Rock/Creek Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race – Raccoon Mountain (Stage 1)

Just a quick note – not a full race report. That comes later.

Good weather for a run. Well, for mid-June, at least. After saying ‘hi’ to a few familiar faces and rubbing elbows with a few new ones (and seeing a famous runner – Annette Bednosky!), we gathered near the start for a few announcements and such then headed out. I did not go out as hard as I usually do, so combined with little breathing room and a quick turn onto the single-track, I was behind more guys than I wanted. I stayed with this small group for almost two (2) miles before I surged a bit and got separation. From there I just continued to run my own race until Trapper Presslar came flying up after the second aid station at Mile 8. We ran a good chunk of the rest of the race together trading pulls until he could not stay with me on a series of climbs. A Rock/Creek runner (Kevin Boucher, maybe?) flew by me on a downhill section with about six (6) miles to go and just kept going. I was alone until the last couple of miles when I could see a guy about a minute up the trail. I went after him and just about caught him but ran out of real estate finishing ~8 seconds back in 13th for a 2:21 first day. Ate and drank a bit. While sitting on the curb, a guy said ‘hey’ and sat near me. ‘It is Mark.’ ‘Ok.’ Then I realised that it was Mark Hekman! He used to race for the Mountain Khakis Pro Cycling Team with Adam Myerson, so I knew who he was from running into him at a few races. We chatted for a bit. After giving up the fame and fortune that comes with being a pro crit racer, he turned to running as a new challenge. He picked a heck of a race to start out with! I packed up the moto to seek out a shower and food and here I am…

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