(Mike Minch coughs, gags, and stumbles his way through 11 hours of insanity)
I hate Paul Hopwood. The guy passed me so many times during Saturday’s Twelve Hour Endurance Run that I could have sworn he was hiding in the bushes and letting me stumble by so he could rocket man by me again and again. I would have responded with brute force but he was so damn fast that I never had time to react. The worst were the few times I was trucking up the Hog Back and all of a sudden he shoots on by like I am standing still. David Carlsson wasn’t much better but at least he timed most of his passes when we were going down hill. I have problems with Gordon, Harald and Larry as well, but I’m a bit more used to them putting me to shame. Ed Bugarian was out there and he passed me a few times, but Ed is my age and its always great to see him tearing up the trail. There were a lot of other guys who lapped me at least once. And Earnest beat Conan. It was quite a blow. My only real excuse, I have a lot of them if you want to email me for the list, was that I was really sick with a chest cold and only showed up because I had laid down the challenge with Earnest and could not bear a no show.
If you didn’t make it out to the Twelve Hour Endurance Run you missed a great event. It was a beautiful day with lots of rain in the morning producing humidity at about 110 percent. Then is got hot and more humid as the sun began to shine into Makiki valley and turn it into a sweltering miasma filled jungle. Center Trail dressed in all her slick sticky glory for the race, with Cross over, down near the bottom of what I call Rooty Run, below the ironwood tree where you can look out toward harbor, managing to produce some great long and muddy troughs that were filled with rotten guava and pig dung. It was so thick and deep that there was no way you could make it through without coming out of it looking like you’d rolled in it. And there was that piggy perfume that clung to everyone who made it through. Needless to say it only got worse as we repeated the process in a cycle that, one by one, we would all swear was endless. ---except of course for Harald who seems to thrive on this race and has for the last few years insisted on running until the final minute regardless of the effect on the rankings. Harald’s family showed up and for no reason, other than he looked like a tall grinning swamp creature, his children shied away from him, as if they were wondering what this muddy nasty smelling madman had done with their father.
But the star of the Twelve Hour is the Hog Back. And this year she adorned herself with a great set of muddy bumps up at the top of Too Steeps and more muddy slippery track starting where you pass into The Dark Side and all the way up past Fort Tree that marks the final section to the top. There were times that one had to check the vegetation to determine if all the foot movement was producing any upward motion at all. It was wonderfully frustrating and enough to break the will of all but the most insane runners—and needless to say—we always had a good dozen and a half of those slogging around that demented circle.