start of the race, said a few hellos, and picked up our maps.
While waiting for the start we quickly chose the order in which
we planned to get the controls, and planned out the route we would
use. We varied very little from our original plan.
We assumed it would be possible to get all the markers within the
time limit, and made no plans to skip any of them. We didn't think
it mattered which way we went first, north or south. But if we did
have trouble, it seemed the south end offered a nice road for a
As usual, the start is my least favorite part. You don't want to
go fast, since it is a very long race. but you don't want 10 people
following you around the course either. But we got lucky. It seemed
that most people headed south or skipped the control we headed to.
We jogged for a minute, but I only saw two groups walking towards
us in the distance. The rest of the day we would see very few people.
We hit 151 first, following the trail til the bend and contouring
across to the marker. During this we got a feel for how much detail
was not on the map. This would help out during the rest
of the course. From 151 we went west to the trail junction, then
went down the bluff to the southwest. We curled around the large
spur and picked up the trail just east of 122. We followed the trail
north to the reentrant and got 122.
Next, it was up to the top of the bluff. we followed the trail
around to 144, went down to the road and ran a little up to 265.
From there we went to the deadend road to the south and got in the
large reentrant that points at 142. We came out at the powerline
and trail, got 142, took the trail back around going to the powerline/trail
junction just northwest of 272. We followed the powerline to the
marker and back up to the trail to the south. We took the trail
to 102 and 254.
Then it was down the stream to 253 and the unmapped road to 101
where we made our first 5 minute mistake. Assuming there would be
a pond visible, we overshot and ended up at the road junction. it
took a minute or two to correct and another minute or two to look
in the area for the control. Then it was over the bridge behind
the building up the big reentrant, turn right up another big reentrant
and up to 202.
From there it was west along the bluff before dropping down to
the southeast tip of the looping road and up the large reentrant
to 111. That saved us doing any significant climb on that leg.
At 202 we were just under 2 hours. I had figured it would be easy
to clean the course in under 6 given how small the park is and with
only 22 controls. Earlier, I was figuring around 5 hours, but at
this juncture breaking 4 hours became our goal. I figured we had
actually already completed the hardest half. And we had hardly done
any running up to this point. The plan was to run at the end if
we had any energy left. And we did.
From the bridge at 111 we went to the top of the bluff where we
picked up another unmarked path and dirt road. We lost a little
time at 123 by dropping in early from up above. No troubles though.
Finally saw another person for the first time in about 1.5 hours.
From 123 we went straight south up to the road and through the field
to the left of the huge reentrant. That pointed us right at the
spur with the rocks and 143. We used the road to get up the steep
hill on the way to 104, where we saw 2 or 3 teams.
From 104 we went up the bluff almost to the road, and lost a few
minutes at 152. Then it was a road run all the way til a little
south of 115. We lost about 5 minutes here when I drifted northeast
and got in the wrong reentrant. I finally got my compass out! Once
again it wasn't a big problem, but we then had only 38 minutes to
get in under 4 hours.
We ran the road to 125 and went down the bluff and ran the road
to 273. My hamstrings were starting to cramp. Ihad and less than
a quart of water since the start of the race, and had eaten very
little. I had to take it easy the rest of the way.
More road to the reentrant south of the water tower where we found
a very welcome trail to the top of the bluff. With 221 out of the
way we took the trail til it bent and then crossed over to the other
side of the valley. We ended up in the reentrant east of the one
we wanted adjusted and punched 103.
We now had about 15 minutes to get the last control and run in.
We sucked it up getting up the hill and then started a slow jog
down the road to 121. We followed the footprints in and right back
out, caught the road and had about 5 minutes to get in. We didn't
check our watches at the start, so we were hoping it was under 4
hours. At this point we didn't care what our place was, we just
had to break 4 hours. It had been our battlecry for about 2 hours
and was about to become a reality. We joked alot throughout the
race and laughed when we finished. It was a lot of fun.