Saturday, April 08, 2006

roy pIrRUNg - ITN

A Barkley Adventure

I thought I sent this message earlier; but there is no record of it in my
sent folder. If you are on both the Ultra list and one of the Barkley lists,
you shall get two copies. If you get more than two copies I must have sent
it earlier.

I don't normally write reports of ultra events I do; but a few people
suggested that I write something about this year's experience at Barkley.
Last year, Nick Graner and I were out there for 10 hours and never saw Son
of a Bitch Ditch or reached Book 2. Nick was not there for this year's
event, so I was alone at the back of the pack. I refer to Barkley as an
event, not a race. It is my belief that, with possibly one exception, no
Barkley participant has ever treated it as a race. It is a test, partially
of physical capability, but much more a test of mental resolve or toughness.
Some might consider it a test of mental sanity.

This year I had no trouble getting to Book 1 (appropriately Geat
Expectations). I was now looking forward to seeing SOB Ditch. I still
haven't seen that feature of the course. My best guess regarding where I got
off course is that I went down the wrong trail off Bald Knob. I did realize
when I reached a creek at the bottom of a long, twisting, downhill trail
that I was not on the course. Perhaps I should have climbed up that long
trail and tried to find the correct trail; but I decided I was lost and just
needed to find a way back to camp or some other part of the course. Since
the trail off Bald Knob started at the north boundary of the park, I knew
that going south was going into the park. Looking across the creek, I saw a
series of ridges with some power lines on top of one of those ridges. Well,
I thought these power lines were to the south and in the park; and there are
power lines on the course. Thinking about it now, I know those ridges had to
be to the North because I traversed and climbed them going to my right and
ended up near the eastern park border. To go to my right and end up at the
eastern border, those ridges had to be to my north just outside the park. I
continued traversing and climbing for hours, finally finding a trail which
led up to the top of a ridge. By now it was dark. At the top of the ridge, I
saw four tall towers which I believe were transmission towers. They had to
be outside the park. I had seen a dirt road near that trail that led me up
to this spot. Actually, that trail ended before I reached the top. I decided
to head back to that trail and the dirt road. I didn't find the trail; and
then the batteries in my flashlight died.

I sat down on the side of the mountain to replace the batteries. I thought I
had safely placed the housing that held the bulb in a secure spot on the
side of the hill. I started to replace the batteries when suddenly I heard
the sound of the bulb housing rolling or sliding down the hill. I groped
around in the dark hoping to find it, but didn't find it. I was now stuck
for the night. I tried to work my way a little farther down the hill; but I
slipped in an apparent streamlet and lost my hand-held bottle which
contained my last batch of energy drink. Earlier in the day,Barkley had
taken my Leadville 100 Goretex hat and my compass, and it had just taken my
flashlight and my energy supply. I moved to the nearest tree and began to
prepare for a cool night in the woods. I was wearing a short sleeve t-shirt
from the 50 K race near Ridgecrest , CA which Chris Rios has directed for
the past 15 years. I believe that shirt was provided by Patagonia and was a
wicking material. I put on a long sleeve shirt from the Mountain Masochist
race directed by David Horton. I believe this was a polypro type of material
also provided by Patagonia. Over these, I put a plastic rain poncho; and, to
trap heat, tucked all three inside the pants I was wearing. Over all this, I
put a plastic trash bag in which I had torn a hole for my head and a hole
for each of my arms. Then I settled in for the night. While the night was
not frigid, it was cold enough that I could not sleep. I had to keep moving
my hands and arms and twisting my body from side to side to stave off
hypothermia. I did go into uncontrolled shivering on a few occasions; and I
did doze for a few seconds or, possibly, a few minutes once. The rest of the
night I stayed awake.

