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Course Conditions for Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sunrise: 6:12 AM
Low Tide: 7:52 AM, 8:12 PM
High Tide: 2:07 AM, 2:28 PM
Sunset: 7:14 PM

The Course

Leg 1 - A Rude Awakening

Swim to 5th Point from Pocomo Point; run the inside of Coatue

Leg 1 was new in 2013. It went over very well with the athletes. Kind of. It starts with an approx. 1500 yard swim from Pocomo Point to 5th Point on Coatue. Leg 1 athletes - or solos - are required to bring everything with them on this swim – shoes, water, etc., or have any items they need already on Coatue with team members or pre-stashed.

After the opening swim, the Leg 1 run will consist of an interior run of Coatue along Nantucket Harbor. The run is an almost embarassingly paltry 4.9 miles – BUT - you will encounter tidal creeks that you must cross. Your feet will get wet. Shoes? Meh . . . might want to go barefoot (or be prepared to carry wet shoes and socks). The tide will be ½ way between high and low and outgoing on this leg.

Leg 1 ends at the East Jetty across from Brant Point where relays will tag and solos will keep on going on the outside of Coatue to Great Point.

WARNING: Sometimes there are mosquitoes the size of pterodactyls on and around Coatue. BRING SWEAT RESISTANT BUG SPRAY AND/OR WIPES. YOU WILL NEED PROTECTION FROM BUGS. THEY WILL MAKE YOU WILL BLEED.

Leg 2 - Rise and Shine

East Jetty to Great Point

Leg 2 is the run from the East Jetty to Great Point. For 2014, Leg 2 (and into Leg 3) will be done with the eater heading to low tide (at 9:37 AM). Sweet. There will be spots of "hard" sand to run on. As you get to the "Chord of the Bay" you will be running on what is more or less gravel however with the consistency of quicksand. A low tide doesn’t help you here. Get your head right and don't fight it – you can't win. At least you won't get lost. Remember – water to your left. Look for the signs to cross over to the outside of Great Point (there will be some interior road running here). 8.9 miles. Check in at Checkpoint #2. Welcome to Leg 3.

Leg 3 - No Man's Land

Great Point to 'Sconset

Running along the east coast of Nantucket past the "Galls" - down to Wauwinet, past Sesachecha Pond and Quidnet you are now dealing with sometimes significant slope to the beach and very soft sand. If you aren’t totally dogging it however, it will likely be low tide. This MAY give you some respite from the angle of the beach but remember that wasting your time and energy and zig-zagging yourself up and down the beach looking for a better place to run is usually an exercise in futility. Down by the water on a flat may not help you in spots if you sink in calf-deep wet sand. If you are running along the waterline remember to pay attention and to judge the waves coming in to make sure you don't get smacked by one when you are in the zone. The sun is now coming up and you will know it when you hit the Bluff near 'Sconset and the prevailing southwest wind(s) are now blocked by the Bluff and the temperature starts to rise dramatically.

Leg 3 is the longest leg in the Rock Run. It is the least technical but the most demoralizing (Sankaty lighthouse never seems to get any closer and when it does – you still have more than a mile to go to the checkpoint). Leg 3 is approximately 9.5 miles. This leg ends at Checkpoint #3 at the lifeguard tower at 'Sconset public beach.

Leg 4 - The Tern

'Sconset to Surfside

"It's all mental after 'Sconset" is what the veteran Rock Runners tell us. I wouldn't know – I've never made it past 'Sconset.

Leg 4 is approximately 8 miles stretching from 'Sconset to Surfside Beach.

This is the "money shot" of the Rock Run. Runners pass the most crowded beaches on Nantucket and soak in the encouragement of beach-going spectators who cheer and stare in awe and bewilderment (OK – mostly they just stare in bewilderment) – wondering just WTF you are doing. If the tide is right, even with some slope to the beach, lucky runners might experience some wet, hard packed sand during this leg. The tide in now coming in again, however. The majority of the passing of runners and teams takes place on this leg. You can eyeball your competition well ahead of you on this fairly straight leg and try to reel them in. If you are out in front – you are trying NOT to look over your shoulder and see who may be coming up behind you.

Leaving 'Sconset, runners pass Tom Nevers, Madequecham and Nobadeer until they reach Surfside Beach. Leg 4 ends at the Surfside lifeguard tower. This is Checkpoint #4.

Leg 5 - Sunny Side Up

Surfside to Madaket

Almost 7 miles – you are on a straight shot to Madaket. Conditions are just like Leg 4 and you are still passing beaches filled with spectators. Give them a reason to cheer you on. From Surfside, runners enjoy a few crowds - including a small nude beach (don't stop and stare please, the Rock Run is a timed event) - as they travel through Cisco Beach en-route to Madaket.

In Madaket, you will head off the beach at Massachusetts Ave. (there will be a Rock Run sign directing you) right to the gatehouse on Mass. Ave. If you have run past the last house you have gone too far and are OFF COURSE. The Madaket gatehouse is Checkpoint #5.

Leg 6 - The Home Stretch

Madaket to Jetties

The last leg of the Rock Run is the only leg that involves any "on-road" running and it is the most "technical" of the legs. In order to get around an impassible Hither Creek, Leg 6 takes runners from Mass. Ave., to the Madaket bike path, past Millie's to a hard left at the Madaket Marine sign (N. Cambridge Street) and from there narrow dirt roads take you to the interior beaches of Madaket Harbor and to the North Shore at Eel Point/40th Pole. FOLLOW THE COURSE SIGNS CAREFULLY. This area has bugs – so be prepared with your insect repellant.

Once on the North Shore, you are now passing the mostly-local spectators at 40th Pole all the way home to the Rock Run finish at Jetties Beach.

If your legs are junk – and they just might be – the North Shore run is a welcome break headed to the finish. Grabbing a beer from anyone you pass is always encouraged – if you are bringing up the rear of the race. If your team is fresh – this leg is fast, fast, fast and the last chance to catch any teams within striking distance.

When you get to the wooden bulkheads on the North Shore near Hinkley Lane, you have about 1.5 miles to go to the finish. In 2013 – there was a near sprint to the finish on this leg with the top two (2) teams neck and neck almost all the way to the finish.

The tide will be close to high – or high – on the North Shore the afternoon of August 30. This leg will likely require swimming to get around bulkheads on this leg.

The Finish

Look for the Rock Run sign(s) near the lifeguard stand at Jetties – you may have to work your way around sand castles and beachgoers as you make it to the finish.

Smile and consider yourself welcomed into the Rock Run brotherhood.

TOTAL MILEAGE FOR 2014 COURSE: Approximately 48.76 miles

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Course map