30 June 2011. by Viktor Trukov
Chattooga River 50 km Trail Ultra Marathon Run. Volunteering! 🙂
Chattooga 50 km run is a third in 2011 series, organized by Terri Hayes of UltrasOnTrails.com Unfortunately, I could not run this, because I sprained my right ankle at Long Cane 50 km Run a month earlier, and it still hurts even after standing and moving around for a few hours… So, I decided to come up as a volunteer to help runners, as Terri indicated, that she still needed help.
This Run was along the Chattooga river, in North-Western portion of South Carolina, mostly following Foot Hills Trail.
Up to Terri’s standards, event was organized very well, and we had enough volunteers, food and drinks for everyone!
Course of the run was made with two out-and-back loops, so only two Aid Stations (AS) were needed.
Run start was at Cherry Hill Recreational Area, quite a few miles away from Walhalla, SC. First, runners went out on Winding Stairs Trail, up to Temassee Road and return. First Aid Station was at about 11 km (7 miles) into the run. After that runners went on Big Bend Trail to the river, switched to Foot Hills Trail (FHT) and run along the Chattooga River for long 16 km (10 miles) without aid, till they come to AS #2 at Cheohee rd/hwy 107 intersection.
From that point, there was out-and-back 6.5 km (4 miles) loop to the first bridge on FHT, returning to AS, now #3, and back to Chattooga river for another 16 km (10 mi) unassisted run, to AS#1/4, where water bottles were left, as it was very close to the finish.
The aid stations were fully stocked with HEED, water, ice, Gatorade, Powerade, Soda, a wide variety of sweet and salty foods including cold boiled potatoes with salt, homemade banana chocolate chip bread, PB&J sandwiches, watermelon, bananas, Hammer Gels, etc. Also, there were Endurolyte tablets, Ibuproprin, Tums, Vaseline. At the finish there was hot food for runners and volunteers with meat and vegetarian!
My mama went with me, to help also, and we drove off in the morning, as it’s about an hour and a half away from our home. I again did not calculated time for travel correctly, and came to the camp, with runners already on the start line, about a minute before the start… The familiar atmosphere of The Run hit me immediately after I stepped out of the truck, when Dan Hartley, RD of Harbison 50 km and Columbia, SC Marathon in SC, yelled at me – Where are your running shoes, Viktor? 🙂 Sigh… Not running – I told him. Then I just snapped a few photos, not having enough time to even switch the camera dial to Sport mode, before runners disappeared into the woods…
It was good to see familiar faces, old and new friends, wish them good run, and feeling slightly sad, not being able to run it… Especially this run, as I have very sweet memory of FHT and Chattooga river from my successful Inaugural Unofficial Bad Creek 50 km Ultra Marathon Run in March! It was different and strange to be on the other side of the event, but I feel it was my duty to help after running in previous events.
We went to AS#1 and helped Denise and Mike Martin to set up a table with food and drinks. My truck was used as a mile post for runners to run by, entering the trail on another side of the road! 🙂 Later more volunteers came along, and I started to take photos of runners and had fun jokingly telling them, that they completed first 10 km and only a Marathon distance is left to run! 🙂 Runners were coming in looking fresh and strong, no complains, quickly refilling their water bottles/bags and running off to the river. Sean Dunlap, defending champion, was leading and Tom Kochanowicz, Stephen Spalding and others following up.
Terri Hayes was a sweep, and when she came, we cleaned the AS#1, took everything back to the Finish, leaving only a case with water bottles for runners there. My truck came handy with moving all that staff! After that, we drove to AS#2 at Cheohee Rd. at about midpoint of the run at 27 km (17 miles) for runners coming in, and becoming AS#3 at 34 km (21 miles) for runners returning from turn around point.
When I came there, first three runners already went thru with Sean Dunlap still leading the pack. We started to worry, when he did not come back after runners that followed him started to return, and later learned that he dropped from run for some issues… Sad… It’s always sad when people are unable to finish, but health concerns on this Ultra Runs must be a priority, as people running very long distances put so much stress on their organism. It’s better to be safe and alive, than suffer serious health problem. Everyone should exercise their best judgement in this regard, especially with 16 km (10 miles) unaided stretch of a trail ahead of them!
The second AS revealed a big difference in runners appearance. Most came with their clothes completely soaked with sweat or water. Chattooga river provided opportunity to go in the water and cool down. Many runners did it repeatedly, as a day was getting hotter by the hour! Oh, how I’d love to do it too! Sigh… Next time! 🙂 Some runners were dropping out of the race here, unable to continue in this hot and humid conditions. Some spent time resting, rehydrating and eating before continue their run. One man was really feeling bad, but recovered after some rest and help. Most runners appeared tired and complained of fatigue, to which I told them – from now on it’s All downhill for the last 10 miles! Psychologically, of course, last stretch to the finish line! That’s how I view it on the runs and it helps! All my running friends went thru alright – Doug Robinson, Dan Hartley, Jason Sullivan, Charles Raffensperger and Psyche Wimberly! You go guys! Most acquaintances went thru alright also!
We waited for all the runners to go thru, advised them to fill up, eat and drink before they’ll go on the final stretch and after all runners, including our sweep Terri Hayes went thru, we packed AS (and my truck again was very convenient) and took it to the Finish, where other volunteers were busy registering finishers, giving away medals, feeding runners and staff, giving massages and conversing with runners!