I watched the thin sliver of the new moon, bright Jupiter, Orion with red
Betelgeuse all parade across the sky to the west and waited for dawn to
arrive. Dawn and the yelping of the coyotes I had heard up at the top of the
ridge the previous evening arrived together; and I began looking for that
dirt road I had seen earlier. I found the road. While sitting by the tree
late in the night, I had seen the light from two flashlights going up a
ridge in front of me. I assumed these had to be Barkley people (Who else
would be out there in the middle of the night?). I shouted out asking if
anyone had a spare flashlight. Someone answered in the affirmative. I
shouted something back and one of them apparently shouted asking me if I
were in Barkley. Sound must travel in strange ways because I never heard
their query and they heard nothing further from me and could not tell for
certain from which direction my original shouts had come. I guessed that I
was near the northeast corner of the park close to a point called Coffin
Spring. Near this point is where water had been stashed for the first water
drop. This water drop is about the place where the course leaves the park
for a few miles and the water drop is where those runners had just been.
Having reached the dirt road, I looked at the map of the park. The map
showed a road leading from the northeast corner of the park all the way back
to the campground. I checked this road out in one direction, and it seemed
to conform to the map; but I was going in the wrong direction; so I reversed
direction. As I walked down the road (too tired to run), I continued to
check the map each time I encountered a side road leading off the campground
road; and each time the road conformed to the map. It was going in the right
direction and it was downhill, just as the campground road should be. After
awhile, I came to a side road that wasn't on the map. Shortly after that,
the road began to climb. The campground road should not climb; but I
continued on for about ½ hour before deciding this was not right. I returned
to the side road and started down it; but it was going in the wrong
direction and soon began to climb. After 10 minutes I returned to the
original road. I decided to once again proceed as I had previously done
hoping that if I went a little farther, it would turn down towards the
campground.(For the other grammarians on the list, I realize that the last
sentence contains a split infinitive; but I believe it should be acceptable
to split infinitives for increased emphasis.) After 45 minutes this time,
that road was still climbing and was now going in the wrong direction. I had
reached a point from which I could see the rest of that road. It was
climbing a mountain. Looking at the map, I saw that there was a road that
forked off the campground road and climbed up Bird Mountain. I was sure I
had not turned off the main road but circumstances made that seem the only
reasonable explanation.

If this were the Bird Mountain road, reversing direction and following the
road back uphill should lead me to the campground road. As I was about half
way back on this trek, a vehicle came down the road, the first intelligent
life I had seen in about 30 hours. The vehicle contained two good old
Tennessee boys who stopped and asked me what I was doing. I gave them a
short description. They told me I looked beat. I told them I was tired and
had run out of energy food. They asked if a beer would help (I can't stand
the taste of beer.) I told them no but a coke would. They didn't have any
coke. They asked where I was trying to go. I told them. They said I was on
the wrong road. I said I had to continue back to check it against the map.
They said there was no doubt that they would see me later because that road
led out of the park. Actually, the campground road led out of the park; but
what I didn't know is that there is a locked gate at the park boundary to
keep people off that road. They went on down the road and I continued up the
road. I finally reached a point that convinced me that they were right, and
this was not the campground road. Believing I was near the northeast corner
of the park, I felt my only option was to go back down that road since it
did go southwest toward the western boundary and the campground.
Fortunately, I soon encountered the good old boys coming back up the road.
They had lived in this area for years, and liked to spend Sundays driving
around in 4-wheel vehicles, drinking a little beer, and smoking a little
pot. They stopped and offered to take me to park headquarters. I gladly
accepted. On the way back they even stopped at a little store and bought a
coke for me.

I knew that because I had been gone so long, there would be some concerned
people back at camp and that Gary (laz) would probably have people out
searching for me. When the good old boys left me off at park headquarters,
there was a ranger in the parking lot who asked if I were the missing
runner. I said, ‘Probably'. He took me inside the headquarters building to
confirm that the lost runner was found. They then put out the call to the
searchers to call off the search. The ranger then drove me up to the camp.
Gary and others were more happy to see me than I was to be back, if that's
possible. Gary had not called out search and rescue. Instead, people who had
already quit the course went out in teams, each searching designated
sections of the course.

