Rockin’ K Trail 50-Mile

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By Elden Galano, RD

The day we did trail work out at the Big Bluff Loop, we were discussing how dry the conditions were. That was two weeks before Rockin’ K Trail Run 50-Mile. Then it rained some, but the course was in great shape when we marked it Tuesday before the race. The dust had settled, there were one or two moist spots and the water crossings were full. It started raining just as we were finishing up marking and continued to rain quite a bit Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday, the day before the race, we checked out the course and it was still in pretty good shape. But the forecast was for rain starting at 4 a.m. Saturday. Race day.

The thunderstorms arrived right on schedule. Pouring rain with lightning. We set up race headquarters quickly. Runners began arriving and checking in, but a good percentage avoided the rain and did not show. Come race time there was still considerable lightning in the area so we delayed the start, kept an eye on the radar and watched the sky.

After a 30-minute rain delay, the lightning had passed, and the race started amid a light rain. Out of 118 registered runners, 68 marathoners and twenty-one 50-milers headed down the first hill and into the early morning light. The temperature was great for running. The rain continued until about 10 a.m., 2.5 hours into the race.

The expanse of prairie and Lake Kanopolis that makes up the Rockin K course. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography

Runners navigate one of many water crossings on the course. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography

It was a tough day out at the Rockin’ K races. The storm dumped a lot of water on the area, making for wet and slippery running—and cold, miserable conditions for the volunteers. A year to remember for sure!

I had to disqualify several people this year from the official results, due to not running the proper course. Some may have even run longer than necessary, but missed key points on the course to qualify for an official finish. A few others ran the wrong way, but went back and corrected their mistakes, avoiding the DQ.

The conditions were tough this year, making parts of the course confusing at times. We try and do everything we can to ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable race. It is, however, up to each runner to pay attention to the markings and their surroundings.

Chris Greer is one of only six people to finish the 50-mile event in soggy conditions. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography

Jeremy Morris wins Rockin K for the sixth time in eight years. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography

Mindy Coolman is the first and only woman to finish the 50-mile race. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography

Overall, this year went really well, and we’re pleased with how things worked out. The weather played an important factor, for the race as well as race preparations and post-race activities. Sixty-one runners finished the marathon out of 68 starters. Out of the 21 runners in the 50-mile, 15 stopped at the marathon distance, while six finished the full 50 miles. Jeremy Morris finished first in the 50-mile in 8:47:01, and Mindy Coolman was first female in 11:08:42.

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