Archive for September, 2008

Short Weekend


While normal weekends see results pile up from 50 mile and 100 mile races, this past weekend, September 27 saw just two 5K races.


In Bluefield, WV, Nick Whited (Raven, VA) ran the 3rd annual Brian Delp Memorial 5K.  After climbing the hill inside the first mile of the course, Nick found himself running alone against the clock over the hilly road course.  Nick finished strong over the last half mile which was slightly downhill, running to a time of 17:24, good for a win by over 30 seconds.  It was Nick’s third time winning the race which is held in memory of Brian A. Delp, a Bluefield State College student-athlete who lost his life while assisting a stranded motorist in 2002.


Meanwhile, in Richmond, VA, Dalton Kuhar (Fuqua School, Farmville, VA) was at Maymont Park running the McDonalds Maymont Cross Country Invitational.  Over a deceptively hilly course Dalton finished a strong second in the Private School division with a time of 21:28.

Not Bad For a Training Run

As part of his training schedule, Eric Grossman (Emory, VA) had a 15 mile trail race on Saturday, September 13.  The plan was to run a steady pace and get a strong tempo- style run out of the effort.  When Eric showed up at the Bays Mountain 15 Mile Run  in Kingsport, TN on race morning, he saw more competition than he had anticipated.  After a quick description of the course layout from a local, Eric smiled, knowing it was a course he would enjoy, as it included a small climb, a large climb, some dirt and gravel roads, another big climb, and then a “bunch of single track trail”.  As the temperature soared and humidity matched, Eric went out with a pack that followed the lead runner.  However, as the trail climbed, Eric found himself in a solo second position.  As the trail peaked and they headed into the downhill single track section, Eric made a move and broke the leader and assumed the lead on his own and ran strong into the finish, upsetting the field as no one gave the “ultra man” credit for being able to run so hard on such a “short” race.   Eric may have pushed the effort level just a tad harder than a “good tempo run”, but it served as a good marker of his current fitness level.

It Was Nearly a Triathlon

There aren’t many things that interrupt cross country races.  Pretty much only lightning strikes will cause a cross country race to be cancelled.  So, when Hurricane Hanna blew through central Virginia Saturday morning, the race director of the Fork Union Military Academy Cross Country Invitational in Fork Union, VA never even blinked.  As the old saying goes, “Keep your powder dry”, the starter pistol fired right on time despite nearly 5 inches of rain being dumped onto the course before and during the race.  While some teams were prohibited from coming due to school officials making decisions for safety of travel during tough conditions, those that did attend were treated to the downpour, mud, and in some cases knee-deep flood waters as ravines became rivers. 

Dalton Kuhar (Fuqua School, Farmville, VA) couldn’t have been happier with the conditions.  While some complained about the rain and slop, Dalton smiled and ran.  Dalton ran hard through the puddles and mires and after having battled it out with another competitor for much of the race, Dalton surged ahead on the last straightaway but just before the finish line, was caught again and passed.  Dalton finished 10th overall in the girls’ competition.

It was remarked after the race that all that was needed was a bike portion to add to the run and swim and it would have been a triathlon!

One Tough Dude

Leo Lightner (Rocky River, OH) continues to amaze, whether it be for his performances or his toughness.  This weekend (September 7) at the Groundhog Fall 50K in Punxsutawney, PA, Leo ran 7:48 for 93rd place.   And, with a mile to go, Leo tripped and landed face first on the asphalt, cutting a deep gouge over his right eye.  A friend gave Leo a bandana to hold on his face and Leo continued on and crossed the finish line with a stream of blood down his face.  Leo required 5 stitches to close himself up but he crossed the finish line before he sought first aid.  It was also a PR on the course by 27 minutes.  At age 79, Leo was first place in the 70 and over category.

Steady and Strong

Rick Moyer (Reading, PA) was 5 minutes faster this year at the Groundhog Fall 50K in Punxsutawney, PA.  Despite the tough terrain and hot and humid conditions, Rick concentrated on proper nutrition and hydration through the race and in maintaining a constant pace, rather than make the self-admitted mistake of going out too hard and paying later that he had done previously.  Rick’s time of 5:33 placed him 29th overall.

A Strong Finish Despite…

Caren Jew (Gaithersburg, MD) ran strong from start to finish at Saturday’s Groundhog Fall 50K in Punxsutawney, PA.  Caren ran a well paced race, concentrating on running even and steady and maintaining fluid and electrolyte intake while battling the hot and humid conditions.  Just short of the finish, when challenged for position by another competitor, Caren was able to step the pace up despite “trashed quads and blisters” to finish on an upbeat note in 7:44.