As the hours went by when I was wandering up and down that wrong road, I was
bothered by the fact that I was causing worry and concern for Gary and
others back at camp. I apologized to them for that and thanked them for
their efforts trying to find me. As I was returning from a hot shower,
walking up to my car with my toiletries bag, dirty clothes, and dirty shoes,
I was met by Gary, Frozen Ed Furtaw, and three park rangers, one of whom was
the chief ranger. They wanted to get some information about where I had
spent the night and the following daylight hours. They also wanted to check
on my condition, and were very solicitous asking if there were anything they
could get for me. The chief ranger continued to ask about my condition. I
told him that I was very tired but that he should be able to tell from my
attitude and behavior that there was no longer anything about which to be
concerned. I had been joking with them. I told him to look at me, that I was
jovial and in good spirits, and I was clearly alert and in control of my
mental faculties. This seemed to finally convince him. Since Gary and others
worked so hard over the last year to keep Barkley alive, I hope my demeanor
at my age and after being out there for nearly 32 hours made a favorable
impression and, perhaps, showed that while we may be a bit different, we
aren't really crazy.

I am very thankful that Gary has given me the opportunity to be a part of
Barkley. While I have not seen much of the actual course and features of
Barkley, I have encountered similar features. I have climbed up and made my
way down 40% hillsides, I have slipped and slid in Barkley's mud, I have
given my blood to its sawbriers, I have searched for and not found its
trails, I have trod where none have trod before, I have EXPERIENCED Barkley.
I said earlier that Barkley is not a race. It is not. It is an event, an
experience, not for the timid.
The official distance covered at Barkley is the course distance to the last
book you find. I was out there going up and down mountains and that dirt
road for about 24 hours; and I spent nearly 8 more hours huddled by a tree.
I have a page from Book 1, so my official distance is 2 miles. From the
beginning, I had one record for the event, the oldest person ever to start
it. I now hold the record for the slowest pace, nearly 16/mile. That's

This is my last time at Barkley as a participant. In the future, some young
stud can have my slot. While there certainly were times out there when I
wasn't a happy person, I am glad I was there. The t-shirt this year says,
‘meaningless suffering without a point'. I liked last year's motto better.
It was, ‘Where your very best just isn't good enough'. The day before the
event, a young woman was at camp asking questions, possibly for a local
publication. She asked why we do such things. I told her that we were people
who had a desire, maybe even a need, to test ourselves to see where our
limits are. We also enjoy the camaraderie of being with others of like mind.
Barkely is neither meaningless nor without a point. I have great respect for
those who do Barkley, and I appreciate the respect that has been shown me. I
am very happy to have been there.
End of a long report

Dan Baglione, on the road.
Run Long, Run Strong

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rockin'K results

Here is a link to the Rockin'K marathon/50m results
The race this year was, IMO, run under the most adverse weather conditions
we have had to date. Daytime highs approached the mid-80's, wind speeds
averaged in the 20mph with gusts measured at 38mph, this was prior to the
night time thunderstorm, two folks were truly challenged by the combination
of a long hot day followed by an after dark pounding on the prairie. I will
post a more complete report later.

Phil Sheridan

Arrested walking around the world - Link

The story is on Yahoo at:



The Canberra 50km Ultra Marathon, which has been incorporated with the Canberra Marathon for the past 13 years, has been allocated the inaugural Australian 50km Road Championships.

The race has also been endorsed by the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and is proposed to become part of a new world series of 50km races. Subject to certain conditions, the male and female winners in Sundays’ ultra marathon will win trips to the World Final, proposed to be held in Europe later this year.

The Canberra Marathon is unique in giving all marathon finishers the opportunity to go on and complete the 50km ultra marathon.

Last year’s marathon winner, Magnus Michelsson, intends racing the 50km this year. He won the 50km in 2002 and on that occasion was third over the line in the marathon. He’ll be trying for the double – marathon and ultra wins - on Sunday. This feat has not been achieved by any runner to date.

Challenging Michelsson will be experienced New Zealander Mark Hutchinson, who is now based in Queensland. Two years ago Hutchinson ran a strong race in the Gold Coast Marathon, and then ran a great 100km race at the Gold Coast just six days later. So his stamina is certainly not in question.

Victorian Sandra Timmer-Arends, who set an Australian women’s record in Canberra in the 1999 ultra, has entered again this year and shares favouritism with last year’s ultra winner Suzanne Kelly, from NSW, and Siri Tarjesen, from Queensland.

About 120 runners from the 800 pre-entries have advised that they will attempt the extra distance.

