I attempted this route exactly 2 years ago and tragically fell 2 seconds short of Jeff's time but I'm glad to say I didn't die out quite as hard this time and managed to bring it in just over 3 hours. Even with the temp starting in the mid 70's, the 90% humidity/70+ dew point was oppressive from the start. I started at Lake Wintergreen so I could get West Rock and most of the thorny sections done with early on. My racing shorts weren't doing me any favors with all the overgrowth, but it was just noticeably more clear than it has been possibly due to my recon runs. I wore a hydration pack this time which proved to be truly invaluable - can't believe I hadn't tried that sooner. Despite all my preparation, I was somehow dumb enough to simply forget to bring my energy chews, so I was once again calorie free and indeed stopped at the occasional raspberry bush. By the time I got to Maltby Lakes where I hoped to pick things up on the flat, wide double track, my legs were emphatically refusing to go faster than 8 minute pace so I just did my best to maintain that. I ran by a miraculously refreshing sprinkler at Hopkins which was a definite highlight of the day. My leg cramped up as I climbed over the fence onto the bike path between Edgewood and the baseball field, a sharp reminder of how exhausted I was becoming. As I entered red trail, memories of the deathly last few miles from 2 years ago haunted me. While I had certainly put down much more consistent pacing for the majority of the run, there was zero spring left in my step as I shuffled down the trail. Finally, the beautiful blue waters of Wintergreen came into sight. I crossed my finish line and waded into the lake where I would remain floating around for a solid half hour until I could stand again.
3h 2m 4s