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Leading Ladies' Marathon
& Half Marathon

Updates...
(...latest update at the top...)

2020 Updates

UPDATE – August 19, 2020

It occurs to me that our stringent plan of action... although mandated... has not the usual welcoming and joyful ‘feel’.

Au contraire!!!! We are just as excited and delighted as ever, and especially grateful that you have chosen to embrace the changes!

Distance running takes a certain courage anyway, and those who choose to test their mental, emotional, physical resources on that battleground are to be saluted. So, maybe it takes another kind as well this year; we are those who savor challenge.

Thank you for understanding and enduring...know that we model living and we are being watched.

Hang in there, we are going to have our usual joyous experience and I can’t wait to honor your training.

Oh yeah, we will have water and PowerAde at the finish, also some sort of carb reload in prepared bags. There will be a place to sit and catch your breath. Monument Health is providing a tent with personnel for massage and consult. We also have the park and the creek right there for you social distancing pleasure, and the hourly pick-up by Prairie Hills Transit to the Holiday Inn... re-mask again, please... gotta assuage the observers of our risk amelioration.

Also... we have a new sponsor, Pure Fuel. It is pure maple syrup in a small pouch to carry with you as an energy replacement. They will be in your goodie bags... I know we don’t usually try something new on race day, but it really is just plain syrup... “From Waffles to Workout!” They found us and donated enough for our event...y’all must be living right.
Just read that walking near water can boost your mood, I knew there was a rationale for the therapeutic effect of Spearfish Creek!

No changes in the plan; just be safe... and get here!!!

Running On...
Elaine

UPDATE – July 30, 2020

“As we run, we become.” Amby Burfoot

And this year, more than ever, we become. The frills are gone, the comradery compromised; the shadow of ominous potential lurks at the fringe of our bravado.
But we do become. We become the person admired, the athlete inspired, the warrior triumphant... the captain of our soul.
We still have the beautiful canyon and musical creek; still the rhythmic drum of countless ‘soles’, and the satisfaction of celebrating the dauntless human body. So... remembering to mask, ditching the ‘buds’, distancing... we can do this!
Thank you for support and for believing life is to be lived even as we bow to burdensome regulations.
Who cares? We came to run....we run. Let’s joyfully model becoming.
Remember the buses leave really early... be there. (Who sleeps the night before a marathon?) :)

(This is a slight change from original...need a little more time at the start)

Marathon Buses leave Holiday Inn at 4:00
Marathon buses leave City Park at 4:15
Half-Marathon Buses leave Holiday Inn at 4:00
Half-Marathon Buses leave City Park at 4:30

Masks on bus, in the starting area, and after your finish. NOT while you run! There will be a drop bag vehicle at both events.

Do not ever cross the road... always run on the left facing traffic. Carry Gu or Sport Jelly Beans; those and a cup of water after 10 miles is like a power drink... shouldn’t need that combo again but a few times. Water is always your best bet.
At the start, go to and stay in, the groups that run your pace.
Please do not go over to Spearfish Canyon Lodge; they need it quiet for their guests!

See you soon,
Elaine

UPDATE - JULY 20, 2020

Good news! Both tornados missed our course so we don’t need to add tree hurdling to our training regimen! And it’s still beautiful...just a little war-torn here and there.

But we do need to re-address the protocol for this race. All the rules and regulations afore mentioned must be followed. I know it will be less user friendly, but to get the permits, insurance, and permission to run mandated the following.

