Crusher Race Report

Sarah Romanik

Attitude of Gratitude:
In the inaugural run, participants were given 24 hours to finish a 50+ mile adventure run through the wilderness on ungroomed and unmarked trails without aid or crew. There were 3 checkpoints along the way we had to take selfies at to show we did the entire course. With required gear our packs weighed 12 lbs give or take. Sounds way too easy, right who needs that much time to finish 50 miles?!

I started the day with this text from my coach.
“Have fun enjoy the journey have Gratitude for the suffering 🙌🏻🙏🏻”

We were dropped in the middle of the woods at McCormick Tract Wilderness Head gate. The trail was unmarked and basically non-existent for the 1st 7 miles. There was an abundance of bushwhacking. We went through midthigh deep Beaver Dam. Then up a moss covered pretty much sheer rock face to the top of a hill. I was averaging 1 fall per mile because my feet kept getting caught on terrain features. The next 11 were still too technical for me to run. At this point I was falling apart mentally and wanted to cry and quit. Saying it out loud helped immensely. Grateful that Scott stuck with me, he reminded me that we had plenty of time. I did a mental reset on expectations.
Then 12 miles of sand covered road where we did intervals. Grateful that we can make up some time. I was stung by ground bees. I have never screamed and cried so loudly in my life; no kidding 0-10,000 pain in 1.6 sec flat. Then I got stung again, more screaming and crying ensued. I decided it was time for another mental reset. Find the gratitude in the suffering. Jocko and Good came to mind. Ok, I was stung and it HURT, feeling pain means I am still alive and if I’m still alive, I can keep moving forward. Feeling better, we moved on again. Apparently my feeling grateful for the stings was taken seriously though, as I was attacked a 3rd time. Then a bee started circling me and I literally sprinted as fast as I could until I got away, I would walk so Scott could catch up and another one would appear, off I went again. 3 times this happened. Grateful to learn that I can move pretty quickly when it matters, fastest mile of the race. Then another bee, this time it didn’t chase me when I ran though, it stayed with Scott. Grateful to find out it wasn’t personal. (Oragel works on ground bee bites)
There was a porta potty, AND IT HAD TOILET PAPER, it’s the little things that can make your day.
It was straight up rock strewn ravines to the top, then down them to the bottom. Even the flats were tripping hazards with all the rocks and roots. Find gratitude in the suffering. Missed a checkpoint? Grateful for the bikers that told us where we could find it, plus, who doesn’t love bonus miles? At some point your gratitude becomes a tad sarcastic “wow, more technical terrain. I’m so happy about that because I need more practice on technical trails.” “More uphill, my favorite, time to practice my hiking skills” “It’s not that bad, I’m not saying I’d build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely” After dark when you start asking if the view is worth the climb to the top.
Grateful that my feet didn’t swell, grateful that I got no blisters, even though I spent over 10 miles in wet shoes and socks. I didn’t even know my feet were that angry until I put on clean, dry, and freshly powdered socks. Grateful for the people that appeared out there unexpectedly with food and water. We ended up only filtering twice. The bikers that would offer us food and call us the real rock stars. There was so much about this race that could have made me quit and throw in the towel. I’m grateful for my coach’s reminder to find the gratitude in the suffering. This race was very humbling. We for sure thought we would be to Forestville well before dark. We weren’t, but we finished it. #nottodaysatan

It’s all about community.

We asked you to #adapt in 2020, and you did. Now we’re asking you to join us and #forge ahead. 2021 is about doing what you do best, making the most of what you have, and getting better every day.

While a lot of races out there are run by for-profit companies, that’s not the case for Marji Gesick, Polar Roll and The Crusher. All of our events are productions of the 906 Adventure Team, a 501(c)3 whose mission is to empower people to become the best version of themselves through outdoor adventure. We don’t have a large staff of people (two, to be exact) or significant overhead, and that enables us to donate a significant portion of race revenues in two ways:

Since 2015, we’ve given back more than $141,000 to the trail-builders of RAMBA, NTN, Sisu Dirt Crews, WinMan and the DCNT. We also support youth adventure programs in three communities and have plans for that number to grow in the near future.

In 2021 we’re building a learning management system to train 150+ volunteer Adventure Leaders, and have our eyes on the future: planning to grow from 500 youth served to thousands. Together with your continued support and a network of dedicated partners, we will connect kids with each other, their communities, and give them a healthy alternative to time spent on devices.