5 Days at Summer Camp –Mainly Marathons Summer Camp Series –Jennifer Clark — HF16743

Half #194 is in the Books!Today was Day 1 of a 5 day series in Minnesota… MainlyMarathons Summer Camp! Technically this was a trail run in Mississippi River County State Park outside of St Cloud MN. It had some toe catchers which I was able to avoid but not a small stick that rolled and took me down in the last lap! This was an enjoyable race as it ran along the Mississippi River. The River, not too far from the headwaters, was nice, smooth and slow, unlike the angry river in our home state, rough and fast!Most was shaded which was very nice. The early start was 5:00am and dark so flashlights and head lamps were needed. But as it began to brighten up, the sunrise was awesome. It was great to see the Loony gang of friends as well as meeting some new runners! This is the first series of many as I start a new challenge of completing all the Mainly Marathons series over the next four years! Side note: this was David Clark’s first day of the series running 5Ks over the 5 days… excuse me… walking 5Ks!We ended the day eating with friends at the Crooked Pint Ale House… good food and beer!

Half #195 in the books!!Day 2 of MainlyMarathons Summer Camp! This time it was around a lake at the Sartell Community Center. Another 5:00 start so that we could miss a good portion of the summer heat! It was a nice setting as we made our way around the lake and back, complete with ducks and geese and an awesome raised bed garden. Oh… and fire hydrants with 6’ tall “snow sticks”! Downside was no shade! So towards the end of the Half it was warming up!This was a special run because a Mainly regular was celebrating his 800 FULL Marathon!! Kevin Brosi!! Yep… 800 Fulls!Kevin is not only an icon he is also one of the nicest and funniest guys around. He lines up Rubber Ducks to remind everyone to have your ducks in a row and toy female sheep’s at the turnarounds for “ewe” turns! Liz Gmerek organized a great celebration, getting people to wear a yellow shirts, signing a big congrats card, yellow balloons. Greg had chalk drawings on the walk, out on the course at 3:00am! Oh yes… and big yellow cookies! Congratulations!!Again, it was awesome being a part of the Mainly family… it was awesome to see Larry, Jim and Clint together with Mark and the numbers they have put up over the years! Tomorrow… the Quarry and Half #196!P.S. congrats to my hubby too! Day 2 and another 5K down!!

Half #196 is in the books!Day 3 of MainlyMarathons’ Summer Camp in St Cloud MN.Monday morning we headed to Quarry Park and Nature Preserve. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had a preconceived idea of what the quarry would be. But, boy, was I surprised.It was a crush rock path through some beautiful tree covered trails, then on a boardwalk over some swamp-like area covered with marsh plants then past two water filled small quarries. One had a swimmers platform and another designated for scuba diving! At the red cone we did our “ewe” turn and back the way we came for our first out and back. Normally when you do multiple out and backs, you see the same thing. But at the quarry, you were always finding something new! My finish time was one of my worst. No, it wasn’t difficult, the crush rock didn’t slow me down, or the fact I did two other halfs in the past two days! It was constantly stopping for pictures and using my plant identifier app on my phone!! David Grudzien said this was really a PR for me… a Photograph Race!!Gorgeous coarse… certainly one of my favorites ever! I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story!#mainlymarathons#quarrypark#lovealltheclubs

River Bluff Regional Park, St Cloud MN
Half #197 is in the books! This was Day 4 of Summer Camp! It is a fairly new park with access to the Mississippi River offering canoeing, fishing and hiking.
We opted for another 5:00am start and off we went with the sun barely breaking through, headlamps and flashlights lighting the way.
Our course skirted along the edge of the park on a smooth paved biking/running path with only a few shaded areas. So, we never got to see the River.
What we did see was a great assortment of flowers and plant life, some of the most beautiful flowers on this trip.
After three days of running together, it felt like a family event! Even newer runners are welcomed with open arms at Mainly races. A mother and daughter team had their first race that day, 5K for mom Sara and Laurel’s first Half Marathon. They were recipients of David Hoyt’s generosity!
To honor his late wife Luzviminda Villamil, a Half Fanatic Hall of Famer, David is paying someone’s event fee at every Mainly race that he attends. As David says, “It is amazingly rewarding and I feel her presence as I walk my 5K and introduce people to the wonder of Mainly Marathons.”
To make the day a bit more interesting, we had a contest with a prize. The Loonicorn, a small Loonie sticker with a unicorn horn!! So, everyone except the most dedicated runners were slowly walking the first lap searching high and low for the elusive creature!! Kristy Bleskan was the winner!
At the end of the day, I realized tomorrow was day 5, the last day of Summer Camp! It passed by so quickly. While different from Summer Camp of our childhood, it was a “camp” that I hope to do again. Maybe next year, they will have a field day and a class in making friendship bracelets!

Half #198 is in the books!! Only Alaska and Salt Lake City Utah (Mt Cottonwood) left for the magical 200!!
This was the final day of the 5 day Summer Camp put on by MainlyMarathons! We were at Bend in the River Regional Park outside of St Cloud.
It was a really nice hard packed gravel path for runners. It ran past a Historic Farmstead with numerous old buildings, a nice meadow and several overlooks to the Mississippi River! I saw some very interesting flowers along the way.
Really enjoyed the farmstead taking a little extra time to explore! As always, the Mainly Running family was there and as awesome as always. Since this was the last day, I will miss them.
I never thought about doing 5 Halfs in 5 days but it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Don’t take me wrong, I was definitely tired and sore but it was a great experience.

Post and photo Credit Jennifer and David Clark

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