The 30th Canberra Marathon and Canberra 50km Ultra Marathon will be held this Sunday 9 April, starting at 7am from the Telopea Park School. Support events include the Asics Marathon Eve 5km and 10km Fun Runs, to be held at 4pm on Saturday afternoon and the Kids Marathon, which starts at 8am on Sunday.

Late entries are accepted on Saturday afternoon at the Telopea Park School for the fun runs and marathon. Entries have closed for the Kids Marathon.

The marathon is a member of AIMS (the Association of International Marathons), an Athletics Australia gold medal event, and supported by Asics and the Australian Capital Tourism Corporation.

Dave Cundy
5 April 2006
Ph: 0417 285609

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Frankston to Portsea - race report

Sitting in the dining room of the Sandy Hotel on race eve, it was somewhat of a surprise to have Lois Wishart serving up the grilled fish and vegetables. Lois was one of our more prolific marathoners during the eighties and nineties and ran the Frankston to Portsea in 1992. When I suggested she front up the next morning, she scoffed despite the fact that she still looked as fit as ever. Despite not having run competitively for years, she confided that she was still knocking out 80 kilometres a week along with 100 kilometres of cycling!! Should she ever decide on a comeback, a swag of veterans prizes await.

I’d been wondering how many runners would forget about the end of daylight savings and roll up an hour early but the deserted car park at the start put paid to such assumptions. In the space of 20 minutes, runners arrived from a variety of directions and we were about to get underway in the morning stillness when I realised that three of our intrepid runners were still car shuffling back from Portsea planting “special” drinks along the way. They arrived in a cloud of dust to the screeching of tyres resulting in a slightly delayed start. With Peter Gray heading off early [5am], 18 runners hit the highway to Portsea at 7:12am. Kelvin Marshall was an understandable absentee given the lame and embarrassing performance of his beloved Richmond Football Team the previous night. He was more likely to have been preparing for a swan dive off the Westgate Bridge.

The early stages proved uneventful with the notable highlight being the spontaneous appearance of a couple of rogues in the form of Kon Butko and Ross Shilston. These two shady characters are the original pioneers from 1973. Put simply, we wouldn’t be here if not for their hasty decision to trek down the Nepean Highway all those years ago. Mike Wheatley, Mal Grimmett, Peter Bignell and Dan Thompson formed a quartet at the front of the field and it appeared that Mike and Mal would repeat their “Leyland Brothers” effort of 2003. By 10km, Peter had surged ahead dazzlingly gaining his Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame. A large flock of ducks fossicking studiously amongst the roadside appeared most unperturbed by the passing runners. Brendan Mason provided a dimension of comic relief when he went in search of his “planted drinks” at 10km. Proving fruitless, it eventually dawned on the absent minded sod that they were actually another 5km down the road! All I could hope was that he doesn’t experience any “missed” drinks when he tackles the dessert sands of the Marathon des Sables in a weeks time. A committed “gadget freak”, Brendan was journeying down the highway with a variety of electronic gadgets strapped to his body. There was the wiz bang GPS, computerised map printer, light dissecting meter, runner comfort gizmo, lung volume reader and podcast recorder. I didn’t bother to ask, but his back pocket undoubtedly contained a pop-up combination dishwasher/clothes dryer/ironing board!

Former Race Director from the eighties and nineties, Dennis Smith, made an appearance on his bike exclaiming loudly with a distinctly bewildered expression “Gee, you guys must have started late”. Poor Dennis had forgotten the end of daylight savings. His loss of memory would be on a par with the Australian Wheat Board executives giving evidence at the inquiry into secret kick backs paid to Saddam Hussein.Approaching halfway on the road into Dromana, things were starting to take shape. A consistent Australian 100km representative on numerous occasions, Mike Wheatley established a substantial lead over Mal Grimmett and Peter Bignell with first time ultra runners, Shane Pettingill and Dan Thompson doing well. Also well to the fore was Steve Hyde. Further back, Warren Holst, Brendan Mason, John Dodson, Garry Wise, Bruce Salisbury and Ben Cotter were all within sight of each other.

