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Thelma & Louise, a pandemic goal

Winter was looking bleak with no races, group running events, plays or concerts to fill in the chilly days and nights. Then in December, a friend suggested we train for an all women’s race happening in May 2021.

I rallied my small group of girlfriends with whom I had been running since the beginning of the pandemic. We all signed up for the Thelma & Louise Half Marathon and began our 16-week training plan in mid-February.

“It sounded like a fun goal and an opportunity to train with a group of women friends,” said Kathy Pierson, who blazed through the course winning the 60-plus age group in a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 13 seconds. “Staying motivated during stormy weather was the hardest part. Luckily, I didn’t have to run alone; training with others helped.”

The race took place May 22 and was located in the Behind the Rocks area south of Moab, Utah. The terrain was a combination of sand, slickrock and some rocky areas with ledges.

“I thought the course was beautiful,” said Chris Perkins. “The slickrock and surfaces were really nice to run on, although the sand was a bit challenging on the climbs.”

Perkins was satisfied with her race and was pleased to have exceeded her goal.

Kerry Neet rounded out our group of four, and she is a fairly new runner who had never done a half marathon before. Neet’s background is long-distance backpacking, so the transition to trail running came very naturally to her.

“It was hard training in the winter, running in snow and very cold weather,” said Neet. “Having the RETREADS (Retired Trail Running Enthusiast Divas) to run with several days per week helped me get out when I didn’t feel like it.”

The weather in Moab that weekend presented some challenges with high winds and blowing sand. “Those last few miles with the wind blowing up dust whirls was tough,” said Neet, “but I powered through.”

With so few “women only” running events in the area, this race saw many Durango faces at the starting line. Having three distances to choose from – marathon, half marathon and 15K – provided options for all.

Many of us took advantage of the camping available at the start. This was a convenience, as the race was early and the course some distance from Moab down a long rough dirt road.

Running along the canyons, desert expanses and sandstone formations in Utah was beautiful.

“My favorite part of the course,” added Neet, “was right after the first aid station when you turned toward the beautiful sandstone outcrops with Picture Frame Arch in front of you.”

The event was very well organized by Mad Moose Events with great course markings, aid stations and race swag. The finish line provided a wonderful opportunity to cheer everyone on and see many Durango faces that had been in lock down mode for so long.

I will definitely be keeping this event on my radar for the future.

Reach Marjorie Brinton at runswim55@gmail.com.

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