Woods Ferry 24 Hour Ultra Trail Run.

3-4 September 2011.  by Viktor Trukov

Anyone who has photos of the start with the whole group, please share, so I can put it here and on Picasa Web Album for all to see!!!

 Woods Ferry 24 Hour Ultra Trail Run. 

   Labor Day weekend! Celebrated by running with friends at Woods Ferry Recreation Area in Sumter National Forest near Chester, SC.        This is a fourth run in 2011 series organized by Terri Hayes of UltrasOnTrails.com. As usual some of Terri’s family members were volunteering, her grandson Justin maintaining an Aid Station and Dan Hartley, Race Director of Columbia, SC Marathon and Harbison 50 km Ultra did help there too after some running!

   This run is my first Ultra run since recovery from twisted ankle injury at Long Cane 50 km Run in May. The injury was serious, and althou I was able to finish last three kilometers by slow trotting, I had to do X-ray of the foot. Luckily there were no broken bones, but the foot was oedematous and painful even after regular daily activity for a long time. Torn ligaments may take as long as broken bones to heal, or even longer… and usually have recurrent pain for some period of time afterwords. So, remembering how my not fully healed injuries were hurting me for months on the row, when I kept running with them, I took two months – June and July off running completely (read – gain some weight…), missing sadly Chattooga 50 km Run, where I volunteered. I ran along it in February, during Inaugural Unofficial Bad Creek 50 km Ultra Marathon Run, and have a very good feelings about it. 😉

   My injury set me back on my goal of running one Marathon or Ultra Marathon a month in 2011, because I missed two months of running – June and July completely. So, Woods Ferry 24 hours Run became my seventh, and I needed a Marathon or 50 km Ultra to make it official. I did not want to push my luck with my barely healed ankle, and my training in August was very light – I just got back to my usual 10 km running routine, but did not achieve my best previous time yet, and my only one long run was 16 km on Swamp Rabbit Trail with Josef Parker and Bo Millwood the previous weekend. This 24 hours format of the run was very good for me, because it provided opportunity to take breaks between loops and run at comfortable pace as long as desired and in the end the total distance is counted!

I had so many papers to finish for my work the whole weekend, that I was only able to go to the Park about 1.5 hours before the start of the race. From Greenville, SC the easiest way was: I-385 -> I-85 NE -> Hwy 9 South. Hurrying to the park, had to drive very very fast, and it was unnerving to see three patrols on the side of the road writing tickets to fellow motorists… I could probably make it on time, but going thru Spartanburg, came to a fork and Hwy 9 was not marked there, of course I made a wrong choice and lost about 20 minutes figuring to go back on it. Also barely avoided an accident very close to the park… when I was driving behind a big wide motorcycle with a man and a woman on it, going 40 mph on 45 mph road. I was driving behind them for a while, until the passing line came along and no upcoming traffic on two lane road. I showed a turning signal and even hunk the horn and started to pass them, when all of a sudden the man on motorcycle swerved in front of me into my lane without any warning – no turning signal, no hand signal, no look over the shoulder… mere 10 meters in front of my truck… All I could do was immediately slam on the brakes. The screech of my brakes was so loud (thanks for brand new tires!) that he heard it, look over the shoulder and swerved back into his lane. I did not even had enough time to get scared, made sure he sees the situation, then passed him. Another time loss happened in the Park, looking for the Woods Ferry Recreation Area. When I was so close to the Entrance of it, I stopped an upcoming car, and talked to a woman in it about directions, but she said, she is looking for it too… When I found it shortly afterwards, I tried to get her, went after her over a few hills, but she was gone… Only later I found out that it was Angela Ivory, on her way to 300th (!) Marathon/Ultra! So, returned to entrance and drove to the Start, where I found Terri Hayes, and a few volunteers.

On Start!

On Start with RD Terri Hayes and Chad Hallyburton (fresh from yoga class:)!

             On start! Woods Ferry 24 hour Run!

I was glad to see Chad Hallyburton getting ready for a run, being late also. We got ready quickly, talked to Terri about a course and started to run at 16:45. As usual, I took off my shirt on start and went on the trail in boisterous mood. Mama stayed at the Shelter to take photos.

Discussing the course with Terri Haynes and Chad Hallyburton.