Dromana was where I awkwardly dived into a Licensed Grocers to snap up a couple of bottles of wine for our respective winners. “We can’t sell alcohol until 10am, it’s the law” snapped the dull but attractive sales girl in the most brittle of tones. Settling for a Diet Coke for myself, the wine purchasing had to wait until later which proved to be somewhat of a close call given Mike’s cracking and inexhaustible pace.Driving back towards the tail of the field, I found Richard McCormick wondering if he was on the correct course while Andrew Herman and Richard Arney remained close together. Ernie Hartley, who drives the fastest milk cart in the west, bailed me up to refill his water bottle which he quickly jabbed back into his waste belt. Further back, our sole female runner, Alissa Jones, and perennial ultra walker, Brian Glover, were travelling steadily.

Progressing through Rosebud, I managed to track down the early starting Peter Gray. Expressing surprise that it had taken so long for anyone to catch him, it became obvious that he was another victim of the “forgotten daylight savings bug” with his actual starting time being 4am! Peter is Australia’s most prolific ultra runner with 187 races under his belt over a period of 20 years. The only thing as recognisable around the ultra circles is his decidedly unmistakeable van. Sadly, Peter’s van died on the return trip from Red Rocks the previous weekend and was now sitting in an Armidale mechanics shop awaiting a new engine, “I’ll pick it up in July when I go to the Gold Coast Marathon” he stated optimistically.

Passing the Rosebud Sunday Market at 35km, Brendan Mason’s and Richard McCormick’s respective families understandably abandoned their gasping sweaty husbands/fathers for the infinitely more inviting and exciting prospect of snaring a bargain or two at the trash and treasure stalls. Young Rory Mason was over the moon with his attractively priced “new” book titled “Boys Own 1968”! An absolute steal at one dollar, I mused as to the cutting edge technology it may have featured. Perhaps some tin model racing cars or a replica Gene Autrey gun holster!

Feeling the need for some lunch, I snuck into a road side milk bar near Rye where a large bright sign enthusiastically encouraged all to purchase a particular brand of lollipops for 99 cents each or three for three dollars! Pointing out the mathematical distortion to the cheery faced but somewhat dishevelled shop owner, he seemed quite bemused. “People have been snapping them up three at a time all week”, he mumbled. Strange creatures, we humans!

Mike Wheatley charged through the polished and attractive streetscapes of Sorrento with haste and again stopped the watch under four hours as he stole into Portsea. Just as he regularly pumps out 100km races under eight hours, his consistency over this course is outstanding. Mal Grimmett also ran a superbly judged race for second with first timer, Dan Thompson, impressive in third. I managed to find a couple of voice mail messages as runners started emerging over the final hill into the finish. Alissa Jones had called it a day suffering the after effects of flu but the second message was of a substantially urgent tone. Brian Glover’s wife had managed to flatten the battery of her car, a fact to which Brian was oblivious. With the help of a phone from a nearby resident and the RACV, she finally got going but not before Brian had gone two hours without a drink. Unfortunate circumstances is the only way to describe his dehydration and resultant DNF.

Warren Holst arrived at the finish via the back seat of his family car having suffered an injury while Andrew Herman called it a day at the marathon point having recorded a qualifying time for the Comrades Marathon. All others made it to the gates of the Portsea National Park to receive the traditional blocks of chocolate and mirrors. “The mirrors are bigger this year” observed Mal Grimmett. “That’s for our bigger heads” laughed Peter Bignell. Richard Arney wore an expression that strongly suggested the satisfaction of finishing his first ultra would be deep and lasting.Steve Hyde dished up the days most memorable entertainment. Intensely gratified with his 5:14 P.B., he stretched out exuberantly on the grass, sunk a large drink, towelled off the perspiration, engaged in a chat and sought some warmer clothes. He then expressed surprise with his time, “But My Watch Says 5:20” he grumbled in a confused tone. After much discussion and lamenting at the “poor’ quality of his newly purchased watch, he suddenly looked rather sheepish. Poor Steve had neglected to hit the stop button and the minutes were still happily ticking away! After a 55km run, I guess a degree of brain deadening can be forgiven.

