I set out from the start line at Gilsum Town Hall at 6:40 a.m. In the first few miles I enjoy the early morning light, dense foliage on each side of the road, a creek rushing past me to the left. The course makes an almost imperceptible descent of some 350 feet over the first ten miles or so. A light drizzle starts up at about 7:45 a.m. and will continue for a couple of hours. Light traffic on the course passes by politely.
The first male runner passes me during m8. No one follows him for several minutes. During m9 eight more men and the first lady pass me also.
Just past the m17 aid station the road makes an arrogant change, bringing the course's only significant incline. Comparing it to stil-fresh memories of the Von Trapp Hill in Stowe, I find this one not so bad, but it does force me down to second gear for about three-fourths of a mile. I certainly feel glad to get to its crest and the aid station. Soon after I finish the downhill side I start feeling a little abrasion on my stump.
Miles 18–19 take me through Yale Forest and the picturesque one-lane covered bridge in Swanzey Center. Mile 20's intersection with Route 32 takes me back toward Keene. I pass the airport (on which land Clarence DeMar once owned a home), the lake, and then I start counting down the final 5K.
Route 101, four turns through residential and some business areas, and north on Main Street. A drizzle makes a final resurgence just before I turn left under the Appian Gateway and shuffle forward to cross the line. I finish in 6:43:03, about ten minutes longer than I expected.
Back in my hotel room I find several small blisters that should heal pretty easily over the next week or so, with not too much grimacing. Dinner with Ron, Cynthia, and Cathy makes a very nice end to a marathon day. Except getting in and out of the car. Hunnnngh—