I went to HELL…

… Really I did.


didn’t get dropped from the pearly gates of Heaven for being mischievous. Nor was I casted to the fiery depths of Hell for being a sinner. I didn’t even die    to get there, but I’ve been dying to go there for quite some time.

How’d I get to Hell?  I drove — in the Rover mobile, with my friend Heidi.

It only took us three hours to get to Hell, Michigan. Our reason, to run the notorious Dances with Dirt 100K relay.

If you are not familiar with DWD here is a brief description from the website:

“You must be livin’ in a cave if ya ain’t heard of the DWD Relay and Ultramarathons! I’ll tell ya what it aint’, it aint’ no place for wimps and it ain’t a place for pansy, “don’t get my shoes dirty” runners afraid of a few roots and cliffs.”

You can read more here, if you ain’t afraid.

Heidi organized a relay team of five runners, four gals, three above the age of 40,  one gal 39, and one guy, Dan, he’s 65.
The name of our team: Obsessive Trail Disorder.

DWD has been around for quite some time, say 16 years or so.
Some crazy runners do this race every year.

As a DWD virgin, I must say, “I didn’t “break, burst or bust anything …”

just got a small spider bite on my left elbow.

DWD isn’t your typical trail race. Sure, you run on single-track trails,
through creeks, jump over fallen trees and such …

DWD is best described by Randy Step, RD and Head Goat.

I am copying and pasting this right from the DWD website,
without permission – oops I may go to Hell for that.

“…Basically, a difficult, wicked on- and off-trail run with stupid spots. Stupid spots include swamp crossings, river crossings, hills too steep to climb … and can only be a butt slide down. Did we mention poison ivy, thorns, poor marking, bad (no) footing, a waiver that mentions your death three times … and that we charge you for this?”

I ran three of the 15 legs. Each leg is fully defined, thus, you have a good idea what to expect. The description of my three legs follows. As I read each for the first time, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was getting myself into.

No. 3: Rave Run – 2.5 miles
Beginning and end are out and back so opposing runners present. A face-to-face meeting in blind
turn could take an eye out. A beautiful trail run. Some say harder than advertised. Yeah, it’s kinda confusing, but I didn’t write the description.


No.5: Styx, the River of Death – 3.1 miles
The path to Hell is the river of death, Styx. Your tormented soul is ours. Multiple river crossings and river run with dangerous river rocks and deep holes. Life jacket or swim wings optional.  Wanna see what we had to do? Click here.

No. 13: The Stupid Lake – 3.65 miles
Aquatics Running 101 is taught here. In fact, you are in the class. Failure is not acceptable. Who’s stupid? Trail Dog measured the lake with his bike. Many runners lost shoes and finished barefoot, ouch! Not for wimps. One big hill and some great trail!

While running leg No. 13, I saw a sign that said:
“Wrong way moron.” I missed my turn by three steps. Better than getting lost … that happens.

The runners at this race are pretty laid back. It’s not unusual to see a beer being exchanged in
the transition area. The costumes, signs and other race-day rituals make DWD a HELLAVA LOTTA  fun! 

I plan on going back next year. Hell, I may even travel to Gnawbone, Indiana to try that DWD.

In the end, it took our team 10:43:55 to complete the 100K trail run.

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