These Runs, althou not a big scale runs, but are very well organised and in many respects are better than big venues, because there is enough food and supplies for everybody, not too many people, many are regulars and know each other. Finishing is a goal, and althou some strive for a top place, many know their abilities and enjoy the run, not worrying much about their placement. Personal health is a prime concern, and everybody must think about personal goals and timing, not a placement on the list! Many people do that. All of this creates a tribal family atmosphere, which most of us like and cherish. It just feels so pleasant and rewarding to reunite with your friends, accomplish a difficult task and bask in the glory of achievement afterwards! It just feels so-o-o good, and drives us to come back for more, despite shed toe nails, bruises, poison ivy, chafing and other injuries. Endorphin rush lasts for many days and lets us overcome Nature’s obstacles and keep us in the running fold! For that we are forever grateful!
By the time we came to the Finish line, many runners were already there, eating, taking a shower, receiving massages from always present massage therapist Denise Martin, talking to each other. My new friend, Matt Verley, with whom we got acquainted just before the run, already finished as a #4 overall with 5:59:02 time! Excellent result for a very first Ultra Marathon run, Matt! Congratulation! And his wife was volunteering at AS#2/3 until all the runners went thru!
Many more runners were still running in and trickling thru the finish line, greeted by friends and volunteers! Susan Donnelly asked me about my shirt “Training for Greenville Run Fest“, and I told her, that I’ll run my home town upcoming Marathon on 29 October 2011!
I must say a great praise for volunteers, many of whom are a constant feature at every event, helping us runners to accomplish our runs. Terri’s daughter Robin, grandsons Justin, Ryan and Charles are regularly helping her.
Denise Martin’s massages are very well appreciated by suffering runners! And Denise’s husband Mike is a great help with setting up AS and Finish Line!
I got acquainted with new people, reflected on previous runs, discussed future plans, ate some hot food, talked and joked with old friends, while mama went into the woods and picked some Chanterelle Mushrooms ! She cooked them later, and as you can know, I’m alive and well! 🙂
Closer to the end of the run, one woman, who just finished a run told us that there is no more water bottles left at the AS #4/1 and I offered to take another case with bottles there, as it was a time for me to go back home to get ready for work, on which I was already behind a schedule… So, thanking the volunteers, bidding good-bye to runners, I took a case of water to AS #4, cleaned up the mess there and went home. Another good event is over, and despite me not participating, it felt great to be there, to see friends, to help, and pay back to organizers!
Sorry I couldn’t write report earlier, as I was so busy at work with exams before a holiday week, and had some issues with photo editing in Picasa for Linux…
Congratulations to first finishers:
1. Tom Kochanowicz 36 NC 5:23:45 bib#173
2. Nick Medica 27 GA 5:25:51 bib#185
3. Stephen Spalding 23 SC 5:46:13 bib#203
4. Matt Verley 26 SC 5:59:02 bib#208
5. Thaddeus Gilliam 26 GA 6:35:42 bib#161
6. Mike McConnell 47 FL 6:38:30 bib#182
7. Billy Gordon 35 NC 6:48:00 bib#163
8. Larissa Yook 30F SC 6:55:40 1st Female bib#214
9. Zachary Dean 25 SC 6:55:40 bib#141
10. Chad Hallyburton 42 NC 7:05:00 bib#165
First three female finishers:
8. Larissa Yook 30F SC 6:55:40 1st Female bib#214
17. Corrine Odermatt 44F GA 7:12:45 bib#193
23. Jennifer Ford 35F AL 7:42:38 bib#154
Congratulations to all finishers!!!
Official results are available on UltrasOnTrails site-> http://ultrasontrails.com/ChattoogaResults2011.html
Congratulations to #56 finisher, Thomas Skinner 65 y.o. from Georgia, bib#202, finishing at 10:29:15 being the most senior runner at Chattooga!
All pictures of this Trail Ultra Marathon Run you can see at my Picasa Web Album – Chattooga 50 km Trail Ultra Marathon Run! It’s open to public, so you welcome to download, add, upload your photos, tag and comment! Also, the same album is on FaceBook. 🙂
1) It appears that many runners are not adequately acclimatized to running in the hot weather, despite living in the South… Many run in the mornings or evenings, when it’s cooler, avoiding the heat. Some trying to go to saunas and hot yoga. But if you only run in cooler times, how are you going to feel running 50 km or longer thru most of the heat of the day?!
Solution is obviously simple – run in the heat of the day! Even after work, at 18:00 or a bit later it’s hot enough to train your organism for these long events. Schedule some long runs on weekends during the heat of the day! You’ll feel much better during 6 – 7 – 8 hours or longer runs!
2) Many runners carry extra weight, and would really benefit from weight reduction to normal, without a need to haul extra several kilograms of fat on themselves! Easier for heart, joints, muscles! Cross-training and appetite control are in order! Without extra weight all the energy used for movement! I, myself, need to continue to work on this also! 🙂
3) Some runners need to learn how to enjoy the long run and get a bit more positive attitude! It took me awhile to realize it. At first, wishes to enjoy the run, I considered as some kind of twisted psychological torture. Enjoy running a Marathon or Ultra?? It’s a hard labor for hours at the peak of performance on the brink of exhaustion! How you can enjoy it?? Seemed impossible. But now after 6 of those runs completed, I really do enjoy them! I enjoy exercise, connecting with friends, being on the Nature, able to keep running over a Marathon distance, finishing, feeling accomplished – all of it!!! 🙂
Wish you all good recovery and wise resolutions!
Good exercises for good health everyone!!! Do not overdo, do no harm to yourself!!! Exercise safely!!!
P.s. Please, tell me if you want your name to be partially omitted from post (e.g. last name removed), or on opposite, you realize, I’m describing you (e.g. man in white shirt) and you want me to put your name in the post instead.
Also, please, let me know of any mistakes I made, English is not my native tongue. And feel free to talk in Russian with me any time! 😉