As we looked to get the pre-race instructions, we were informed that there would be a 15 minute delay. Turned out that a bear had been sighted on the trail - and precautions need to be taken before releasing the runners our on the race course. After the organizers and volunteers had put measures in place (bear spray and noise makers in the vicinity of the sighting) - we were all asked to run in groups. Although it was a race - we were given the guidance - "Racing is not fun...if you're dead". With those words of wisdom, we finished the prep and started the race.
The race is very hilly, many climbs along the way - total amount of climbing (according to my gps) was in the neighborhood of 4400ft (here's an elevation profile).
Results aren't published online yet, but the posting at the event had my coming in at 2:47 which put me in 37th place. For a first 1/2 marathon on a tough course, I'm happy with the result.
The race was a great deal of fun (what could be better than hills, mountains, mud, trees, and rivers?), was very well organized and the volunteers were great.
Looking forward to next year's event already!
P.S. I'll provide some links to some photos as they get posted.