the 100 mile version in the Golden State, the Mid-Western States Endurance Run). It certainly has taken on the flavor of a family reunion of my trail running friends. Even with a good number of familiar faces missing in action this year, the weekend offered a lot of what I’ve come to learn: trail running etiquette and friends that are competitive while being the kind, cooperative, caring and the very embodiment of the said etiquette. It’s a retreat away from the grips of electronic communication-overloaded civilization and nudging us to have humane conversations, and a lovely little platform to learn from the immovable mountains and never-stop-moving runners alike. The weekend also almost always offers something new, and with lessons about my own self and new friendships, this year wasn’t any different.
2013, 2014 and 2015 — this festival of trails has gone on to teach quite a bit about myself, our trail systems in Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor (I am no mountain biker and so, I don’t ride them at all) and the trail running etiquette, and brought me closer to a fairly large number of friends — from around and outside the region — that are competitive while being the kind, cooperative, caring and the very embodiment of the said etiquette.
It was about a year ago that I had the first opportunity to be actually a part of Copperman Triathlon festivities, as a (slow running) member of Two Wolverines and a Badger, from inside rather than just looking on in from the outside. And if you have been fortunate enough to be in the start (or transition or finish) area, you would be quick to know that there is more than just the colloquial meaning to the previous sentence. It was quite the experience, a memorable one at that, and it did motivate me to some day do it all by myself. I’d be completely lying if claimed that I knew that that some day would be during the very next edition of the event.
Run The Keweenaw, A Festival of Trails marks the first multi-part running event — trail or otherwise — in its entirety that I have had the opportunity to progressively and continuously build an additional stage each year. The last two editions of this event, 2013 and 2014, had gone on to teach me quite a bit about myself, bringing in me touch with a plethora of wonderful people from around and outside the region, and making the uphill portions of Hancock Canal Run course the week after seem flat or even downhill.
From time immemorial to first week of May 2010, Isle Royale National Park was something that just existed in signs (boats, roadside and in Houghton county airport), in others’ travel journals hidden in the far — and sometimes dark — corners of the internet, in photographs, and often as a figment of my imagination. And one day, in a fine watering hole that a bunch of us frequented with more regularity than the
four seasons winter of Yoop, dear friend Jaime asked Nils and myself if we’d be interested in going to The Island as part of the Queen’s crew. I don’t recall neither Nils nor I neither thinking much nor flinching before saying yes (well, it was more like YES!).
While I wouldn’t need more than the fingers in my two hands to count the number of Copperman Triathlons I have been a part of as a spectator or as occasional volunteer, there aren’t enough digits to count how many times I wanted to be part of it as a participant — at least since its 2012 edition.
Run The Keweenaw, A Festival of Trails marks the completion of a full year since I took to organized trail running, and the first of its kind — trail running of the same distance and at the same location — that I have participated more than once. Remembering how much fun it was to be a part of the festival last year — running in one part, photographing the other two, and fantastic experiences and friends gained — signing up for this year’s edition was a no brainer. Given that the event consists of three races of increasing distance and trail complexity/technicality, and taking the banked training miles into account and some advice from the race organizers, participating in the first two events while photographing the last leg would turn out to be a natural progression (and a very good decision).