After teaching a Senior Real Estate Specialist Wednesday in Sturgis, South Dakota, I badly needed a run. Originally, I was headed to the Centennial Trail for some single tracking. Fortunately, or unfortunately, one of the agents in my class warned of the trail's total lack of traffic, rough terrain, and cougars. She suggested the George Mickelson trail in Deadwood.
I have to confess, I have little or no fear of running in remote areas (In fact, I like being the only one on the trail), and I don't mind a little technical trail running. But when it comes to cougars, I don't think so. The last people I want to see on the trail are Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston. Count me OUT! So I was off to Deadwood to grab the Mickelson Trail.
The George Mickelson Trail (no, not Phil) is roughly 109 miles long from Deadwood to Edgemont. From where I started in Deadwod, it is uphill for 19 miles. So the run was set, it would be uphill out, downhill back. Now I don't know about you but I prefer it that way. Let's get the trudging out of the way early.
It had rained most of the day, so the trail was wet, and it was also a little chilly. That was enough to kill any potential traffic. I was the only person I saw on the trail the entire time (even Courteney and Jenn didn't make it out). Because I had already run in the morning, the original plan was to run three up, three down and that would be it. What I didn't know was that I was going to feel pretty good so the six mile run was extended to nine.
The rain and wind were steady and kind of annoying, but the trail made up for it. Always at least six feet wide and nicely packed (that combo of well packed and a little soft), it made for nice easy running, even during the uphill half.
Every year, the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon is held from the burg of Rochford down the trail to Deadwood. Runner's World calls it the "Best kept secret in marathoning." I think it would be a blast. Check it out at http://www.deadwoodmickelsontrailmarathon.com/
The other thing that I think would be fun is taking a few days and doing the entire trail. Yeah, I know, there are people who would just blaze through the 109 miles in one awesome LONG run. I am not, however, one of them. But it might be something to do in 3-5 days according to fitness level.
All in all, a great trail (and from what I hear, I got nowhere close to the most scenic sections). Definitely, a wonderful addition to my Sturgis trip. More about the Mickelson Trail at https://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/mickelson-trail/