by Chris Cloyd, Race Director (RD) for the Point Mariah Trail Marathon
The trail running community continues to show how special it is, at every single weird event I’ve ever attended in our weird community over the course of my entire trail running life. The inaugural Point Mariah Trail Marathon this month was no exception. Congratulations, again, to all of our finishers!
I first got involved with the Donner Party Mountain Runners and trail running in general because of inspiring stories of people running marathons (and further) in the mountains on dirt and crazy stuff like that – who knew people did that?! The fact that events like this happened blew my mind when I first started racing and getting involved with our trail running community and DPMR. It’s an absolute honor to collaborate with a such an incredible group of rockstar trail badasses to make this weird crazy event happen, and make days like August 6th happen for everyone involved. What a ride!
We had over 140 runners come out to run at least some part of the course, and over 50 volunteers contributed time, energy, and expertise to make this race happen. We were blessed with perfect running weather and a great course after rains the day before the event, and so many people came out to enjoy it! Race day started at 5:30 AM with a hardcore group of volunteers catching the sunrise from Soda Springs while setting up and ended around 9 PM with a Boreal employee driving over to unlock the dumpster so we could toss our trash. In between, so many of you pushed your limits and challenged yourself on our course, enjoyed a great day in a beautiful place, and hopefully had a lot of fun.
I’m so glad all of you who choose to run some or all of the course did. So many people had inspiring days out there, and it was such a privilege to watch you all run! One of our teams was comprised of 3 generations of a single family. Another was a group of 70+ year olds running as a 5-person team. A bunch of you ran your first trail marathon, and a 28 mile trail marathon to boot! I met so many couples who ran the race as a partner relay team and traded off watching the kid or the dog at our aid station while the other person ran their leg until they got whole course done together. A bunch of you were grinding out an all day affair replete with frequent stops for snacks and views (this is excellent style, in my view) with little to no concern for your finishing time. Some of you chased PRs and pushed your best performances on a really challenging course. All of you inspired me more than I can ever express to you out there, and it was a highlight of my season to cheer you on.
I can’t tell you how happy it made me to hear from Riley (our photographer) and Naomi (our whiskeytender) that so many of you stopped to swing and/or toast to friends out at Point Mariah. I’d hoped that would be the case since dreaming this event, but I never dreamed big enough to think that so many of you would enjoy the spirit of this race so fully and take a minute in a beautiful place to adore life.
This race had zero paid staff support – everything we made happen was a labor of love from all of you who volunteered on race day or helped course mark or set up the venue in advance or helped clean up after the event or helped organize the whole thing for months ahead of the race. I’m so impressed by what we accomplished by bringing our time and energy as volunteers to the idea of this event. Thank you, volunteers, for your generosity of spirit. The Donner Party Mountain Runners community gives with such an open heart.
I’m so grateful to so many people who helped make this such a special race – all of our volunteers, all of you that came out to the aid station to hang out and support our runners, all of you who ran even a leg of the course on a 5-person relay team, those of you that split the duties and ran the course as a partner relay with a friend or spouse, those of you who ran the whole damn thing (!), and our land partners with whom we worked to make this awesome course possible. All of you contributed so much energy and inspiration to this event, and each of you brought such a unique bit of personality to your contributions. All of you made this event what it was – thank you so much for being there.
A sincere and special thank you to Diane Frederic, our DPMR club President who gives so freely to our club and all we do. Without her organization and ideas and hard work this race wouldn’t have been possible.
I’d also like to thank my wife Coral Taylor, whose endless empathy and grace helped me navigate the journey of putting an event like this together and whose daily love throughout this whole process kept me inspired to step outside of my comfort zone and dream big.
I hope all of you had as much fun on August 6th as I did! Let’s keep the party going and do it again next year, and maybe make it a little weirder. Mark your calendars for August 5, 2023 and start running vert.