The course of this run was a “lollipop” shaped – with access trail from the Shelter leading to a loop ~ 12.5 km (7.75 mi) total. Runners had to run from Base Shelter thru access trail to the loop, complete a loop and get back to Shelter. There was one Aid Station in the middle of the loop with food, water, gels, bananas, etc. and the same at Shelter as well. Basically a runner had only about 6 km between Aid Stations!

Into the trail!

Into the trail! (45 minutes after everybody...)

Despite the promise of cooling down a bit, the day turned out hot and humid with temperature about 34.5 C (94 F) with 85% humidity. Good thing that I did not know it, and having done all my August training runs in the middle of the day, running in the woods did not feel any hotter than usual. We ran with Chad together to the Aid Station, passing two walking women on the way. I took a little longer time than him refueling and he went ahead on the trail. I started to run when two walking women just got to AS. Staying behind turned out to be a big mistake for me… because I couldn’t get to Chad and not being familiar with the course, made a wrong turn and got lost for a while… Instead of going towards the connecting trail I ran parallel to the loop and came to the gravel road, before it turns left to the power lines. Luckily for me, I saw some runners coming to the road and asked them for directions to the shelter. Running back against the flow turned out to be fun meeting many new and old friends! We greeted each other enthusiastically.

Somewhere on connecting trail, more than half an hour after leaving AS, I surprisingly caught up with those two walking women that I left at AS!.. Most likely I ran additional 5 km (3 miles) on the first loop. 🙂 It felt good to finally come to Shelter to have some food and drinks and relax and rest for a while! Even with extra running I felt quite good after a first loop! The trail was easy to run on, with just a few rough spots after horses, and very few rocks and roots. I think I tripped only once! Per my latest strategy, I took two electrolyte pills on each AS, drank water and HEED, and had small snack – banana, etc.

Finishing first loop.

Finishing first loop at Woods Ferry 24 hr Run.

By the time I was ready to head into the second loop, some runners returned from completing it already, and advised me to take a flashlight, as it was going to get dark on the way back. I started to run second loop during a light and again met many familiar faces on connecting trail! Usually I can run up to a Marathon distance without walking, if the hills are not too steep, but this time started to walk uphills on the second loop. Lets just blame it on recovery. 🙂 After an AS it was already necessary to use a flashlight, as dusk was setting quickly. I had to look very carefully on the road, but being nearsighted still could not see it clearly. When Todd, one of the runners with huge light output from his headlight passed me, I followed him to shelter and was able to keep up. By the time we reached Shelter it was completely dark. I felt no different compared to the first loop, but a bit less heated!

Second loop finished!

Second loop finished at Woods Ferry 24 hr Run!

I remember thinking, that I did not like running at night idea – too dark, hard to see the road, easier to get trauma, can’t recognize
upcoming  people, etc. So, I decided to put my glasses on and change the batteries in the flashlight. Mama advised me to change socks also, since they were completely wet and dirty. I also realized that I forgot to put cream around armpits, and they already started to chafe…

After all these changes I went on the third loop as a fresh runner! Glasses and new batteries in flashlight made a big difference – I could see the road clearly and started to enjoy night-time running! One big advantage is that it’s much cooler temperature, and I even ran some mild uphills again! A few people passed me, Matt Verley was one of them, and I also met Bo Millwood, from my town, going strong on his first Ultra Marathon! Jason Sullivan was coming up, in good spirits as usual, Drew Walker, Greta Dobe,  Steffen Martin, and others. Also met Jason Rogers, and quite a few new people! With Andrew we ran tag all along the whole loop, back and forth, somehow I got ahead on my beloved downhills, but he was already on his fourth loop.

Marathon distance completed!Marathon completed! Viktor: “I need one more loop to make it 50 km.” Terri: “You’ll do it! Just rest, eat pizza, and go!”

After a third loop I started to feel tired, and did not want to have any sweets, did not even want to eat fresh warm pizza, that Terri just brought in. Counting extra running on the first loop, I had already completed a Marathon Distance! I’d say it’s understandable to get a bit tired after a Marathon. 😉 So, I took longer than usual time to rest, and finally aroma of pizza got me back to the mood for eating. A couple of pizza pieces went down very well, and I felt ready for my final loop. Taking a break and talking to fellow runners also feels very good, and Terri tried to encourage and offer support and advice to everybody!

