Due to the 2-3" of snow that fell overnight, they had to change the race from point to point to an out & back course. Apparently the bus drivers refused to drive everyone to the starting line due to the road conditions. I can't say that I blame them. I have to compliment the race director for having a back up plan and still being able to pull of a great race.
The good thing about the change was that we missed Indian Hill which falls just before the 13.1 mile mark when the course is run the way it's intended. The bad news was that the section of multiple 200'-300' hills had to be repeated twice. The switchbacks on these hills seem to go on forever. You think you're getting to the top until you look up and see the line of runners in front of you still snaking it's way to the top. I was a bit concerned about how the out & back would work with having two-way traffic on single track but most runners were pretty courteous when it came to yielding the right of way so that no one was forced too far off of the trail. The added foot traffic did lead to some sloppy trails in the later miles though. The snow had started to melt & turned into a slush/mud combo that caused a bit of slipping and sliding. There was some climbing rope installed in one section to prevent runners from sliding off into the stream.
All in all, I felt great for most of the race. With no real goal other than to finish comfortably, I eased into a relaxing pace and just enjoyed being out in the woods. I did have a few cramps in the last 3 miles but I think this was caused more by my lack of training than because of hydration/electrolyte issues.
Tecumseh is well worth the drive for anyone in the Great Lakes area looking for a great, well organized trail marathon. The course is difficult enough to challenge you without being so ridiculous that you curse the race directors name every mile. Aid Stations are located every 2-3 miles, well stocked with Gatorade, water and a variety of snacks. Also, the volunteers are super friendly and make up for the lack of crowd support. I do wish they would go back to the nice wind shirt that they gave out last year as opposed to the sweatshirt that is bound to be left in the collection bin at the start of next cold weather marathon.
Now I have just over month before start focusing on Bayshore. I was originally going to find a Winter marathon or 50k but instead I'm going to properly follow a training plan and see if I can BQ again up in Traverse City.