The morning started early with a 7am departure. We all packed into Joelle’s car and headed out excited for the day ahead. For some reason the car windows kept icing over and we had to stop twice to scrap the inside of the windows with whatever we could (thanks Track N Trail GCs lol) once we arrived you could feel the excitement in the air.
After a few words from James and Roger, the candle was lit. we were then given a page from this book and set off running. We needed to retrieve the same numbered page from 5 books to prove we had run the whole loop. This year there was so much more snow and with a -26C start it was COLD! My feet were so cold I wasn’t sure I COULD run. I ran the first half a loop with ice blocks instead of feet and couldn’t feel where I was stepping. The snow made getting good footing tricky at times. As we ran it began to warm up and we were cruising through each loop. 2 clockwise, 2 counter clockwise and then each runner in opposing directions just like the Barkley. The interloopal aid station was so well stocked there was everything you could want to eat. We tried to keep stops there quick as it’s easy to stay eat and visit too long and we were on a mission! On the 4th loop Taylor and I decided we wanted to run the last loop together just like last year. but like the Barkley we knew if we ran in together we’d be split apart. Luckily we had another runner come in at the same time and we were able to run together and take our now annual photo of the Out and Back section for book 2.
Unfortunately we took a wrong turn on lap 5 after book 3 that cost us about 20 min as we had to go back for the last 2 books as Stephanie Case, Canadian Barkley runner would say ‘we are LOSERS not QUITTERS’ by the time we arrived back the candle had gone out, even though we were over 30 minutes faster than last year. We are still considered finishers so no TAPS for us!
The JAJA Marathon is one of my favourite races of the year because I love the Barkley Marathons, the fun twist James puts on the race and of course the community! Every runner gave high 5’s, hugs and atta boys when we passed each other. Our run community is like a family and it was very fitting to spend Easter Sunday with my run family. The day was capped off with awards, cheering every last runner in and then the drive home. After a long day on the trails my beautiful family had supper and hugs waiting for me when I got home. Thank you James for letting me come back again this year, Andi for giving me your spot in the race(sorry your injured, heal fast) and my family for letting me run a race out of town on Easter. Until next year JAJA, I hope to see you again next year.