For the third year in a row, I find myself registered for a unique local event: the "baby" edition of the the Blackfoot Ultra marathon, a 25 klick slog through the rolling, often wet-and-muddy hills of a nearby nature preserve. Where I can usually run a half marathon in around two hours and change, this slightly longer race has turned into a nearly four hour plodding endurance adventure through rough grass and gravel trail, alongside marshy lakes, and spring-time boreal forest.
Or, as the website describes it:
A fantastic spring race to test your fitness and prepare for the mountain races later on in the season! The race is run on the beautiful trails of the Blackfoot Recreation Area located just 40 minutes east of Edmonton, Alberta.
Following a deep-winter respite and conditioning regimen, it will mark the first milestone in a planned goal of the Chicago 2020 marathon in October.