Twenty is Plenty, by Trudy Nepstad

My first marathon, the New York City Marathon, was twenty-five years ago. It had over 40,000 participants (twice the size of the town where I grew up) and trailed through all five boroughs with cheering crowds. My 20th marathon, the Salmon Marathon in Salmon, Idaho, last weekend, couldn’t have been more different: 200 runners, gravel road for 21 miles, along the Lemhi River, with cattle and horses as spectators.

But what a great event! It was very well organized and the friendliest people in the world. One lovely lady came to our hotel at 5:00 AM and drove us to the start. Another brought special beer to the finish. Friends Kathy, Laurie and I started at 5:35, with headlamps and a flashlight on that lonely road. We turned them off from time to time to admire the stars.

After sunrise, we could see the open range and the fairly flat course. There were well-stocked aid stations every 2 miles, with port-a-johns. There were even some home baked treats. The mile markers were clear, with big salmons painted on them. Some course monitors were on horseback.

About mile 18, the sun was a bit strong, and unfortunately no trees. But we hobbled into the finish and were rewarded with GREAT medals…what else? Pewter salmons! (The half-marathoners got steel-head trout, and the children, guppies.)

Salmon is sort of northeast Idaho, just east of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. We flew from Salt Lake City to Butte, MT and drove about 3 hours. On Sunday we waded in the icy river, saw a fox and deer, could see smoke from the forest fires in the distance and beautiful mountains.

That area is where Lewis and Clark traversed and the birthplace of Sacajawea, so there were many historic sites. On the way back to Butte we stopped at the battleground of the famous Nez Pierce/Chief Joseph episode. A tour though a Victorian mansion, built by one of the copper barons of Montana was fascinating (he earned $20 million a day, and that was in 1890 !!) The last stop was the Berkeley Pit, a huge open pit (1.25 mi across) where scrap iron is dumped read more at in, which leaches copper from the waste water. In Salt Lake we had a long layover which was brightened by a visit with my son Jon and his baby Daniel.

Thus ends full marathons for me! (Maybe a half occasionally)


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