1. Wear a mask at all times when not running; in a pocket or around your neck as you run.
2. At the start and finish, stay in groups of ten....it may be changed to twenty five by race day...I will let you know.
3. Since it will be a rolling start, go to the group that runs about your pace.
4. No headphones and no cutting the tangent. I’ve had some pushback on that...thank you for understanding; rule stands.
5. There will be only water at the aid stations, it will be poured, but not handed to you; pick up your own and please remember to throw the cup away in a trash can.
6. We will not have a power drink as it is a food item, thus not safe to leave open. Carry your own Gu and drink water with it...it works exactly the same as a power drink.
7. Medals will be on a table to pick up when you finish.
8. We will have sack lunches and water at the finish for you to pick up.
9. Local people please get yourself to the start...buses will load at the usual places but can only carry half as many as usual.
10. We can’t have crowds at the finish, but Spearfish Park is big, and the shuttle bus leaves every hour for the Holiday Inn. Also Spearfish Creek is right there and super cold for post-race therapy!

And so it is! It’s going to be like the olden days of running; just getting the job done on a splendid day in the Hills. We are so lucky to be here, and be allowed to run.

UPDATE - JULY 1, 2020
“Run like crazy and the world will follow!”

Ladies and Laddies,
it looks like we are going to pull this off! All systems are ‘go’ on this end and if we stay healthy, careful and new rules driven, we will be running on August 23!

I couldn’t be more excited. The changes that had to be made do not impact the primary experience; still a fast run in a beautiful venue and all things necessary to run safe and strong.

Specifically:

- Masks at all times until running; replace after run. Wear them even at the Holiday Inn for packet pick-up...which will be only your bib, pins, and a shirt.
- Buses will carry only 25 at a time, so good if you can find your own ride.
- Rolling start in groups of 10; line up according to your projected time so we can stay linear on the road.
- Run always facing traffic; never cut the tangent, and no headphones, a certain DQ. Not only your safety, but so we can have the course again.
- Water at every aid station, with both water and energy drink at every other station, no food items. The staff at each station will be wearing gloves to fill glasses; you pick up your own.
- Porta Potties at all the usual places.

- Someone will lead both the full and the half, two sag bikes follow-up and provide mental support! The ambulance will follow all runners in.
- Medals will be hung or lying on a table to be picked up as finishers come in; we cannot festoon you ourselves this year.
- As soon as runners pick up medal and a bagged lunch, the city park is available for social distancing and Spearfish Creek is a ready soaking option!
- We must re-mask and gather only in small groups...disperse as soon as comfortable.
- Age group awards will be announced and recorded, but not tangible.

Okay? We really want to do this and stay safe, it will still be fun.

Our restaurants have outdoor seating and limited indoor seating...lots of great places for pre-race food, even a new Italian restaurant down town...Nonna’s Kitchen is exemplary!

For now...let’s do this.
Elaine

SPECIAL BULLETIN – April 13, 2020

Dear Past, Present and Future Leading Ladies and Laddies: I am holding off on canceling this year’s event until June to see what the COVID climate is by then. In consulting with fellow event producers, we feel we can still have time to facilitate even if the race may look very different. The course would not change, but organization would have to be creative. In the mean-time, keep training, stay safe, and think positive thoughts!

Quarantined Elaine

UPDATE – March 23, 2020

Self-isolated and home-bound, today I took a long, slow therapeutic drive up Spearfish Canyon. I thought about the many years, the countless miles, the cherished comfort of this scenic wonder in my life. A hint of spring is beginning, the ravages of winter still muted by banks of dirty snow and fallen trees. And I considered how many thousands of years this place of peace and power has been altered by time and nature. Huge boulders nudged from cliffs and tumbled into the ubiquitous creek, giant trees felled by winds and rain and time… all changing the silhouette, yet emerging a new and beautiful healing retreat.

The snow will melt, the grass will grow, leaves will flourish hiding scars until saplings rise to claim their place in the tableau. And we will adjust to our new normal. Stronger, more grateful… knowing that we, too, are all a process and so remember to be patient with ourselves and with each other. Evolving is always painful... movement is always medicine...

And so, I am keeping in close contact with the marathon community to see what our time line should be. For now, The Leading Lady is still on for August 23, 2020.
Stay safe, run solo, think positive and pray thankfully.
Perfect Vision… a new imperative!

