• Moosehorn Ghost Run 2022

    Perfect day for a race through the woods!

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I've had the Moosehorn Ghost Run on my to-do list for a few years now, This half marathon is hosted by Bold Coast Runners in the Baring division of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. The jeep roads through the refuge are at the top end of my mountain biking skill (which is limited) but they make for a really enjoyable run. I've explored the network several times on my bike and consistently seen wildlife, including deer, bear, horned owls, and my favorite encounter: with a coyote puppy! 

I knew that I'd be in the back of the pack--not only are the Bold Coast Runners hella fast, but the event offers an early start for anyone running more than 11min splits. This means that I'd likely have limited chances to see some exciting critters, but that I'd still get to enjoy the quiet beauty of Moosehorn.

The race did not disappoint. It was one of those crazy Maine days when you wake up in February but enjoy a June afternoon. The morning frost made the course sparkle, while the quickly rising temperatures were very comfortable to run in. The course itself was relatively flat, not super technical, and threaded together several wetland areas. If I hadn't been behind 50 other athletes, no doubt I'd have had some kind of wildlife sighting.

And our hosts put on a well-managed race as usual. Everything was well-marked, and some closed gates were opened for us later in the race when we revisited some trail but from a different approach and in a different direction. Navigation was no problem at all. The self-serve water stations were well placed, although I'd decided to go with liquid nutrition and just self-support to keep it simple. The race is cupless and runners and their families were encouraged to bring their own plates and cutlery to the post-run potluck. 

My run felt fantastic!  I put in the first three miles with John Q. while Bea sped ahead to eventually win her age group. My plan was to hang with him for as long as possible, and while my legs were willing my bladder was not. After a quick pit stop early in mile four, I spent the next couple miles working on reeling him back in. Finally, I decided to relax a little and hang at a more comfortable pace. I was on the verge of expending so much energy closing the gap that I'd be hard pressed to maintain his pace once I caught up. I didn't wait so long for this race just to hate it once I got here. 

And it was a beautiful morning to enjoy Moosehorn. The course runs in the opposite direction than the one I've biked it in, so I got to enjoy familiar places from a new perspective. I was right that my chances of a wildlife sighting were slim, but something quite large moved just beyond a small ridge around mile eight. Not a clue what it was, but it was moving away from me with some intent. I had a long, brisk, challenging but comfortable run in along the jeep roads, just technical enough to be fun but smooth enough to move fast. 

The great weather, potluck and the community atmosphere all encouraged runners to stay and hang out after their finishes. I think that the after-party is a specific strength of what the Bold Coast Runners do--very family friendly and welcoming. If you have half a mind to make the trip to Calais for this race, I'd encourage you to do it!



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