We drove from our hotel in Lansing about a half hour to the Dansville schools for bib pick up right at the 5:30 open. We had time to talk to Bonnie DePue, the center Director about the program. She was surprised to see people coming in from California so she was happy to give us a quick tour.
Chum was actually the name of one of Bonnie's first therapy horses. From the C.H.U.M. pamphlet, learning how to ride a horse: "may challenge the body physically in balance, coordination and fine and gross motor skills as well. It is a sensory rich environment where all the senses are impacted. The riding lesson inherently works on attention span, task sequencing, problem solving, academia, self esteem and self concept." Clients include toddlers, seniors, disabled veterans and recreational riders. Later, Bonnie renamed the center Children & Horses United in Movement or C.H.U.M.
|Susan with Daisy and Jack. At least I think that's them, they were too shy to say their names.|
|Bonnie brings Apollo to take a pre-race picture.|
The course was a really nice loop, well marked and had some beautiful rural scenery. About 2/3rds of it was on paved two lane roads in good condition and the rest was packed dirt road. There was even quite a bit of shade. The volunteer to participant ratio was probably close to 1:1 when you count the course monitors and aid stations. They had water and Gatorade at every station, Gu at mile 7 and lots of bright green vest on the volunteers so you knew where you were going.
|Mile 1 on Mason Street|
|Some welcome shade at mile 3.|
|Yeah. That sign has nothing to worry about.|
|Passing by the C.H.U.M. Stable just before mile 4. The ATV's and volunteers were awesome.|
|Coming out of the second stretch of dirt trail at mile 11 on the last turn toward the finish line.|
|The aid stations had a spirit contest. The folks at Station 5 (mile 11.5 or so) won and deservedly so. They were out the longest and were still cheering their hearts out.|
"We are all struggling equally. Lord, let me win, not by coming in ahead of my friends, but by being myself. Let it be an inner win, a battle won over me. I may, and may I say at the end, 'I have fought a good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.'"