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    Getting his GOAT - Marathon Style

    Getting his GOAT - Marathon Style

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Against the backdrop of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park, Navy chaplain Lt....... read more read more



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    The Olympic Mountains were the backdrop for a Navy chaplain to get his GOAT.

    Lt. Shawn Redmon, assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Pastoral Care Department, participated in the Great Olympic Adventure Trail (GOAT) Run, a trail marathon (and half marathon) that followed a one-way route between the Olympic National Park and the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Sept. 19, 2015.

    There were 179 runners who signed up to test themselves on what would be a challenging course – 124 for the half marathon and 55 for the full – that started near the Elwha River, and followed over 21 miles on the single-track Adventure Trail, four miles of forest road, and finally ending on a paved road to the scenic finish at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

    “It was on the bucket list. As a runner, you like to test yourself and this course definitely did that. I ran it not only for myself but for those who were not able,” said Redmon, who was met at the finish line by GeorgAnne his wife and Finley, their daughter.

    Along with picturesque finish line at the glacially-carved lake, other vistas presented themselves along the way, including an overview of the Elwha Valley at mile 3.5, occasional water views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca over to Canada’s Vancouver Island through the mist and fog, and a panoramic log bridge over Whiskey Creek near the town of Joyce.

    The course meandered over roots and rocks and peaked at a maximum elevation of 1,619 feet, with a cumulative elevation gain of 3,519 feet over the 26.2-mile course.

    “I run in Kitsap (County) which is very hilly. Anyone who runs in Kitsap has hill training. But still, this was difficult,” said Redmon, who completed the course with a time of five hours, 25 minutes and 26 seconds at a 12:20 pace per mile.

    There were pre-run jitters on having proper attire, answering the call of nature, ensuring adequate hydration, and carrying enough nutritional refueling. There were strategic aid stations approximately every five miles, but most runners, along with Redmon, also planned on being self-sufficient by carrying their own water and snacks.

    The trail marathon was the first one that Redmon had accomplished and as expected, proved to be a much different experience than the same distance on a road due to the uneven terrain to negotiate, foot placement awareness and being constantly alert for the roots and rocks, twists and turns of the trail.

    Redmon attests that the best part of the run was at the end where Finley joined him for the last 100 yards, helping her dad leg it out to cross the finish line.

    “She was in the moment with arms outstretched. That right there showed what running is all about,” said Redmon, noting that undertaking and accomplishing such a feat can bring out the sheer joy in anyone.

    The popular trail was also open during that time to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, along with a few sightings of local wildlife.

    The prevailing sentiment amongst runners concerning the local animal population was to hope on no even remotely close encounter with any type of bear. “If I do happen across one, I just need to be a little faster than the next slowest guy,” quipped Redmon.

    But it’s not bears that cause consternation with those who frequent the mountains. Its mountain goats. There are an estimated 300 in the Olympic National Forest, with around 100 on the east side of the range. Some of the species can get over 300 pounds, and in 2010 a local man from Port Angeles was gored to death by one. Despite such extreme possibilities, there were no issues for any runners, except for the expected aches and pains after the run.

    The only things that are bothering me (afterwards) are the stone bruises on my soles and my hip flexors, both relatively minor and I can live with that. I still feel pretty gassed though,” Redmon said, yet still contemplating another half marathon for the upcoming weekend.



    Date Taken: 09.19.2015
    Date Posted: 09.22.2015 10:15
    Story ID: 176817
    Location: WA, US

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