One Track Mind
Sometimes Mark Lundblad (Swannanoa, NC) only has the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time. On Saturday morning, that proved to his advantage because the one thing on his mind was breaking the course record at the Bel Monte 50K at Sherando Lake State Park just outside Charlottesville, VA. With about 150 athletes lined up in the dark on the starting line, ready to embark on distances of 25K, 50K, and 50 miles, Mark’s thoughts were on the 31.1 miles of some of the roughest, most technical trail that the Appalachian Mountains had to offer. Things shook out early when at the aid station at 4 miles Mark found himself in the lead of the 50K, with help at pacing from the eventual 25K winner and another athlete who attacked the 50K pace aggressively at the start. When the 25K runners turned toward their finish line, Mark and the second runner were together at the 13 mile aid station. From there, Mark established his dominance over both Saturday’s competition, but also over every other athlete that had run those same steps to finish with a time of 4:18:53 a win by over 30 minutes, but also with a most coveted course record. Mark, that’s called FOCUS!
It’s Lonely at the Top
Anne Lundblad (Swannanoa, NC) may be the loneliest woman in America. When Anne shows up on the starting line, she is often surrounded by people, but more often than not, when the trigger is pulled, Anne finds herself alone, positioned way ahead of the closest female competitor and just behind the men’s lead pack. The story played itself out again Saturday morning at the Bel Monte 50K at Sherando Lake State Park just outside Charlottesville, VA. It took just a couple miles for Anne to find herself in the lead of the women’s race and behind the men’s race leaders. Only two of those men were able to manage staying ahead of Anne the whole way. With the men’s 1st and 2nd place runners pulling away and Anne pulling farther from the runner up woman, there was a stretch of over 2 hours where Anne didn’t see a single person. Anne ran on to the win by almost 22 minutes with a time of 5:02:35. It’s lonely at the top, huh?
Successful Road Trip
This past weekend Tim Long (Charlotte, NC) loaded up his car and road tripped to
Florida. After hitting the road on Friday afternoon several hours late and rushing down the highway only to be held up in traffic and construction on the way, Tim found himself arriving in
Jacksonville Beach too late to see the course or to really relax after his trip. Sleep came fitfully and woefully short and before long Tim found himself headed to the park without having had the chance to get nervous or consider much except getting to the starting line of the Guana 50K in Ponte Vedra Saturday morning. When the gun went off, a pack of five developed which included three 50K contestants and two members of two person relay teams. After a 57 minute first lap and a 59 minute second lap, Tim found himself midway through the race well behind the eventual winner and running even with the same 50K runner. At the second aid station Tim made a decision which may have ultimately saved his race: to stop and take advantage of the supplies with several bottles of fluid and a bagel with peanut butter. Tim found himself suddenly way behind the other runner he had entered the aid station with who had not stopped to refuel. The third lap was toughest for Tim until he caught a glimpse of that same runner in the distance who was faltering. When Tim caught him, he went by definitively and burst into second place. His newfound excitement and enthusiasm carried him easily the remainde of the third lap and all the way to the finish in 4:00:09 a new 50K PR by 40 minutes and the third fastest time on the course in history. It was a short lived celebration however, as Tim loaded himself back in the car to drive the 400+ miles home. All good things must end.