Elaine Doll-Dunn

UPDATE – March 2, 2020

Feel the power of a new year! The number 2020 simply emanates new beginnings; believing, boldness and bravery… here we go! In the interest of sharing and thanking, we offer a new event, the men’s race. A journey down the Canyon with those who have supported us for 15 years with understanding, passion and patience. Let’s go, guys…

A “BQ for the GQ”, this marathon will take place in conjunction with the Leading Lady; it’s time for us to share the speedy and scenic highway to Boston and Better… finding and endorsing the runner’s soul in all of us on the fastest course in South Dakota. Look out Boston!

Elaine Doll-Dunn

2019 Updates

IN THE BEGINNING...

Forty years ago today I began running. At the invitation of my son and the scorn of a husband, I sped out the door and down the road to….a staggering halt within a tenth of a mile. Hiding behind a rock for a reasonable length of time and then jogging on home saved face, but not pride…I changed, I ran, I conquered me.

I’m reflecting on the life changing impact of those few feeble steps. The amazing people I’ve met, the jobs I’ve held, the places I’ve been….not to mention incredible health body, soul and mind; running is indeed the panacea.

It occurs to me that marathoners represent the best of what running has meant to me, been for me, done for me. This myriad of diverse talents, tenacity and treasures epitomizes the universe of a runner. You who make and take the time to make Leading Lady work, who train and sacrifice and endure…not only for self but for your sisters, spouse, children…you are the world.

Running is not just a sport; it’s a life style, a career, a message to the world that power and control are within the purview of every individual. “If I can run a mile, I can make decisions. If I can run a marathon, I can commit to life. If I can put down my coffee and put on my shoes, I can do what it takes whatever the situation. Life is my course; I am coach and athlete, I can choose to win.”

Forty years, 51,500 miles, 300 pairs of shoes, a rainbow of spandex, countless trophies, 125 marathon medals…and safety pins enough to put bib numbers on the population of Spearfish. I’ve gone from Popsicle sticks to chips, sweat pants to tights, high tech shoes to barefoot. A rich life, a fun life, a fit life. Thank you son Tim, thank you Asics, thank you God, for quality miles, quality years, quality friends, and three careers related to movement. Not bad, not bad at all.

IT’S ABOUT TIME!

On the clock or on your list.

It has been fifteen years since this dream became reality, we hope you choose to join us in celebrating the thrill of living life in the fast lane. Focus on you…it is about time.
Measured by your own yardstick….a personal best? Qualify for Boston? Expand your comfort zone? Explore the margins of life? Well, this is the year to do it. Start now to plan for a life-altering adventure, sure-fire ego builder, and quite possibly the beginning of a positive addiction.

Whether you choose the marathon or the half, either is a prodigious accomplishment and the committing to, training for, and completing of one or the other is a definitive star in your fitness resume’. Know that fitness is not limited to the body; mind, soul, and persona are all positively and permanently impacted.

Leading Ladies’ Marathon on August 18th, 2019, will be the 15th running of America’s only all woman marathon. Secure your spot by choosing to register, make travel plans, and post your workout on the refrigerator.

Look forward to meeting you!
Running On…
Elaine

2018 Updates

What I am...

“This is what I am, this is what I do.” - Scott Jurek, distance runner

As your training tightens and tensions mount…remember who you are and what you do. We are all capable of more than we can ever imagine; savor these last weeks of fine-tuning.
A massive tornado tore through the Dakotas, causing considerable damage to the higher hills, but not impacting our race. You’ll notice some areas of twisted and broken trees, but much of the clean-up will be done and nature patches the rest on her own time line.
Rattle snakes are a reality here, and although we rarely see one, this year they exhibited more visibility! Just stay out of the tall grass and be apprised they do not attack, only defend. If they want a piece of the road, let ‘em have it.

I look forward to meeting all of you and reacquainting with stalwart ‘re-runs’… it’s time for a reunion!

Whatever your personal goal, ours is your safety and pleasure…I am proud to share our beautiful area and wonderful city and eager to facilitate your success.
Running On…
Elaine

In the Beginning...

