Time for some final reflection on the GVSR– one of my personal favorite events of all time.
If you missed any of my day by day recaps:
First off, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t at least write a few sentences about how truly fortunate I am to have the community that I do. I know just how rare it is to find such a rich and welcoming group, and I am fully aware of how privileged I am to have these people in my life. In particular– what would I do without people like Kim and Colleen?? These women have taught me so much more than they realize, and I am so thankful to have strong women like them to spend so much time with. This race was filled with happiness and good memories. I can’t think of a single negative thing to say, and Kim and Colleen are a big part of the cause of that. THANK YOU GUYS! You rock my world. I love you for being my friends that will spend hours upon hours splashing through the mud with me.
Second– let’s talk about WHY EVERYONE SHOULD DO THIS RACE. Do you love trail running? Good. Put this event on your calendar next year. The race director, Brandon Mader, and his team did a phenomenal job.
The courses for each stage were challenging and fun, and the course markings were some of the best I have ever seen at a trail race. It was clear that a lot of effort went into planning the routes and making sure they were marked extensively so no racers would get lost. We had an incredible amount of fun out in the woods every day, and even when we were tired, we had big smiles on our faces. The race really showcases some of the best things the trails in this area have to offer. If a runner doesn’t feel up for the entire 3 day stage race, they can register for a single day, which makes the event accessible for trail runners of all ability levels.
One of my personal favorite things about the race? THE FOOD! There was a home cooked meal at the end of every stage for the runners to enjoy. Not just pizza or chicken fingers (which I love, don’t get me wrong), but a legit MEAL that was prepared with love. Day one: spinach lasagna, day two: grilled chicken, mashed ‘taters, and corn, day three: rice + beans + tortillas. You know your race director loves you when his grandfather is out there cooking you lunch, y’all!
The aid stations and runner support were amazing as well. The race is sponsored by Powerbar, so of course their delicious goods were there, but there was also plenty to drink and lots of other great snacks to choose from. We were in the back of the pack and there was always plenty of food left for us at the aid stops, which is something that us turtles sometimes worry about at bigger races. Most importantly, all of the aid station volunteers were so helpful, encouraging, and kind. In particular the race director’s wife stands out in my mind– she was always SO cheerful and I loved seeing her smiling face each day.
What all this boils down to? The race director really cares. The amount of devotion he has to this race and the runners who do it is extremely evident, and I was so blown away at how much hard work him and his team put in to making the race great. This event is a real runner’s event, and it shows.
Basically? The stage racers were basically Trail Runner’s Summer Camp. It felt weird to get up today and not head up to the mountain. You know you’ve found a good event when it makes you miss spending several in the hot sun covered in dirt and who knows what else. Overall– 5/5 stars. I will be running this race for as long as I am able 🙂