.Fiery Gizzard Race Report – Jeff M>
Race Report: Another Fiery Gizzard in the books. Next year will have a major coarse change as some sections on private land close after this weekend.
The rain held off, humid and even a bit warm at the 0900 start time. About 125 runners took off from Foster Falls trail head, snaked around for about 3 miles until a steep rock climbing decent into the first gorge. It was relatively dry but slippery none the less. Down in the gorge we crossed a bridge and then as most trail runners understand physics, a slow rock climb back UP the other side trying to follow the white blazes on the trees. Up on the other side we single tracked around on some 3-4 miles of ridge running into the 1/2 marathon turn around and first aid station. About 2/3 of the runners turned around here at Raven’s point (the smart ones). Marathoners refueled, headed off to the Grundy Forrest Trail head but first headed out and back to Raven’s point for spectacular views, then down the Dog Hole trail that ran along the ridge/cliff over looking the gorges and rivers. At about 10 miles we again descended into the gorge, rocky but not rock climbing category but not very runnable, then along and over the creek and winding along the creek and up to the turn-around at GF trail head. Reload, short chat and thanks to the volunteers and heading back along the same trail. With about 30 or so runners doing the full marathon, it was solitary running for the most part (did I lock my car, what did I do with the car key, is that foot pain going to affect me finishing, I think I need to pee but don’t want to stop…) although we did have more hikers/dogs than last year (nicer weather, words out about trail closure). After going into and out of the first and then second gorge, the sun peeking out a bit, a few falls and sore hip flexors, finally made it to the climbers access….yes, after 24 miles they took us back down into the gorge for a final time to run along and chat with the climbers, dodge their picnics and dogs and groupies and finally….well not yet… cross a swinging bridge with an excellent view of Foster Falls, then a final rock climb up to more climbing to stone and wooden steps and finally ladder steps to the top of the gorge and then a short 500 meter waddle to the finish line.
We all made it with our own challenges. It is interesting, after a long tough trail run, almost every runner that finished (that I saw after finishing my self) did so with little fan fare or celebration but with the look that they each have accomplished something unique.
Great day all in all.
Thanks again to the RD and volunteers for a great day out in the Mid TN woods!