As the day moved into mid afternoon, the gathering of runners and crew at the finish started shrinking with amazing rapidity. My untiring assistant, Sandra, started piling runners into her car with Peter Gray remaining to fill my one spare seat back to Frankston. The sight of pre season football games amongst the local parks as we made the return journey was a gentle reminder of the change of seasons as Peter’s accounts of his incredible ultra career provided absorbing conversation material.Finally sorting through the paperwork upon returning home, it appears that I have finished in the red again but so be it. With such questionable accounting skills, I could probably sack myself without any fear of unfair dismissal recriminations thanks to John Howard’s new Industrial Relations laws.

Without question, we’ll be back in 2007.

Advice for First-time ultra runner

I am currently working on a project eliciting advice through a questionnaire for training and racing in your first ultra. I realize that there are some very useful articles out there on the topic, but I find it very interesting and helpful to get the differing perspectives of ultra runners. My hope is to compile these surveys and provide them as a resource for anyone else starting out in ultra running. If anyone would be interested in answering one of my questionnaires, you can email me directly or visit my website. My hope is to compile these surveys and provide them as a resource for anyone else starting out in ultra running. I didn't want to post the questionnaire here to avoid annoying everyone with a lengthy message.
Matt Baumgardner

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

2006 Ultra Walking Calendar

Dvoracek dominating in Greece

Hot conditons in South Africa

42 hours30 degrees(C) by day dropping to 8 above freezing at 4:00am. Fortunately, it's still dry. For the first time in 11 years, the race is being lead by a lady runner. Susan Hurter (A.S.Eagles) has a 15km lead over Italian Aldo Maranzina. 3rd is George Niemandt (Roodepoort) and 4th is WALKER Brian Marshall on 172km. First novice Ingrid Solomon from Hewat A.C. Cape Town is in 5th on 170km. A transponder system has been implemented during the last 8 hours to remove some of the doubt that sometimes creeps in to an athletes mind after day 1. Marcelle Donald's blood blister purging operation was described by Marthie Brits (Chappies) as the most gory thing she has seen all week. Frik (Boksburg) is bringing up the rear on 125km. He is more interested in achieving his permanent number than in raw speed.

Full Results 26 hoursInto the second day, Brian M leads the field by consistent walking on 137km.Susan is 2nd overall on 130km. Brian Collings is 3rd on 127 with George Archer and Aldo jointly on 120km. Furtherest from the front, but not least, is Frik Du Preez on 84km. Still hot and relentlessly shadeless.

Croom Trail Run (Florida) results

50mi Fools run results:

I'm not a Fool 50k results:

AR50 Quick Report

The American River 50M results can be found at Rich Hanna's web site.

Katcina Mosa 100K

Just to let everyone know who might be interested in running a tough 100K
run for fun or to get that last long training run in, for one of those upcoming
100 milers coming in in Sept or Oct. You might want to check out the Katcina
Mosa 100K Mountain Challenge Run on Aug 5th IN Utah at _www.squawpeak50.com_
( .

It's our 5th Anniversary and we wolud love to have you join us. Runners who
have run in the past and have gone on to the Wasatch 100 said it made a huge
a difference in there completeing the 100 miler. It's a tough course with
17,004 feet of elevation gain and loss. It has spectacular views of the Wasatch
and Uinta Mountains, great volunteers and food and sponsors. Take a look at
the web site and hopefully see you in Aug.

Take care, John
John Bozung/RD
_Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run_ (
754 S 560 E
Orem, UT 84097
801-808-4222 cell
801-226-6789 home

Monday, April 03, 2006


2 APRIL 2006


1. Mike Wheatley 3:57:59
2. Mal Grimmett 4:18:15
3. Dan Thompson 4:35:04
4. Peter Bignell 4:43:39
5. Steve Hyde 5:14:23
6. Bruce Salisbury 5:27:35
7. Shane Pettingill 5:34:47
8. Ben Cotter 5:51:11
9. Garry Wise 5:53:27
10. Brendan Mason 5:57:45
10. John Dobson 5:57:45
12. Richard McCormick 6:07:09
13. Richard Arney 6:37:55
14. Ernie Hartley 6:51:56
15. Peter Gray 9:31:58
DNF Andrew Herman 42km
DNF Brian Glover 42km
DNF Warren Holst 40km
DNF Alissa Jones [F]31km

Indian Ultra Information

Click on the picture for full size.

