Mount Rushmore Marathon

Mount Rushmore Marathon
Mount Rushmore Marathon

 

Billed as a “Monumental Challenge” and that it was! Started in a cold, overcast, South Dakota autumn morning under the Four Presidents (my all-time favorite, Teddy Roosevelt) and finished at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Mile-high most of the way — from 5,208 feet at the start to 5,885 at finish and packed with hills. Either running up or down, with very few flats. Finish was brutal — long, steep climb right up under the finish banner! Normally rewarded at that point with a downhill “swoop,” but not Mt. R. It tests you to the max until the very last step. Winner in 3:10 (Jim Eischen from Sioux Falls) said in the newspaper: “This is the toughest course I’ve ever run at altitude. The course is unbelievably hard.” I finished 67th out of 214 in 4:27. Very happy to be in top 1/3rd! Held a strong, even pace on all the hills. And lots of fun reeling in the ‘rabbits’ Mile 20 on. Wonderful sightseeing before and after at the Monuments. Don’t miss the safari from your car in Custer State Park — great photo ops of the buffalo herd (1,000 strong), mountain sheep, pronghorn antelope amidst the fabled Black Hills. The needle rock formations and ponderosa pine forests with wide, open grasslands interspersed throughout are enough to make the film “Dances With Wolves” come alive around you. The Badlands are amazing — austere, surreal remnants of eroded, ancient lake bed layered with dino bones and blazing with bands of vermilion and ochre at sunset! Back in Rapid City, caught the 19th Annual Black Hills Pow Wow. The Lakota Sioux Nation dancing in their finest regalia stirs the soul and furthers the memory and meaning of the true “Founding Fathers.” **How could Columbus have ‘discovered’ America when there were already people living here? In fact, when Columbus landed on our shores in 1492, there were more people living in the Americas than in all of Europe! Was there ever an explorer more lost than Columbus? He was searching for a passage to India and mistakenly thought he made it, hence naming the natives here “Indians.” Talk about misnomers. As my Native American teacher once said to me: “Glad Columbus wasn’t looking for the country of Turkey — or he would have named us all “Turkeys.”

“What you would destroy, you first portray as savage.” Bertolt Brecht

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember — They never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it!” Red Cloud, Lakota, 1891

“Memory says, ‘I did that.’ Pride replies, ‘I could not have done that.’ Eventually, memory yields.” Friedrich Nietzsche

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