"No, not Greenland the arctic landmass administered by Denmark, Greenland Colorado south of Castle Rock" was frequently uttered the last few weeks when curious friends and co-workers asked what my next adventure was going to be. Many of them thought travel to Greenland would be completely with in my normal range of adventure. Some day…
Ultrathoner and I were up well before dawn for my favorite pre-race pancake breakfast to fuel for the task at hand. With no traffic at that hour we arrived early and were able park in the front row. After packet pick up we headed back to the truck to stay warm since the temperature was about 30 degrees with frost on the ground. The sky was clear and it was windless which for this course was amazing. The weather forecast was completely wrong except for the temperature but we'd rather run in the 30s than the 80s any day. Last minute clothing adjustments due to the change in the weather were quickly accomplished.
The race closed out in March at 550 people for the 8 m, 25 k, and 50 k so there were plenty of people milling about waiting for the starting horn. I'm used to this many people for a marathon but compared to most ultras this was crowded.
The course is all trail in the Douglas County Open Space Park of Greenland. While there are hills the trail itself is mainly dirt and sand which makes for easy travel. The 50 k is composed of four loops of the park with start and finish at the parking lot and an aid station being the turn around point for the second and third laps. There were only two stations about 3.5 miles apart which worked out well. The offerings were poor by other races I've attended with M&Ms, chips, bananas, HEED and water being the choices. I self supported with sport beans and leftover blueberry pancakes and only filled my handheld bottle with water throughout the day.
Once the first lap was finished it was noticably less crowed as the 8 m contestants were done. The weather held up well with sun the first two laps which helped warm things up a little then cloudy my third lap with full clouds and a little snow on my final lap. All perfect since there was little wind and the temps stayed cool throughout the day. I was running this as a training run so I was happy with a solid finish in the top third of the contestants.
For an early season ultra this is a course to consider. The organization was smooth with friendly volunteers and plenty of post race food and drink. There was no swag other than a tech T-shirt but how many sample packets of gel does one really need? This was my second time racing at Greenland and I will consider it every year if it fits my race schedule.
Get out and Explore the World!