I immediately signed up for it, because the race took place in a canyon! I grew up in Georgia and lived there a little over 20 years, and I had no idea that there was a canyon in Georgia. It seemed like a unique race and a good opportunity to explore a new place during my visit to Georgia.
The race was in Providence Canyon State Park, about 45 minutes south of Columbus, GA. I drove down to Columbus the night before and stayed in a hotel with another one of my friends who runs. The next morning, we drove down to the park for the 10am start. The 50k had started earlier at 7am, and we saw a few of those runners completing a lap of the course while we were waiting for the start of the 5k, 10k, and half marathon.
My friend and I did the 10k, which was one lap of the 6+ mile course. We started off running around the rim of the canyon, and then we descended through the woods until reaching the canyon floor. At that point, we had to run through a 1-3 inch deep stream that flowed over sand and red clay. Our shoes got wet and covered in mud, but we had been told ahead of time that parts of the course involved running through a stream. At times we had to jump over logs or duck under tree branches. It was messy and challenging but it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.
After getting out of the stream, the trail continued through the woods and was fairly flat for a while. Later on, there were several steep hills. I don't think I saw anyone running up the hills - everyone was walking. We eventually came out of the canyon and the remainder of the race was along the canyon rim.
I did fine for the first 4 miles or so, but we encountered most of the hills in the last 2 miles and I was starting to get tired. The course ended up being slightly longer than a 10k. Instead of 6.2 miles, it was 6.77, according to my GPS watch. I ended up with a time of 1:18:54. I was happy with that, as I was anticipating something close to 90 minutes due to it being a trail run on a challenging course. For the 10k, I placed 8th overall (out of 25) and 5th out of 19 women. My friend that raced with me placed 3rd overall!
I'm looking forward to the next race in 2017!