Monday, April 6, 2009

Lake Pleasant Dam Good Run (Morristown AZ) April 4, 2009

Lake Pleasant Dam Good Run
There are a lot of things that make the Lake Pleasant ‘Dam Good Run’ one of our favorite local running events. It is sponsored by, takes place in, and of course supports the Maricopa County Parks. Between Kimberly and myself we use “our local parks” multiple times every week and much appreciate having them. So to me when they get a chance to showcase (if you will) a Park it’s a great thing. Plus the fact that the Rangers and folks who work for the Parks are all really great people who do one of heck of a job with the resources they are given. This event is one of the places this is highlighted for sure and I love to see the passion they bring to what they do.

I also really like the course. It combines many way cool aspects that most local runs don’t share. The biggie for me being about 2 ½ or so miles of the 7 Mile course is Trail. And cool trail at that. Aside from the Cactus ChaCha, and a couple of long ones by the Arizona Road Racers there are just not that many organized local trail runs. You also get to run across (and back) the New Waddell Dam as part of the course, and it is the only day of the year that you can do this.

Kimberly and I got out to the Park about 8:00 to check in. The race did not start until 9:00 but they have a nice little setup and it’s always good to have a few minutes to check in and say hello to some of the folks you have come to know from other races (or friends in general – Hi there Coulson family :-) ). They have a nice little setup for the races including some cool birds, snakes, and lizards which you know the young runners dig.

There are 2 courses, a 7 Mile and a 4 Mile. While the 4 Mile does get some runners, for the most part I think a lot of the Hikers do the 4 mile and Runners do the 7 Mile. Overall there seemed to be about the same amount of people as last year, maybe a little more. As a quick side, I think this year they would have gotten a ton more runners had it not been the same day as Emma’s Run, the Pioneer Days Run, the Havasu Half, and the Sabino Canyon Tucson event (see report from running friend Pat HERE).

Lake Pleasant Dam Good Run
We were running the 7 Mile course. The race started on time from the 10 Lane Boat Ramp Parking lot. You head out and almost immediately begin a fairly quick decent down toward the Morgan City Wash. While not a true ‘technical trail’ per se, with such a steep decent and the loose gravel, washes, etc you have to be pretty careful running down. When you get to the wash maybe 1/3 mile into the run the next 1/3 mile or so presents a good challenge on the ankles as you are essentially running in the dry river area and it’s that quick sand type of gravel where you sink in some. Good thing this lasts just a bit and soon you are running along water in a true Riparian area. It’s amazing how this seems to come from nowhere. If you drive around Lake Pleasant area you would never guess this type of topography could be there. It’s really nice for the next ¾ or mile or so as you duck branches, cross the creek a couple of times hopping on whatever to miss the water, squeeze between trees and the such. I wish the whole track could be this.

As soon as you head out of the Wash you begin an accent that lasts about 2 miles and 400 foot or so of elevation gain. For a bit of this you are still in the dirt before hitting the service road. While 400 feet may not seem like a lot, the steady, for the most part even, climb up sure makes you happy when you see the Dam finally and know the uphill muscles get a rest (1200 ft elevation gain and decent total for the race). Right before the Dam there is a paved quick drop, maybe 100 foot but you do it in about 10 seconds – so it is very steep (umm… nice to fly down carefully, but you know on the return you will have to climb it). You get to run across the Dam for what seems to be about a mile then return, a quick left off the service road and then a nice mostly even trail run for the last 2/3 mile or so.

The race is really non competitive, but they did do a ‘trial run’ this year for timing the folks who wanted timed. They also gave out medals for the Top 2 runners in each race (2 is odd I know?). This was nice however because I managed to weasel into 2nd Place overall in the 7 Miler this year. The medal was cool with a Lake Pleasant logo and the year customized it. Kimberly while unofficial I am sure was first among any females close to her age and about 12th overall.

We of course will be back next year. I hope the timing lines up different with the other races though as we would have loved to do Emma’s run up in Anthem and hang around with family that live up there or even Havasu would be a riot.

We finished the day by heading over to the Glendale Blues and Jazz show for some good Blues, chair loungin’ and a really good caramel apple. That’s what I call a nice Saturday.



1 comment:

  1. I wanted to do this race too. The fourth of April may be the busiest running weekend of the year.