I looked down at my watch. “8:10!” I said to myself, in disbelief. “Hey, Tim! You’re on 8:10 pace! At mile 95!” We were running down Britton Peak, heading for Oberg, the last aid station before the final grueling stretch of the Superior 100 on Minnesota’s North Shore. “It feels good,” Tim said over his shoulder, as we continued to dodge and jump among the large silvery rocks. He was his usual understated self, but I could feel his exuberant joy.
In this, his second Superior 100 race, Tim had hit a dip earlier on due to heat and fatigue, and had spent some time with his second pacer, Alli, working himself out of the trough. Having emerged from that dark tunnel with renewed optimism and purpose, he was now leading me (his game #3 pacer) through an express tour of the Superior Hiking Trail. Branches and roots crunched under our feet; the bright leaves flashed by. I feel like I’m on the Cyclone, I thought, remembering my 91-year-old father’s tales of riding the iconic Coney Island roller coaster in the 1930s. Other hundred-milers and fifty-mile racers looked at us with puzzled faces as we zipped past. “What’s up with that guy?” I could hear them saying in their heads. “He’s happy,” I offered.
Amy Beth Clark is a mom of three, writer, runner, and peanut butter aficionado who lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota. She loves pacing friends in ultras while wearing her trademark sparkly skirts.