Well, He Survived It…

Just one day following Steve Crowder’s (Fincastle, VA) tough run at Little Beaver State Park, he found out about a race that had a small cash purse not far from where he was visiting relatives.  Now, my personal experience that is tried and true is this: A man will do lots of dumb things for money or for women.  Steve’s actions on Sunday, August 31 confirm the former.  We all probably have a story regarding the latter…

So, on Sunday afternoon, Steve went to Pineville, WV for the Pineville Labor Day Festival 5K which began at 6PM.  This course proved a slight more forgiving as Steve won with a time of 17:04, outdistancing the next finisher by 1 minute 20 seconds.  Steve’s cash haul nearly covered gas and food expenses for him and his family on their weekend visit.  Steve admitted that back-to-back races aren’t his smartest move, but at least they were 5K’s and not marathons or ultras.  Steve has also promised (perhaps with crossed fingers) to not do it again.

Grand Teton 100

With the cancellation of Western States 100 putting Josh Brimhall’s (Henderson, NV) hunger for a 100 mile race on hold, he got his taste at the Grand Teton 100 Mile in Alta, Wyoming on August 30.  Over a 25 mile course (run 2X for the 50 mile and 4X for the 100 mile) with a gain of nearly 5,000 feet per loop, the terrain features single-track trail, forest service roads, bike trails, and a short stretch of pavement per loop.

Josh reached the 5.6 mile aid station in one hour, positioning himself already with a five minute lead over the 100 mile field and ahead of all but 3 of the 50 mile competitors.  By 50 miles, Josh had overtaken all but the winner of the 50 mile race.  He continued on for another 50 very lonely miles to win in 19:59:07, nearly 3 hours ahead of second place.

Youch! That’s Hot

When Nick Whited (Raven, VA) stepped out of his hotel room Saturday morning,  August 30, in the dark, he was hit with an already intense heat and humidity.  It just so happened that just hours later Nick and thousands of others would step to the starting line of the Charleston 15 Miler in Charleston, WV.

Nick had a race plan that included going out conservative in order to not cook his legs in the first four miles (miles two, three, and four are primarily uphill) then to run the steep downhill two mile section to the six mile mark as gently as possible and then begin basically a nine mile charge to the finish.   Nick’s plan paid off as he finished in 1:38:23 for 15th overall, as many who went out harder and led Nick early fell by the wayside as products of being too aggressive too early against a tough course and very tough race conditions. 

Making Due

After Steve Crowder (Fincastle, VA) realized he wouldn’t be able to make a race in Charleston, WV on Saturday, August 30, he was able to make it to the H.B. Thomas Memorial 5K in Little Beaver State Park in Beaver, WV.  Now, Steve didn’t learn of the race until 10PM on Friday night, and the only information he could find on the race was the 5K distance, the location, and the start time.

So, on Saturday morning, Steve showed up at the race, signed up, and looked around.  What he realized quickly was that he hadn’t come to a road race, but to a West Virginia style cross country race—complete with brutal hills, rocks, roots, mud, and gravel roads.  Steve wasn’t intimidated, as that’s much of what he trains on on the Appalachian Trail around his home.

Steve got an idea of the course layout as he ran and jogged it for a warm up.  When the trigger was pulled, Steve bailed into the lead and was never challenged as he ran to a win by 4 minutes.  Steve’s time of 18:53 reflected the difficulty of the course—with his next closest competitors timed at over 22 minutes.

Good Finish      

High in the mountains of Easton, WA, lies the start/finish of the Cascade Crest 100 Mile, held August 23.  With much of the course on the beautiful Pacific Crest Trail, the 100 mile race gains 20,470 feet cumulatively.  Amy Leigh Brown (Chapel Hill, NC) prepared at home in the heat of the summer for the tough journey ahead.  Her preparation went very well, with solo long runs and some longer runs done as pacers for friends in long races.  Amy knew that it was imperative that she maintain a relaxed pace and that she fuel and hydrate from the early points of the race in order to be able to continue a strong pace late after such a brutal course had taken its toll.

Late in the race, Amy got cold, as the race conditions were much cooler than those under which she had been training in North Carolina all summer.  As she battled not only the competition, the course, and the elements, her mindset on finishing strong never wavered.  She finished 74th overall in 31:28:22.   She was also 17th female finisher.   It was an especially hard effort too, as Amy used no pacer, choosing instead to brave the dark hours alone rather than have the companionship of a pacer to help her maintain her focus and alertness.