In this case, exceeding expectations was not easy. Expectations were high coming in. And not a one of them was left unfulfilled at the end of the day.
The weather turned out to be gorgeous--and not a little un-Alamosa-like. The forecasted morning low of 46F never materialized. A light rain fell intermittently during the night and clouds formed a kind of blanket over Alamosa.
As a result, overnight temperatures bottomed out at about 55F. The clouds hung around long enough to delay the daytime warming you would expect in Alamosa this time of year. Those same clouds also helped keep the humidity uncharacteristically high. Perspiration plastered singlets to torsos, but there was none of the coughing and hacking that accompanies running in dry conditions.
The course had several bare spots--likely owing to standing water during the summer due to heavier-than-normal rainfall. More recent rains left a few mudholes. On balance, though, it was a fast track.
Participant numbers went out the roof for the high school races. A total of 660 competitors finished the two high school races, sending pre-meet projections out the window.
The large numbers of competitors did make for some tight quarters on the course, and especially so toward the middle of the field in the boys race. The fastest quarter or so of competitors got out ahead of the bulge and never experienced much course congestion beyond the first 400 meters or so, but some of those behind them felt it all race long.
All of that added up to some spectacular racing.
Next Page: Albuquerque Academy for the win, but Colorado for the show