Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Antelope Island Run aftermath

Antelope Island Buffalo Run aftermath (long)

Good morning ultraland,
Well, here's some notes on the first running of the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25k/50k from the race director's perspective.  I'll have complete results posted to the list and the website this week.
I was on the island all day Friday with several others setting up the headquarters for the race, marking the trail and generally running around like a chicken, well you get the idea.  It lightly rained on us in the morning, but quit and actually dried out a little by evening.  The few brave souls who camped out with my son and I were treated to a rain storm that lasted about 3 hours Friday night.  I laid awake in my tent hoping it would quite and not rain on the race.
5:30am came awful early, but the weather actually looked like it might be ok, at least to start.  I got my son up, gave him some last minute instructions on parking just as the first cars came down the hill into the White Rock Bay group camp area.  And they kept coming, and coming and coming.  I had coffee brewing, but not fast enough. It was fun to see people milling about, talking to each other, getting ready.  

My aid volunteers showed up on time and we got the aid stuff loaded into the Ranger and drove out to the Lone Tree aid station.  I had two early starts, not an option I advertised since I was concerned about the aid station being up and running in time.  The volunteer park Trail Patrol (I'm a member) was out in force to help watch the trails, chase buffalo away and generally keep an eye on things.
After a few instructions and good wishes, I sent the runners on the way at 8am (note to self, find a better way to start them other than saying GO).  Things got quiet for awhile, I was able to get some coffee and donuts (breakfast of ultrarunners) and take a littel breather.  

Because of the openess of the trails on the island, we were able to watch the progress of the runners with binoculars and could see them as far as 3.5 miles away.

For the next 1+ hours, we followed the progress of the 25k front runner and eventual winner, Nate Long.  He blazed thru the course in 1:48:11 for an average pace of just under 7:00/mile.  Awesome!  The first female to cross the 25k finish line was Lauren Patton.  She wasn't too far behind Nate with a time of 2:10:52 and 4th overall.
Meanwhile, various other 25k finishers came in as well and the first few 50k runners in to get food and hit the trail again.  After 4 hours, the first 50k runner was approaching.  Kevin Shilling managed to cross the line with an outstanding time of 4:04:48 for the 50k.  The first woman across the line was Leigh Kenny with a time of 5:23:14 and 20th overall.

I had several people tell me of their encounters with the buffalo that roam free on the island.  Some of them were very close to the trail and didn't plan on moving.  Several people felt the need to go up into the rocks and off trail to get around them.

In all, there were 151 starters, 81 completed the 50k and 63 completed the 25k.

The weather actually wasn't too bad, proving once again the weather forecasters don't always get  it right.  It was supposed to be nasty most of the day.  We did get a front come thru in the afternoon, it got windy, cooled down, and sprinkled a little, but the really nasty stuff held off until after the race was over.  As I was driving back across the causeway, I couldn't see the Wasatch mountains at all because of the rain and snow.

From my standpoint, I think the race turned out well.  I had a great time.  I got to meet a lot of people who's names I had heard of.  To me, that's half the fun of putting on a race, meeting the people that show up.  We had a number of first time ultrarunners, and a number of first time trial runners as well.  

I want to thank all of the runners who entered.  I had a fantastic showing for a first time event.  Many thanks to my volunteers, they went way beyond the call of duty and made me look good.

I'm already looking forward to next year's race and how it can be improved.  Hopefully the park will let me up the number of entries so I can accomodate those who weren't able to get in this year.
Layton, UT
RD Antelope Island Buffalo Run

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