Forty years ago today I began running. At the invitation of my son and the scorn of a husband, I sped out the door and down the road to….a staggering halt within a tenth of a mile. Hiding behind a rock for a reasonable length of time and then jogging on home saved face, but not pride…I changed, I ran, I conquered me.

I’m reflecting on the life changing impact of those few feeble steps. The amazing people I’ve met, the jobs I’ve held, the places I’ve been….not to mention incredible health body, soul and mind; running is indeed the panacea.

It occurs to me that marathoners represent the best of what running has meant to me, been for me, done for me. This myriad of diverse talents, tenacity and treasures epitomizes the universe of a runner. You who make and take the time to make Leading Lady work, who train and sacrifice and endure…not only for self but for your sisters, spouse, children…you are the world.

Running is not just a sport; it’s a life style, a career, a message to the world that power and control are within the purview of every individual. “If I can run a mile, I can make decisions. If I can run a marathon, I can commit to life. If I can put down my coffee and put on my shoes, I can do what it takes whatever the situation. Life is my course; I am coach and athlete, I can choose to win.”

Forty years, 50,500 miles, 300 pairs of shoes, a rainbow of spandex, countless trophies, 125 marathon medals…and safety pins enough to put bib numbers on the population of Spearfish. I’ve gone from Popsicle sticks to chips, sweat pants to tights, high tech shoes to barefoot. A rich life, a fun life, a fit life. Thank you son Tim, thank you Asics, thank you God, for quality miles, quality years, quality friends, and three careers related to movement. Not bad, not bad at all.

Year 14 coming up…let’s run!
Elaine Doll-Dunn

Murky March

Just read an interesting article, recommends taking a break from your regular work-out and seek an unfamiliar path. Try trees. Any of nature’s palate of beauty helps, but science says you’ll do better with trees, big ones, if you can find them. Two recent studies suggest that a run--or even a walk--in the woods reduces anxiety and depression, improves memory, and lowers your resting heart rate. A neurological study from Stanford maintains that a trot through the woods reduces “subgenual prefrontal cortex activation.” What we call brooding.

So stay connected with trees if you can, leafless or verdant…cheaper than a shrink. Considering this is the month of desperate search for the first crocus, Robin, or valiant blade of grass…take on The Ides of March and switch gears. These make for better, or at least happier, runners.

Just In:
It’s not just hopeful thinking! Dark chocolate before a workout is proven to enhance performance!
Elaine Doll-Dunn

Average?

You did not wake up this morning to be mediocre. Average is for test scores. Since you are reading this, you have run a marathon or half before, or you’re courageously pushing the envelope. Either way, good you. Testing limits, challenging norms, committing to self…nobody said growing was easy.

Hey! But it is fun! Your daily run or work out, your decisions about training, time, strategy…all factor into the joy of creating a new you, maintaining status quo, a filling the bucket list…all valid reasons for hitting the road.

Remember the place or purpose is not the issue, but giving your all is. Mediocre is not who you are. Leading Lady is about shattering the norm; raising the bar…it starts today.
You show ‘em.
Elaine Doll-Dunn

Bold is Beautiful!
(Live like you mean it)


Happy New Year! It ’s resolution time again, when we take an honest look at who and what we are, then decide either to stay the course or up the ante. Are you where you want to be physically? Could your fitness resume’ use a centerpiece? Are you bored with the same old exercise regime? If it’s just to finish a race or to qualify for Boston…have I got a deal for you.

Any event deserves multiple goals. Do you run for fun? Fitness? Mental health? All of the above? Why not choose Leading Lady 2018 to pursue all of these valid challenges. We will suffer the indignities of physical decline, but we don’t have to take it sitting down. I will age, but I will not decay.

Address the significance of the moment, determine to run or walk one of the events, then just focus and do it. Be bold, be brazen, be beautiful…passion is contagious; come run with us.
Elaine Doll-Dunn

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