The 14th edition of the Quivering Quads Trail Half Marathon was a tale of two races. For the racers in the front half of the field or so, QQ14 was a seriously muddy but still runnable trail race. For the racers who followed them, however, the recently-melted snow, heavy pre-race rain, and the "icing on the cake" race-day rains led to rapidly rising creeks that turned the event into an unexpected adventure race.
How much did the course change during the race? Two prime examples were two creeks that were ankle-deep for the leaders (if they chose the right line; a bit deeper if they didn't) but just an hour or so later had to be crossed with the help of a guide line and fallen logs, respectively. And even with the guide line and log bridge available, those creeks would have been uncrossable by the last dozen or so participants had they not banded together to literally pull each other through. Yes, QQ14 turned half marathoning into a team sport!
Despite the atrocious conditions men's winner Caleb Goldkamp, perhaps the area's best trail racer, finished in a time that was just 11 minutes slower than the time he posted to win last year's race in dry conditions. Sunny Gilbert, a local superstar on track, road and trail, actually ran two minutes faster than last year's winner!
Congratulations to everyone who started QQ14. Despite knowing that they were in for a tough slog, they toed the line. Many of them for the first time on the trails or for the first time attempting 13.1 miles. And additional congratulations to everyone who finished. Many of them persevered even when "tough slog" turned out to be too rosy of a definition. The same can be said for QQ's tremendous volunteers, as well. If medals were awarded for volunteering, the many Friends of FLEET FEET, FLEET FEET Runners Club members, and St. Louis Ultrarunners Group members (aks, SLUGs) who helped hose the event would have earned gold ones.
Official photos taken by www.stldigital.com are available here. If you are a racer or spectator who took some photos that you would like to include in the race photo album, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.