Newaygo North Country Trail Section 13 – 16 mile Rd. to Lake County and back
Distance: 6.03 miles
By Bret Brummel
Sports schedules, increased responsibility at work, and Michigan weather made it difficult to find the time to run the last section of the trail. Anna and I made the decision that Sunday Oct. 28 would be the day rain or shine. We only had 3 miles to go to reach the Lake County line, so we decided we would run out and back to avoid someone having to make the long drive to help us drop a vehicle at the finish. We hopped into our van with the temperature a balmy 40 degrees hoping the rain would stop by the time we reached 16 mile road. It did, for a little while.
Anna led us in our warm up stretches dressed in her rain resistant soccer jacket and running tights, while I was in a long sleeve tech race shirt and shorts. As my body began to shiver, it felt like she was leading us in every stretch ever invented by mankind. I finally jogged up to the trail to find a spot for our race selfie hoping she would get the hint that my 47-year old body needed to run to warm up, not stretch. We took our selfie and Anna led us up the trail.
The rain had stopped as we ran up the leaf covered single track trail. We were led past a few marshy areas noticing that most of the colorful leaves had fallen since our last run. At the half mile mark, the trail ran through some wetlands that had a plank foot bridge to guide us through the swamp. The rain had made the planks slippery, so we had to slow our pace to make sure we didn’t trip. We crossed the swamp safely when the rain began to fall. At the 1.5-mile mark, we stopped to take a picture as the rain intensity increased. Anna put her hood over her head to keep her hair dry and we continued to the Lake County Line.
When the voice on my phone announced that we had run 3 miles, we had reached our goal. I stopped Anna and we took a moment to celebrate. Unfortunately, there was no banner, marching band or donuts waiting at the finish. Although, we wouldn’t have fully appreciated any of those things in the pouring rain anyway. I told Anna we should have a sign made with our picture on it to mark the Newaygo/Lake county line. We did take a picture and recorded a video at the finish. Watching the video when we got home was hysterical. I mentioned the wrong date and at one point sounded like Elmer Fudd. I should have probably stuck with the still shot.
The 3 miles back to the van went much quicker. I could tell Anna was completely healthy because we ran negative splits for each of the three miles. With a half mile to go, Anna sprinted to the finish while I struggled to keep up 30 yards behind. She greeted me at the finish with “This was one of our best runs ever!” What Anna doesn’t understand is, to me, every run was the best run ever.
We did it! I can’t believe we actually ran the entire Newaygo County portion of the North Country Trail. It was quite an incredible journey. Because I’m a math guy, I feel the need to share our final statistics. We broke up the trail into 13 legs totaling 67.57 miles and our total running time was 12 hours 17 minutes. I need to thank my wife Allison for being willing to sacrifice her time to help us drop a vehicle at the finish and bringing us to the start of each leg. Thanks to my son Ryan for transporting us a few times and joining us on a few runs. Thanks to Near North Now for encouraging me to write about our journey. I was overwhelmed at the number of people who took the time to read each installment. The biggest thanks to my running partner Anna. The time I got to spend with her on each leg was definitely one of my top 5 Dad moments. I wonder what we’ll do next?
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