For a fourth year in a row the Mines of Spain Trail Races weekend ushered in glorious, yet unexpected, August weather. Not too hot, not too cool. Just perfect weather for running some of Iowa's best trails. Following the same successful formula as 2015 the races departed from E.B. Lyons Nature Center and headed up and down the challenging trails in the park.
An impressive performance by the Quad Cities' Devin Allbaugh highlighted the racing. Allbaugh set a half marathon course record of 1:25:51, breaking Scott Gall's record by 8 seconds. Lance Cundy of Iowa City followed in 1:31:32 with Chris Nealy close behind in 1:32:04. Natalee Thompson was the women's half marathon champion, running 1:51:56. She was followed by Cate Boisjoilie in 1:56:04 and Brittany Mcconnell in 1:56:20. Half marathon results are here.
In the 7 mile race, Dubuque's Wes Anderson made it look easy by running a course record 47:31. Ilene Klassy of Verona, WI was the women's victor, also posting a course record of 1:07:41. In the 4 mile race Matt Lynch took home top honors by running 38:25. A wrong turn by the two leaders early in the race took 8 year old Jaden Merrick off course but he managed to correct himself and still finished second in 40:00, almost 5 minutes behind his time the previous year. We're confident that he will emerge victorious one of these years! In the women's 4 mile race Cedar Falls' Sophia Schillinger was the champion, running 41:49. 7 mile results are here and 4 mile results are here.
Some of the earliest finishers "enjoyed" the experience of fighting through a swarm of bees near the finish. A nest of bees in a hollow log near a bridge on the final climb to the finish was deemed worthy of protection by its inhabitants and a few early runners let out a series of loud yells and the occasional four letter word before the nest was doused with chemicals. While this was unfortunate, what was fortunate was that the bees decided not to intrude upon the kids' race the evening before.
Afterwards runners enjoyed fresh pizza baked on-site and beer. And. Both. Were. Delicious. Thank you to the Dubuque Rescue Mission and Jubeck New World Brewery for the food and drink!
We can't wait to see all of you again on August 12, 2017 for the fifth edition of the Mines of Spain Trail Races. Registration will open in mid-March again and if it's anything like this year registration will fill up very quickly. Plan to register the day registration opens of you likely will be relegated to the wait list.