Want to to climb a mountain the fast way and see some foliage? Is your idea of a good time extended dry heaves at the summit before a knee-jarring descent to the valley, followed by a face-down trip through a very warm, very syrupy mud pit?
Then I have the event for you.
On Oct. 9 I ran my first mountain race in more than 20 years. The Mountain Epic goes up, then down the slopes of the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. It was everything I thought it would be: exhausting, painful and, thanks to the communal mud pit at the end, almost certainly unsanitary.
It was also a blast. I got myself out of my usual running/hiking comfort zone and tried something I wouldn’t have dared attempt a year ago. (A year ago I couldn’t run a half mile, let alone four miles up and down a mountain.) I met up with some friends I hadn’t seen in years, and I tooled through Bethel, Maine, one of the towns of my childhood. And I drank plenty of recovery beer.