Baptism By Fire

Posted on 11. Jun, 2002 by in press


by Jerry Dunn

You’d think that a guy who has run as many marathons as I have, and knows as many race directors as I do would think twice, or maybe even three or four times, about creating and directing a brand new marathon. But NO, when I heard rumor that my buddy Terry Smith was going to put on a new race on the Mickelson Trail, I hounded him until he consented to let me help. Did I say help? I charged in and took over. I’m not one to sit back and watch while other people do things… something about being in control. Well, I had all the control I could handle, lemme tell ya. I’m not suggesting that I didn’t have plenty of volunteer help… on race day… but I am suggesting that I did everything from designing and ordering the medals and T-shirts, to standing road guard on race day, when a couple of my volunteers abandoned their post. And ya know what… I thrived on it all.

Now I already have a reputation of being a show off, a publicity seeker, and even a legend… in my own mind, but I must report, with all humility aside… this was an extremely successful and well run event, given that we only 3 months lead time and a rookie race director. I was aided considerably by the sheer beauty of the course, but as you all know: the course alone, does not a marathon make.

Many of the runners, who by the way, came from 20 different states, commented on what great aid station people we had, and, that we didn’t run out of anything. Most of the aid station folks had helped Terry with his 100 miler on the Centennial Trail, so they knew what to do, and how to do it.

So with one of the country’s most scenic courses; experienced aid station personnel; and a race director that got only 6 hours sleep between Friday morning and Sunday night, this inaugural marathon was destined to be a success.

(I’d be interested to know what those two authors who rate marathons all around the world would have to say about this one. I guess I’ll just invite them to next year’s edition of the Deadwood – Mickelson Trail Marathon and find out.).

Needless to say, even though the event went extremely well, I learned a few things… like, don’t offer an early start, just start the whole thing earlier; delegate more tasks, like putting out cones and barricades; have more “floating” volunteers who can fill in, where needed, on the spur of the moment; use chip timing instead of the “tear tag” method; and have the awards ceremony much earlier, like 6 hours after the start instead of 4 in the afternoon.

From all aspects of the event, it WAS a success, and I must give credit to all those who helped, including the Director of all events… God. As with all the other running projects that I have orchestrated, I depended on a power and wisdom greater than my own, and once again… to God be the glory.

I am excited about beginning to plan for the 2003 version of The Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon. The new and improved version is going to be even better than this year’s. We’ll be adding an official half-marathon, and plans are in the works to create the easiest 100 mile ultra in the country. I also hope to institute a Kid’s Marathon. In addition to all of this, there will be an expo on Friday and Saturday. So I encourage, no, I invite, all of you, to put us on your calendar for June 8, 2003. Plan to come in on Thursday so that you can make the most of your trip to The Black Hills of South Dakota… there’s a lot to see and do besides the marathon.



Jerry Dunn; Race Director

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