Western Nebraska Torch Run
I lived in Illinois for 20 years, and never heard of any Illinois State Games. I participated in a few Midnight Madness runs in Ames, Iowa, (which has been part of the Iowa State Games) because it was close by, convenient, and featured an afterparty with beer. But I’d never heard of anything like the Torch Run for the Nebraska Cornhusker State Games.
The Torch Run follows a winding path through Nebraska each year to advertise for the upcoming State Games. The western route rotates among three starting points, and the eastern portion is changeable, but the route through the middle of the state pretty much stays put. There just aren’t too many safe, populated routes through the center of the state.
I rallied a few members of the Western Wind Running Club to join me, and we were assigned a 10-mile block on Highway 71 northbound in Sioux County.
The weather for May 4 promised wind, and lots of it. When we left Scottsbluff at 7:30am, the temperature was 62 degrees. About 15 minutes later, about 10 miles north of town, about 600 feet higher, the temperature was only 39 degrees. And the wind was blowing. Gusts hit 60mph that day and wreaked havoc in town. Shoulda worn that long-sleeved shirt.
Here is a warning sign along the route we ran:
Some folks mentioned that the 2.5-pound torch was heavy and awkward. I didn’t find it too bad, especially since it wasn’t lit (for obvious safety reasons in such windy, dry country) and since I “only” ran one mile. Some of my peeps ran 3 miles on that cold and windy morning. Uphill. They are hardcore.
It was just me, the sheriff’s escort vehicle, and the young cattle out there on my leg of the run. Pretty peaceful. But the cattle were funny.
Cattle closer into town are presumably more used to seeing people afoot. The cattle out in Sioux County spooked with the passage of the torch.
The whole herd would stare, pause, then run away, stop, stare for a pause, turn, and run away.
There were some antelope out there, too, but I missed them.
I drove the entire route before we had to run it (such a planner am I), and I post mile-by-mile photos for you.
Here you go.
Ten miles of Sioux County, Nebraska, on Highway 71:
Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw