2nd Annual R/NHoSP-t-PRotMST

Veterans of last year’s Reindeer/No Hunting on Sunday Point-to-Point Run on the Mountains to Sea Trail (R/NHoSP-t-PRotMST) might remember the puzzle I sent afterward as a race report, asking readers to match the runners with their reindeer names. There were two flaws: 1) I underestimated the intense competition–people took notes and made charts, spending hours trying to figure it out, and 2) Three of the reindeer had to be guessed. [aka “not enough information to solve the problem.”]

This year’s puzzle is comparatively easy AND solvable for Peeps. You need to know the Peeps listed here just a bit (as well as read my emails, which eliminates many). First 100% correct answer (email me) wins a prize. Reindeer on the run and non-Peeps are ineligible for prizes.

The back story: This is the second time we’ve done this point-to-point run. It’s a bit complicated to organize, but incredibly fun. We leave cars at different endpoints on the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake and then shuttle to the Falls Lake Dam to start the run. Those doing the longest distance (~16 miles) run sections 5-10 (as illustrated here and below). MTS Falls Map

Before sunrise, Donner and Blitzen met at Taylor’s and drove up Six Forks Rd. to leave Blitzen’s sled and start the day’s shenanigans. Donner made sure that Blitzen had his fuel belt, because last time he forgot it and ate all her snacks. They were driving up Bayleaf Church Rd in the dark when a mysterious sedan with blacked-out windows started flashing headlights. It turned out to be Vixen, who had made the mistake of calling Thrasher, who suggested that 13+ miles for your first trail run was a tad ambitious.

Vixen had just decided to follow this wise advice from the coach when they arrived at the end of Bayleaf Church Rd to pick up Dancer, who assured Vixen she’d run an easy pace and he’d have no trouble whatsoever. [Vixen then decides to join the dark side.]

Donner hit Possum Track Rd to pick up Dasher and Prancer, who drove together. Dasher, a rockin’ triathlete, was also new to trail running and chose the more conservative 9 mi distance. They reached the end of Possum Track in what was now an overcrowded sled and crammed in Thrasher and Comet, who had carpooled from the Y. They arrived at Starbucks and found Rudolph, who had managed to find the correct Starbucks, as well as Audrey. Incoming…here’s a call from Cupid, who’s at the dam and wondering if it’s too late to get a shuttle from Raven’s Ridge Rd. She is told yes, it is too late, but to sit tight and the herd would be there soon.

The herd arrived at the dam at 7:30 and after posing for a photo, they began their run. Prancer took off up front with intrepid Dasher and curmudgeonly Rudolph, while Thrasher and Donner were the caboose. Cupid had other morning commitments, so she turned around early to head back to the dam with her adventurous little dog. Vixen declared after about 2 miles that he would never run trails again and asked whose sleigh they’d reach first. Comet reassured him that it gets better. Thrasher said he’d give him a lift at 6.5 miles and Vixen groaned. Vixen then took video on his phone while running on the trail, an incredibly bad idea, but managed not to bust his butt.

It was a beautiful morning to be out on the trail, as Donner pointed out to Vixen. The leaf-covered path goes up and down and winds along a serene Falls Lake. It rained a bit but was mostly warm and cloudy. Donner pointed out a holly forest and Christmas ferns along the way for a little holiday-themed botany lesson.

When they reached Raven’s Ridge Rd, what to their wondering eyes should appear but Christmas ornaments and a gift of cheer! Prancer and Dasher were way ahead and missed the reindeer game. Rudolph explained Spoof, which is played with rocks (handy!). After round 1 there was a face-off between Vixen and Thrasher. Thrasher won but shared the gift, which was some kind of combination breath freshener/candy/soap/energy bar/deodorant. The other reindeer were secretly relieved not to win.

Soon, the herd reached Possum Track Rd, where they said goodbye to Thrasher, Comet, and Vixen. As the sleigh disappeared, the reindeer could hear Vixen muttering “single-track” and “never again.” [He’ll be back.] Rudolph then cracked the whip with Dancer, while Donner and Blitzen brought up the caboose and talked non-stop.

Pretty soon they met Dasher and Prancer, who had not only finished their run but had also changed clothes and possibly gone out for breakfast and a movie. Dasher was sold on trail running despite a few ankle rolls in the last mile. Rudolph headed out with those two and the three remaining reindeer continued down the trail. To everyone’s surprise, Dancer’s car appeared quickly and they sadly bid her farewell. And Blitzen’s sled appeared 2 miles short of 16 because Donner had him park it in the wrong spot. They completed the shuttle back to the dam, and the last of the reindeer headed home after another great R/NHoSP-t-PRotMST.

Can you figure out which reindeer is which Peep?

Peeps: Andrew, Steph, Steve, Danny, Joanna, Missy, Jon, Carolyn, Ken Taylor, Ken Martin
Reindeer: Dasher, Thrasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph

The herd getting ready to start!

The herd getting ready to start! 2012 R/NHoSP-t-PRotMST. Now, don’t cheat and try to read the name tags. Play nice!

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