Greek Ultra Festival Updates

Update from South African 6-day race

2006 Toyota Dealers 6 Day5 Hours George Archer of local club Johannesburg Harriers is leading with 40km.2nd is George Niemandt on 34km. Weather is 30 degrees in the sun with very little shade. 1st lady is Susan Hurter on 32km. This is the 1st 3 day run of rainfree days in the last two months4 of the runners are permanent number holders - at least 3 previous runs. Both George's and Brian Collings are into their 6th journey

1 Hour-another fine sunny morning All 19 entrants started the race at 10:05:12 So far, nobody has been hit by a cricket ball although the cricketers ask if we can avoid running across in front of the screeens. Quite cheeky. One side is already out so they should finish sooner. George Niemandt is leading after an hour with 10km (10 laps).

Grasslands Run 2006

By Suzi Cope RD
The Grasslands Run is unique in North Texas with its extensive trails
creating fifty miles of athletic excess. I created the event eight
years ago out of desperation after moving from ultra running Mecca in
Northern California. Terrain comparisons are not kind to the
Grasslands, but the event offers all the endurance challenges and adds
some interesting texture along with Texas size hospitality.
Finally we had an entrant this year who found the trail’s sand base
layer much to her liking. Lisa Smith-Batchen is returning to the six
day Sahara desert race (Marathon Des Sables) next week. Her win at
Grasslands 50-mile was a perfect training run.
Without a world class event on the horizon, other entrants met their
running goals during a stellar day of perfect weather and trail
conditions. North Texas Trail Runners club members were the main
of volunteers, and created a large portion of the 42 finishers in the
50-mile event. The marathon course record was broken by Todd Reynolds
and a field of sixty followed him. The half marathon record fell to
Jeff Burrows, leading a field of 140.
The Grasslands Run 50-mile record of 6:25 is held by club member and
perennial volunteer Scott Eppelman. Scott stayed home to care for his
twin baby boys, while new mom Kelly Eppelman ran the half marathon.
With perfect weather and trail conditions we could not help wonder if
the window was open for a 50-mile course record. New NTTR member Ryan
Loehding gave it a shot. His effort resulted in a fine 6:42:30 win,
proving again that Scott set a very tough benchmark in 1999.
Another tough act to follow is Jay Freeman’s streak. Jay’s 50-mile
finish was number eight. The only other perfect attendance record is
held by my husband Michael, who works the race and has completed the
half marathon sprint each year. His finish time reflects a brilliant
strategy to avoid endless event related chores.
Runners are treated to RaceReady coolmax shirts, frequent aid stations
featuring SUCCEED! Electrolyte replacement and post race Texas Bar BQ
sandwiches. The awards include Montrail shoes and hats for winners,
buckles for 50-mile finishers and Grasslands medals to all. Age group
winners in all three events got RaceReady running hats with the NTTR
logo. First 50-mile virgin finisher was Lake Grapevine Runners and
Walkers member Jack Hase, in second place over all. First virgin in
each distance got a Fuel Belt or Dirty Girlz gaiters.
The Salinas brothers, Santos and Mario, each finished the 50 running up
the American flag lined chute. On leave from Iraq, Mario was awarded
the camouflage pattern gaiters from Dirty Girlz.
At the end of a long day the volunteer staff is reduced to a dozen, and
the sun goes down while we clean up, pack up, and wait. The wait is
the final 50-mile finisher. This year we were waiting for Steve Hall.
Steve missed the cut off for loop three last year in his attempt at
50-mile. This was his year, and he was earning the finish the only way
you can, one step at a time.
The scoring crew was getting a little silly, and I suggested we
embellish the finish line with the remaining aid station ice bags. In
the dark we built a glacier across the line and added red glow sticks,
blue flashlight and a white one to enhance the patriotic theme. The
statement was sort of “when hell freezes over, Steve Hall will finish a
50”, and he did!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ireland Run completed

Congratulations to Thomas Wenning and Claudia Webber who have completed their 620km Run across Ireland. More details at