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END-SURE Director's Cut (Part 2)

FYI: All of the people helping to facilitate and direct the events for ENDracing are part-time. This means we all have other jobs, responsibilities, and families capturing our attention. I'm the oldest of the race directors. My children are adults and live in opposite parts of the county. This provides me with flexibility to devote energies to events that never seem to be the same, such as END-SURE.

FIRST: In every event I direct, volunteer, or participate I find something meaningful. I've have come to embrace what I cannot change (which is a lot!).The 2019 edition of END-SURE to this point has developed my skills in snowshoeing, allowed me to learn about packing snow, and brought me into the beauty of blizzards, powder snow, ice, fog, melting, sloppy dirt roads, and unique siting too numerous to mention. When I don't fight the process I have energy to absorb part of what nature can teach.

SECOND: If you have never run on deep snow which has been packed and is a stage of melting here are some things I have learned:   

  • Snow conditions and consistency change constantly depending upon sun, wind, open country, or forest. 
  • Cold, powder snow responds differently from warm, wet snow.
  • Footsteps tend to provide a "pot-holded" surface in comparison to snowshoes.
  • There is little "push-off" on snow, especially when wet.
  • Getting off the packed trail will be immediately noticed.

FINALLY: END-SURE will be a unique adventure. It may be the most difficult, frustrating, unique, physically + emotionally challenging thing you have done in recent memory. You may use muscles that haven't been called upon in years. You will get wet, post-hole, get muddy + gritty, and wonder why you signed up for the event. You may long for past years of running in the Sheyenne National Grasslands on the North Country Trail. Come and embrace what the day, the distance, and nature provide. I have learned to place less value on finishing and more value on discovery.

 

END-SURE Director's Cut (Part 1)

It was March 2013. After parking in the North Country Trail lot along Richland County Road 23, I boarded a school bus en route to an unknown place. The bus windows were frosted by the anxious breathing and conversations of the participants in a new event: END-SURE 50k. Off the bus, using a semi-private, natural bathroom, and moving toward the start line it was announced that the temperature was -10F. Soon I was moving forward with a line of people following a snowmobile trail winding across the wind-swept prairie. After 24.5 miles of running, post-holing, emotional highs and lows, and hypothermia I said, "ENOUGH!" The deep cold inside of me lasted for hours after the snowmobile ride out of the Sheyenne National Grasslands. 

2 statistics worth noting: The average pace per mile for miles 1-18 (16.5 minutes). The average pace per mile for the remaining miles (29.25 minutes).

Why not sign up for the 100k (new distance) in 2014? There were some snow patches, icy sections, and cold puddles. A strong wind came from the east-south-east and there was plenty of sand. I completed the distance late night or early morning depending upon your clock perspective. In the final 15 miles I was accompanied by 2 skunks and choruses of coyotes yipping in the distance. The cold puddles felt great on my blistered and burning feet. Andy and Grant were at the finish with a couple brats and hardy greetings. During the next 10 days the skin on the bottom of both feet peeled away.

In the role of END-SURE director, I've experienced highs and lows, worry and calm, met many amazing people, and been awed by willing volunteers of all ages. I've had the opportunity to deeply appreciate the Sheyenne National Grasslands in all seasons. Yet the unpredictable late winter/early spring weather slaps me back into acknowledging I have little control over umpteen aspects of life. 

In 2018, as well as today the realities of weather have provided opportunities for creativity. A large portion of the North Country Trail in the Sheyenne National Grasslands is immersed under copious layers of snow. The relentless snowfall and winds have required imaginative route planning. It also caused this year's cancellation of the 100 mile distance. The 2019 edition of END-SURE cannot be compared with any previous event. It's a new birth that has enlivened, frustrated, and kept me embracing "what is", not "what I want" to make this experience easy. I'm honored to know that your trust in ENDracing brings you to this event!

4 points of my philosophy for race directing:

  1. have a course that can be followed, even when tired and brain dead
  2. have food that will nourish and refresh participants as they visit at the finish
  3. respect and appreciate every person and their contribution to the event: participants, support crew/family, and volunteers
  4. provide hospitality in whatever way is meaningful and appropriate

Come and be challenged physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It doesn't matter how you finish or if you finish the complete distance. Embrace the day, the conditions, your efforts, and the gathered community. The 2019 edition of END-SURE will be memorable.......Ya SURE!

The END-WET 2019 Guest Swimmer is...

Photo modified from one by Sarah Jean Condon, https://auburnpub.com/lifestyles/marathon-swimmer-plans-to-finish-up-finger-lakes-challenge-this/article_fdb4f5b3-173b-5545-80ef-2b889b51a149.html

Bridgette Hobart Janeczko!


Bridgette and her husband Bob, who will be her support paddler at END-WET. Photo from https://www2.naz.edu/stories/lady-lakes.

Bridgette is joining us all the way from New Jersey, where in 2018 she became the first person to swim the perimeter of Lake Hopatcong, the state's largest lake (she points out that it was actually 25.3 miles). She's done a lot more swimming than that--Triple Crown member, 24-Hour-Club member, and more--and in 2015 swam all 11 of New York's major and minor Finger Lakes. She swims and race directs for charity, and in 2015 was recognized as World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

Bridgette will give a talk to swimmers, volunteers and spectators on the Friday evening before the race and we hope you’ll help us welcome her to North Dakota. 

Welcome Bridgette! 

 

END-WET 2017 Guest Swimmer!

We are again very excited to announce our guest swimmer for END-WET! This year, Elaine Howley will make the trip from Boston to Grand Forks and take on the 36 mile swim in the Mighty Red River of the North!  

She was described as "…an American marathon swimmer, ice swimmer, race director and writer for U.S. Masters Swimming's SWIMMER Magazine...", among other things.  Her list of swimming accomplishments is long. Her race directing, volunteering, observing other incredible swims and crewing for other incredible swimmers is equally long. 

Elaine will give a short talk to swimmers, volunteers and spectators on the Friday evening before the race and we hope you’ll help us welcome her to North Dakota. 

Welcome Elaine! 

P.S. Elaine can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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