Today was the 2nd Clinton Lake 30 held at Clinton Lake State Park near Dewitt IL which is sort mid way between Bloomington and Champaign. The race is put on by the good folks at
Second Wind Running Club with help from the Buffalo Trail Tribe (Buffaloooooooo).
Last year the race was very muddy due to a down pour the day before which left streams of water and mud and very slippery condition. This year the trails were basically dry with only a few sections of mud and a few slippery hills. Parts where frozen which in later loops likely turned to mud not that I was to find out.....
Yes hills. Illinois is not known for hills and on the drive to this park past acres of flat farmland you would not think hills were there. But they are.
Getting ahead of myself here.
I left home for the 3 hour drive to Clinton Lake arriving around 6am and one of the first to arrive. Chris the RD allows for a 7am early start to encourage folks to try the race, to try trail running and/or a trail ultra. Picked up my race packet including yet another fine running shirt this time in bright red plus my lucky bib number 13. Chatted to Chris and Jeff Riddle plus the IL-DNR guy - all three plus Second Wind and the Buffalo have made this event happen.
About 25 or so folks decided to start early at 7am rather than at 8am. Due to the bad Chicago area winter my training had been non existent although plenty of runners from Chicago and did train so was the winter really an excuse !! Chris said a few words and I think those that were nervous about running a trail ultra or this trail ultra where soon at easy. With that we were off and soon I found myself at the back although a few runners decided to hang with me for a little while before finally pulling away never to be seen again. Right away this race hits a nice hill up then straight down once on the trail. This caused a jam and that was with only a few stating early but this is part of ultra trail running. This year I was keen to run more of the trail and set at least a one loop PB. The trails were definitely more runnable but the many ups and downs would get to me mainly due to that lack of training. But hey the course is very scenic with lake or river views most the way and 95% single trail. The leaders who started an hour after me finally caught me around mile 7 or so. I pulled into the start area setting that loop PB finishing around 5 minutes quicker than my Thanksgiving loop and a full 3o minutes quicker than last year's Clinton Lake. CL is a tough course. I'd love to complete the race next year and if I can go into the winter in better shape with more mileage in my legs it might be doable. I think I could have done 2 loops but was due at the Shamrock Shuffle the next day and not forgetting the 3 hour drive home!! After finishing I found Kelly Roe who was crewing and pacing for Brian Gaines. We hung out for a while before she had to do her one loop and get Brian to his great finish.
Thank you Chris for putting on the event.
Saw many people I knew at the race and meet a few new faces, sure I'll miss some but there was Chris, Jeff, Brian, Kevin,Tony, Ellen, Christine, Don, Pat - all Buffaloes
Dennis, Kelly, Brian, Juli - all ChiAs or FOC
Photos courtesy of Kelly: http://picasaweb.google.com/kellyaroe/ClintonLake30MileTrailRunMarch292008