Half-marathoners and 10k runners gather at the starting line. Kayla Desroches/KMXT
Saturday was a crisp, rainless day, which was lucky for KMXT’s Run the Rock participants, who tackled a marathon, half-marathon, 10-k, and 5-k. The marathon began on Near Island at the Rotary Park entrance and runners continued onto Rezanoff Drive and eventually to Anton Larson Bay before returning to the golf course. The half-marathon and 10k runners both ran along Anton Larson Bay Road until their designated half-way points and them turned around, and the 5k runners headed towards town before turning back around to the golf course.
Six marathon runners set off in the dark at 8 a.m., while the 10k and half-marathon competitors took off in a group of about 50 at 10 a.m.
And two of the half-marathoners came back together. Very nearly, anyway.
Micah Burnett is on the high school cross-country team and says he runs an average of eight or nine miles a day. So, he said to himself, if he can do that, why not 13 miles?
“It was great. There’s two major hills that was a struggle, but the scenery was beautiful and I absolutely loved it. This is my first time ever running a half-marathon, so I really enjoyed it. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve only ever ran 5ks, but it was definitely a mental challenge. Like beyond the physical part, it was a definitely a mental push for myself.”
He says one of those motivations finished about 20 or 30 feet ahead of him. Coast Guard dentist, Charlie Truncale, says they even chatted along the way. He says originally he hadn’t started the race with a goal in mind, especially since he’d been injured for the last ten months.
“Early in the race I noticed I was out ahead. And so, I was motivated to just continue with the pace that was a little bit faster than I wanted to. And then a very young person came up on me about three and a half miles into the race and he kept me pushing for the rest of the race, and he was on my tail to the bitter end.”
Truncale says if it wasn’t for Burnett, he would have kept a more leisurely pace.
As for marathon runners, Matt Neagley finished second and says he and his fellow runners hooted and hollered at the starting line early that morning. And he says he feels great.
“I know I’m going to remember each and every minute of the marathons and that’s one of the reasons they’re so appealing for me. It’s just really experiencing the grip of life in slow motion time. But each marathon is different and each is an adventure.”
The first person to finish the 26.2 miles did so in a little over three hours. Anthony Saucier says hills can be challenging, and he did hit a “wall” along the way, which is when runners start to feel the wear and tear of the journey.
“The walls can be caused from anything – the amount of time on your feet to the elevation that you’re climbing and today the wall was – it wasn’t too bad, but the wall was like just coming up the backside of the ski chalet.”
He says the terrain proved a challenge.
“The hills really throw off your cadence and you just try to concentrate on your breathing and get your mental state aligned. ‘Cause you’re gonna get your second wind as soon as you get to the top and then once you get to the top, it’s smooth sailings until the next hill and then you just repeat it all over again.”
Runners headed into the Bear Valley Club House after finishing, where they refueled on hot dogs, pulled pork, and burgers. And at the end of the day, around 145 participants showed up, with a few kids and even a puppy taking part. You can find the full results here.