(Originally Published on Runners World Loop 8/14/11)
One of the benefits of living in Arizona is that we have some real “Wild-West” history right here. One of the most famous events from the freewheeling days of the old West was a shootout in 1881, commonly called the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in the town of Tombstone, in Arizona Territory.
Tombstone still exists – it’s “The Town Too Tough to Die”. A weekend celebration included today’s 25th Annual Tombstone Vigilante Days 10k Run. Fittingly, the race course is very hilly and approximately a tenth of a mile longer than a 10k. It’s also at about 4,500 feet elevation. So those of us who run it expect a challenging race.
The start and finish lines are right outside the actual site of the O.K. Corral, and not too far from Big Nose Kate’s Saloon and numerous other establishments of potentially questionable character.
You’ve heard of shotgun starts, well this race really IS started with a shotgun blast! The starter apparently had a rough night and was still wearing his old red long underwear…
I ran a 5k race yesterday (as noted in my previous blog), and got up at 3 a.m. to make the drive down to Tombstone (I confess, I used an automobile instead of the more appropriate horse). So I was feeling somewhat tired at the start. But racing always brings on a rush of life, so I took off with a good pace early on.
The hills were rough. On the course map, there are two hills identified as “The Hill Too Tough to Climb”, and that’s not far from the truth. I also have a tough time on the downhills – I always slow down and find that they can be brutal on the knees and quads. At about mile 3, I moved into 4th place and held that position for the remainder of the race, but there were a few times that I found myself in the mental battle that is all too familiar with runners. The final stretch was slightly downhill which helped, and it was fun running down Allen Street towards the O.K. Corral and the finish line.
My finish time was about 42:10, 4th overall out of about 100 runners, and 2nd overall Master’s division. The awards were one of the most unique prizes I’ve ever seen from a race – handmade Tombstones, complete with a noose! Many of my friends from Tucson also made the trip this morning and brought back a tombstone.
My son Brad came along with me and took most of these pictures.