This was it..a classic Salt Flats year. Great running temperatures, spotty rain, a few hours of wind, and a great success ratio for both distances. We saw several "first timers" succeed at their chosen distance, and some veterans have to dig deep just to finish. The terrain lived up to its subtle reputation, and the last climb from 82 miles to 90 miles had many 100 milers using a wide variety of colorful language to describe their feelings. 50 milers also had some fun on the descent from the mountain pass at mile 42. Ray Smith, our Logistics RD along with his kids, and my two sons-in-law, did a masterful job ensuring the trail markings, "Honey Buckets" and Water were placed and then retrieved in record time. Chriss had everything organized for the volunteers, and they all received great compliments as they were enthusiastically engaged with each runner, with Aid Station 13 edging out a "win" with their Pizza Oven, party lights, and music rocking the 90 mile mark! Our support teams from Elko SAR, South Jordan Police, and Salt Lake Ham Operators were brilliant and we were able to keep runner progress posted to the web (once we fixed a URL issue).
We learn more each year, and this year was no exception. It's always fun to realize how much we can improve, and we start planning for next year even before we've packed up and left the salt. We'll continue to refine and improve, so every year we can make the experience better for everyone.
As always, the most enjoyable part of the entire experience is seeing runners finish. The crossing of the finish line is just a single step, but it represents the triumph over the mental and physical battles that rage during an ultra-distance run. I was able to stand at the finish and welcome each runner across the line, and that makes the effort of putting the run on worth it. A big thanks to everyone; runners, volunteers, SAR, Comm, friends, and family who come together to make this happen. It's a monster effort, but it's all worth it when the medals and buckles are handed out to very tired, but very happy runners!