Runners resting at the base shelter.

Runners resting at the base shelter.

Andy Colee was at the shelter also, intended to run his age in kilometers!

Andy Colee

Andy Colee planning to run his age in kilometers!

At this time Bo came to the shelter finishing his fourth loop – 50 km and officially becoming an Ultra Runner! He was somewhat perplexed, happy and stunned at the same time. We congratulated him cordially and I offered him to run one more loop together, if he feels up to it. He agreed almost immediately. I went ahead and he said he would get to me a bit later, after finishing talking on the phone. He surely caught up with me close to gravel road and we ran the final loop together, talking and joking. The final loop was over much quicker running in the company, and we arrived to the shelter happy to finish this event for us. I did not want to overexertion my ankle, which was sensitive and mildly hurting since loop 2, my total distance being ~ 55 km (34 miles) and Bo had completed close to 40 miles (38.77 mi = 62.5 km) on his first Ultra Run! Congratulation!

Bo Millwood and me.

Bo Millwood - new Ultra runner and me.

We got our medals, photos, talked to Terri and fellow runners, cleaned up and drove home. I still needed to finish paperwork…

With Terri after finishing!

With Terri after finishing Woods Ferry 24 hr Run!

All in all, I liked the experience, and running at night was alright with a right gear, much cooler than during the day. I am glad that I was able to complete my seventh Marathon/Ultra Marathon! I just regret of being late and not having time to meet everybody before the run… Next time! 🙂

Seventh Marathon/Ultra Marathon completed!

Seventh Marathon/Ultra Marathon completed!

With medal on my seventh Marathon/Ultra Marathon!

With medal on my seventh Marathon/Ultra Marathon!

THANK YOU VERY MUCH to Terri Hayes of UltrasOnTrails and ALL volunteers for help and support, and to ALL runners for companionship!!! Will see you on the next run at FATS 50 km!

With Terri Hayes after finishing 55 km (34 miles)

With RD Terri Hayes after finishing 55 km (34 miles) at Woods Ferry 24 hr Run!

Results of Woods Ferry 24 hr Run:  from http://ultrasontrails.com:

Congratulation to overall winner #1. Andrew Connell 29, GA (bib 177) for running the longest distance at the event – 85.25 miles! That’s 11 loops!
Second place: #2. Andy Gordon 33, NC  77.50 mi (bib 226) – 10 loops!
Third place: #3. Chris Johnson 23, GA  77.50 mi (bib 237) – 10 loops!

Congratulations to first three females:
#7. Kim Russell 44F, SC – 69.75 mi (bib 259)
#16. Jennifer Ford 35F, AL – 54.25 mi (bib 223)
#24. Nicole Creech 32F, NC – 46.50 mi (bib 180)

Congratulation to  31. Andy Colee 65 FL 38.75 (bib 176 ) – the most senior runner of this event at 65 y.o. completing 38.75 miles! Go man!

Overall  results:

22 runners, one-third of all participants, completed more than 50 miles (80 km),
16 runners completed between 38.75 – 46.5 mi (62 – 75 km),
18 runners completed 31 mi (50 km),
5 runners completed almost a Marathon distance,
and 6 runners completed less than a Half Marathon distance.

Congratulations to all runners for persevering in this event!!! 

All pictures of this Trail Ultra Marathon Run you can see at my Woods Ferry 24 hr Run Picasa Web Album. It’s open to public, so you welcome to download, add, upload your photos, tag and comment! Also, the same album is on FaceBook. 🙂

Damage report: 1. Six blisters on tows . 2. Mild chafing around arm pits. Both my fault – did not apply cream ahead of run.

Recovery: Quads and leg muscles painful for about three days, on fifth day ran 5 km, two days later 7 km, and ready to go back to regular running for 10 km. Mild aches and pains periodically in right ankle, but nothing major!

Resolutions: 1) BE CAREFUL ON THE TRAIL – DO NOT GET LOST OR HURT!!! 2) Do more cross and strength training, 3) Keep losing extra weight, 4) Go to events earlier!

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. Andrew with headphones, Todd with headlamp) and you want me to put your name in 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! 😉

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2 Responses to Woods Ferry 24 Hour Ultra Trail Run.

  1. Great report Viktor! It’s always a pleasure to run with you.

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