If you were one of the lucky runners to have participated in the 2019

Dusk to Dawn Relay Race

, you will know how awesome the 1.71 mile course on the Bonneville Salt Flats looked.

Not only was the course on salt, it was at night....under the stars....lit by 500 balls of light that looked like an interstellar pathway.

Pictures don't come close to depicting what the experience was actually like. As one runner put it, "I loved the solitude of the race and how it course was only lit with very small lights." And another, "I have never seen the Milky Way as bright as when I was making my loops during the dark hours. Running beneath those clusters of light and the tails of shooting stars is an experience I will long remember."

The salt in and of itself presents a unique destination for a race. But our dilemma was how we could turn the salt and night into an even more ethereal experience for runners. Let's start at the beginning, where my wife helped me glue 500 light balls onto 500 golf tees....

Some 3 1/2 movies later, we had successfully glued 500 small balls of light (traditionally found at wedding receptions in balloons or small crystal vases) onto 500 white 2.5" golf tees.

Let me tell you, white golf tees was the WORST idea ever!!!! I'll tell you why later, keep reading...

We arrived at the Salt Flats at 11am the day of the race, which started at 8pm that night (sunset). The temperature in August was somewhere around 80 degrees, and steadily increasing as the day went on. We set up light towers, tables, canopies, water jugs, etc. The toilets arrived, and we got those situated. And then the task was at hand to mark the course.

Did you know that it's actually not that easy to stick stuff into the salt flats? Underneath the salt is a hard layer of clay sediment. No wonder they set land speed records there!

Anyway, that left us with the task of bending down to hammer a screwdriver into the Salt, then placing the golf tee light into the hole - every 20 feet. Bend down, hammer hammer hammer, stick light in hole, stand up, walk, bend down......all in the blazing sun reflecting off of the white salt and burning my legs arms, face, and eyes. Not pleasant!

And now to why white golf tees was the worst idea ever: the salt flats are completely white, right? So if you set down a white golf tee, what do you think happens? IT COMPLETELY DISAPPEARS!!!

To try and expedite the course marking process, Andrew (a fellow Race Director) walked ahead and set golf tees down every 20 feet. And then I would follow and hammer them into the salt. But then......it was like I was lost in an ocean, trying to find a droplet of water I put right next to me. Or like walking through a forest not knowing what way I had come from or which direction I was headed....I walked around trying to find stupid white golf tees for more time than I'd like to admit.

And then, some 4+ hours later, right before the race was supposed to start, we finished the 1.71-mile loop (of what was supposed to be 2 miles). Sunburnt, dehydrated, and on the verge of death, our work was done.

When the sun went down, the course was truly LIT. And it made all that suffering worth it. So much so, in fact, that we'll do it again in 2020!

August 21-22, 2020 BABY!!!

But we won't be using white golf tees, I can promise you that.

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One of the things I have done all through my marathon experience is to listen for things people say, I have created quite a list. Here are a few of them I have actually heard, with where they happened.


1. Volunteer: You’ll have to back out and go to the other parking lot because this one is full.

Runner in car: Where is the other parking lot?

Volunteer: I don’t know.

-Valley of Fire


2. Well, you may have beat me, but at least I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up now.

-St. George


3. We need to shake the door to this porta-potty and scare the crap out of them.

-Deseret news


4. No, I’ll never volunteer again. The runners drip sweat all over you while you’re trying to get the chip off of their shoe.

-Deseret News


5. I passed out 100 yards before the finish line. Do you think they’re going to disqualify me?

-Ogden


6. From the bus driver: So do I wait here until you finish?

-Ogden


7. I saw a guy eat a mouthful of Vaseline because he thought it was Gel. Probably caused him some other problems about 8 hours later too.

-Top of Utah


8. No Dorothy, we’re not in San Diego anymore

-St. George


9. I know what I’m stepping in

-Antelope Island (Buffalo run) 50K


10. The hotel you’re staying at is where the county houses indigent people.

-Valley of Fire



#FridayswithFrank #DusktoDawnRelay #SeizetheNight




Frank has run 103 marathons and 3 ultras. He considers any exercise that is not running to be a waste of time. His running music of choice is Nightwish, though he is also a huge fan of Cher. Frank currently lives with his wife in West Jordan, Utah.



Race Directors Note: Frank is a good personal friend that I have known for many years. We currently run together on a weekly basis, and I have run several marathons with him. Through these many interactions I have heard many of the stories that we are sharing on this blog, and I thought it was about time for the rest of the world to hear them. So I hope you all enjoy Fridays with Frank.

-Andrew

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The Bonneville Salt Flats is home to some of the fastest land speed records on the planet due to its iconic flat, salt-crystal surface. In the middle of a desert in western Utah, it's quite the site.


But have you ever seen it under several inches of water?


Enjoy these images and videos of the Salt Flats under inches of water - that's all it takes to cover acres upon acres of land due to how flat this land is.



To start off - a panoramic video of the Bonneville Salt Flats under water.


It almost looks like the Salt Flats has a tide! It's really just the wind that's blowing the water in.


The water is so still it becomes a literal mirror for the landscape.



Can you say car commercial??




Standing on water...



Minimalism.


The sunset is amazing - because you see it twice!



And a plug for our race:







If you haven't been out there, go check out the Bonneville Salt Flats sometime. You could even join us June 21-22, 2019 for our inaugural race under the light of a *near full moon! It may even rival the beauty of the Salt Flats under water...

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