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|photo by Brian Post
For one, the Beast course extends from Echo Lake State Park into the White Mountains National Forest. That meant a whole new level of permitting and greater logistical hurdles. Thanks to Rod Wilson et al at the Saco Ranger Station, we were able to put on the first race in WMNF in quite some time.
It was also like presenting a new event to the trail running public. Many times as Heidi and I traveled the course, previewing, pruning and finally marking it, we uttered oaths of amazement at the challenge and the beauty . As I drove around town I would look up at the course and note its resemblance to a roller-coaster with both pride and anxiety. We found that type of "alpine" trail running fun and rewarding, but would anyone else?
As it turned out the response to the Beast of the East was fantastic. The field included an interesting selection of the Northeast's hard corps: Road marathoners and mountain running elites, 100-mile racers and the boldest of rock climbers and alpinists. Despite a wet course, every runner came in safe and sound. In fact, I was very impressed how good people looked crossing the finish line. Kevin Tilton's winning time of 2:25 is stunning, though I am equally impressed by Gary Reuter's time of 4:13... He's 73 years old! To the folks who did go off course, my apologies: I will make sure to overmark those trail junctions in the future.
I am happy to say that the race was a success, thanks to co-RD Heidi Chauvin, Rod Wilson at the Saco Ranger Station, Erik Nelson of NH Parks and Rec, Sarah Garlick of the American Alpine Club, Alyssa Walker of Kismet Rock Foundation, Chris and Karen Dunn and Acidotic Racing, and Stas Trufanov and Kristina Folcik, two badass runners who gave their time at aid stations. Also many thanks to Doug Madara of La Sportiva and our other sponsors.
Expect another Cliff Run next year, and more White Mountain hardcore trail races in the future...
Gabe Flanders, RD
PS Although the long course is really closer to 13 miles, I thought it was appropriate to round up. Maybe we'll start calling it "just" a half-marathon...