Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fourth Running New River Trail 50km, 10/8/2011

"1 minute warning!" before race start. Photo courtesy of Joel Pulliam
 This year we had 123 entrants and 105 starters on this cool, foggy, early autumn morning on the banks of the New River. If my figuring is correct 70 of the 123 registered were 1st time ultrarunners. There were 77 male starters and 27 female starters. 99 runners finished within the 7 hour time limit.

View of New River from race start. Photo courtesy of Joel Pulliam
 As in year’s past, staff from New River Trail State Park were hugely helpful with logistics, setting up aid stations and finish line area and providing transportation for our volunteers who worked the “no vehicle access", Fries Junction aid station. The community of Fries was supportive and the local women’s group cooked up gallons of soup, dozens of loaves of homemade sourdough bread and stacks of cookies for  a lite post-run lunch.
VA Park Service Staff day before race
This year we got to use their fancy new clock!
Ranger Patrick is in charge of the South end of New River Trail State Park
John Batchelor, 36 years old from Rocky Mount, NC was the male champion with a time of 3:42:30. I do believe this was John’s first ultra win! Congratulations John!  He had the 10th fastest time ever run on this course. Following John was 1st masters, David Honea, 42 of Boone, NC, closely followed by Nick Whitehead, 33 of Bluefield, VA.
Nick at the Cliffview turnaround (photo courtesy of Nick)

Trail view, taken mid morning. Photo courtesy of Joel Pulliam

Chestnut Yard aid station #2 and #4. Photo courtesy of Joel Pulliam. (That's him-the runner in blue!)
 Women’s champion was Laura Maclean, 43 of Willow Spring NC, with the 8th fastest female time on this course: 4:16:49. She was followed by Lydia Odell, 42 of Brevard, NC and Kara Lemon, 32 of Charlottesville, VA with times of 4:23:44 and 4:25:20, respectively. Full results are now posted on UltraSignup:

A special shout on to Kara for holding the spirit of being “green”. For this race we minimize disposables, use local products when possible and purchase and are sponsored by company’s that have a demonstrated record of responsible practices. Runners were informed that each aid station would have 70 paper cups, and when the were gone…they’re gone. Most runners carried packs or hand held bottles.

…Back to Kara. At the conclusion the race, I heard about a young “fast girl” who carried around a squished paper cup to each of the aid stations, reusing her paper cup until at last the folks at the last aid station made her take a new one! Thank you to Kara and many, many other runners who took to heart our efforts at minimizing trash during this race.

Though I mentioned the placing above of just the top 3 men and women there were many amazing performances out there, one’s that because I get to share in them, even in a small way, remind me of the utter privilege of race directing!

One runner, and I won’t use her name, as I haven’t asked permission, was in a serious car wreck a couple of years ago. She had to relearn how to talk and walk and take care of herself. This was her return to ultrarunning for the first time since her accident. I know she had a wonderful day out there and I am thrilled for this awesome lady!
This year's optional shirts
 Though, with last week being the 4th edition of NRT 50k, we continue to evolve, while holding onto the ideals of quality, “green”, affordable, fair and friendly. I do not come from a back ground of road racing, which seems to have very different norms in regard to swag and age group awards. I also realize that NRT 50k is attracting more and more 1st time ultrarunners-which is certainly a joy, yet leaves me a bit in a dilemma.
A view of our living room floor, night after the race. Even the cat went into hiding!
Runners are asking for finishers medals and finishers shirts and to keep track of age groups. Some ask for additional categories of age groups awards. I know runners are very proud of finishing their first ultra (and I am the 1st to applaud everyone),I respect runners for asking for what they want and sharing what matters to them, yet at the same time stay within what I value as a race designer and race director.

I wonder what other’s think? I am not a bit put-off by these requests, in fact, I like it that I am approachable and folks feel free to give critical feedback. If anyone has any experiences or thoughts about what I am pondering, I would love to hear!

This year was another year of fabulous weather, talented and passionate runners, supporters and many dedicated volunteers. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the race.  Put 10/13/2012 on your calendar for the next edition!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New River Trail 50k 10/08/11: Preliminary results

It was a very life-filled day on the banks of the New River yesterday for the 4th running of New River Trail 50k.

John Batchelor, 36 was the overall male with a time of 3:42:30, followed by David Honea, 42, 3:46:10, and Nick Whithead, 33, 3:46:37. The female champion was Laura McClean, 43, 4:16:49, followed by Lydia O'dell, 42, 4:23:44 and Kara Lemon, 32, 4:25:20.

 Preliminary results are posted below. I invite folks to send stories and photos (if you think you have one that might be suitable for publication in UltraRunning, please send a high quality file). I will be working on race report, blog post,  and completing results this week.

Thank you to all runners, volunteers, community of Fries,  VA State Parks staff, and to The Great Mystery for the awesome weather and beautiful river. Much more to follow.