Coal Creek Cross Country Challenge
By Bruce Kirschner and Randy Luallin
This was one funky deal. Twenty-five race participants had a new experience with a CMRA inaugural event. A true cross country race, the Coal Creek Cross Country Challenge was the first of its kind for CMRA.
Starting at the Coal Creek Trailhead in Louisville, the course meandered east toward Lafayette under a train trestle, through a tunnel, up a steep hill, over two bridges, and through several livestock gates. But the fun REALLY didn't begin until after the turnaround at the trail's eastern end. Runners then had to maneuver across Coal Creek (not too deep, but too wide to hurdle!), traverse a grassland (where they spooked a herd of horses who scattered for cover), hopped over a barbed wire fence, trudged across a long freshly plowed field, up a precipitous grassy knoll (with two hidden trenches) before meeting up with the trail again. Had there been snow the night before as the weather forecast predicted, this race would have been a real October treat (or trick for that matter)!
According to some race finishers, the challenging course (brainchild of co-Race Director Randy Luallin), should have been even more of a challenge. Shouts of let's have a ring of fire! for next year's event were heard after the race. The consensus was also to leave the race distance unique at 5.41 miles.
Overall race winners were Neddie Legg and Randy Luallin (hey, is it okay for the co-Race Director to win his own race?). Tom Bailey showed up a bit late to make the official start, but ran a delayed start all by his lonesome self. He finished in 53:28 to take second in the 70+ age group even though we suspect he took a longer route.
Todd Salzer showed up to run with wife Carly but realized that he had left his running shoes at home and had only clogs to compete in. Not to worry --- co-Race Director Bruce Kirschner shares the same 10½ running shoe size and was wearing his best shoes that morning. A switch was quickly arranged. Todd ended up finishing in third place overall and Bruce ended up getting his soggy mud-caked shoes back (hey, those clogs were comfy!).
Lest we forget -- congrats to Jim Peterson for the Coal Creek Challenge being his 1,000th race since 1984!
Many thanks to all the volunteers. Rosalia and Jerry Murch did a fine job with the registration. Pat Phillips jumped in to handle timing and finish line/scoring duties with refreshments guru Joe Baird. Other volunteers along the course and at the finish were Rollie Erickson, Aron Kirschner, Jerry Stephenson, Vera Stephenson, Randy Brenimer, Nat Pierce and friend Kate, and Joan Hannum. Craig Cambier ably handled the pace bike assignment. Most of the Luallin family came out in force to support the event, with Donna Luallin (mom), Lori Dill (sister), Gary Luallin (brother), Luke Luallin (nephew), and Caleb Luallin (son) helping out. Our appreciation to the Blue Parrot Restaurant and the Great Harvest Bakery's Ed Avery for prize drawing merchandise. A very special thanks to O'Dell Brewing Company Sales Manager Rick Newell who distributed beer samples to participants and contributed t-shirts, six-packs, and hats to the prize drawing!
For those that missed the fun, hope to see more of you next year!!