The Georgia Jewel...
What an epic, and hard, trail race.
Held in beautiful Dalton, GA, "The Jewel" is a 100 mile, 50, 37, and 23 mile trail race on the Pinhoti Trail and hosted by the dynamic couple, Jenny and Franklin Baker, along with a slew of super loyal volunteers. The symbol for the Pinhoti is a turkey track! I'm convinced seeing turkeys or their signs are good luck. The Jewel is a qualifier race for the Ultra Trail de Monte Blanc (UTMB). According the Ga Jewel website, "Known as one of the most iconic and magical races in the world, UTMB runs through Italy, Switzerland and France (ESPN even called it the "crown jewel of ultrarunning".) Runners must qualify for UTMB by earning points at qualifying races just to be entered into a lottery for UTMB. Many of the 100 milers come to the The Jewel for this reason, and to get that coveted GA Jewel belt buckle! We have a sneaky suspicion they come for the people, the challenge, and the time in God's Country.
But, really, why does someone run 100 miles, or 50, or 37, or 25, or 2 for that matter? Salty Britches was there as a sponsor, so we can only speak from our observation. Witnessing such an event blows our socks off, every single time. These races expose humanity like nothing else we have ever seen. The mental toughness, the grit and fortitude to push through really hard moments when you want to quit, the pain... and the breakthrough to the other side when you discover there is actually more in the tank that you may have never tapped into before. Witnessing these events have proven over and over there is more in the tank. Seeing people get there is one of the most inspiring displays of human potential on earth.
Trail running is growing in popularity at a record pace. These races are full of all ages, races, and physical capabilities. When you are on the trail, people matter as humans. Nothing else matters, not race, not political affiliation, not the car you drive, not how much money you have, your home, or your hair style....nothing but the fact that you are a human pushing your limits and everyone else around you is there to help you do it. It's a melting pot of incredibly strong people from all walks of life. If Hunger Games becomes a thing...give me a team of trail runners any day.
We had several Salty Ambassadors and brand friends running in this event. Justin Hamilton (@ultra_dad) completed the 100 miler in 7th place in 23 hours and 51 mins of straight running. Kara Molitor (@runnergirl2010) completed the 23 miler, finishing as first female and 4th overall at 4hrs and 52 mins. These two were running really fast trail runs. They both amaze us. The work that goes into training for something like this, the sacrifice, preparing for the event, is incredible. Kelsy Britt completed her first 100 miles! She pushed through that barrier. Kelsy is truly a bright light full of JOY and gratitude. To know her is to love her and now she has an epic story to tell!
The trail running space is not something we knew much about before Salty Britches. This community found us, essentially. Chadd Wright had something to do with that, and we will be forever grateful. We've made many friends in this community. Our gratitude for life, our love of all people, and our heart...it all just grew.
Jenny Baker, you are the real deal. Jenny and her family run non stop to make this an excellent and safe experience for the participants. She has a true heart of gold, loves Jesus, and is a true servant. Jenny, we are so honored you chose Salty Britches to be a part of this event. Thank you for the opportunity, friendship, and the gift that is the GA Jewel! May God bless you always. We will see you next year, you crazy trail runners! XO-Amy