10 – 11 December 2011. by Viktor Trukov
One Epic Ultra Trail Run, 24 Hour.
Inaugural One Epic, 24 hour Ultra Trail Run was a first event organized by a running friend, Race Director (RD) – Joe Parker in Croft Park, near Spartanburg, SC. And I must say, it was very well-organized! Course ~3 Miles hilly loop (~5 km), well-marked mostly on single track technical trail with two small sections of the gravel road. Enough different food, including pizza & hot Chicken and Tomato soup, drinks and fun with two Birthday Celebrations!!! Great supportive volunteers, who stayed all night at the Aid Station, supporting runners! Temperature was around 14 Celsius (56 F) during the day and 3 Celsius (36) at night.
Croft park is only 40 miles from my home and the start time was 10:00. That was very good – no need to get up too early in the morning and the drive time was just about one hour! Arrived at Park on time, gave Joe a box with bread and marshmallow candies, just before Rangers requested to re-park cars on different lot. I was glad to see familiar faces, greeted them, and soon Joe commanded us to line up on start. Mama got ready to take photos, and I went to the start line with a wipe cloth in one hand and a small water bottle in the other. I really did not feel good at that time, having intestinal problems, and just ate one sandwich on the way to park.
Start command was given, and the run began. As usual I took off the shirt and sprinted ahead of everybody to claim my fifteen seconds of fame, but missed the turn into the trail… 🙂 Hearing hollering behind, returned into the trail after leaders and kept going at my usual mode – as fast as comfortable without overexertion, as the whole day of running was ahead of us.
Running the first loop I was pleasantly surprised to see how beautiful it was – we crossed the large creek on the bridge, then run uphill and had a mixture of up and downhills thru the woods, two hundred meters of gravel road, followed by creek side trail and back to the AS. It was a good mixture of everything, including some big rocks! I tripped and fall “just” three times, landing on outstretched hands. No damage. 🙂
Fairly technical and surely not boring! It seems that somewhere close to our trail there was a shooting range, and we heard shots all day, till dark. First I was waiting for bullets to fly over my head, but later just ignored it. During the first loop got acquainted with Andrew Swistak, who is of Czech ancestry (Slavic) and understands some words in Russian!
By the end of the first loop intestinal problem started to worsen, so after coming back to the AS, I had to take a long break, and even a thought of a first DNF was circulating in my head for a while… I missed almost an hour and fall behind for a whole loop… a woman who finished the first loop behind me completed the second, when I was ready to continue… Thankfully, I started to feel better and did not have any more problems for the rest of the run. So, I drank some juice and ate some food before going on the second loop. Althou the course was well-marked, I made a wrong turn right after a bridge and went into the loop backwards… One of the runners started to tell me about a wrong turn, and I told him where to go, but finally realized that he is telling ME that I’ve made a wrong turn! 🙂 Quickly turned around to correct path and immediately met Joe and Schmitz Team – William and Kristin. They were surprised to see me coming from wrong direction and Joe was perplexed how did I get lost. I told them – wrong turn, despite clear markings… 🙂 Kristin was celebrating her Birthday and running 31 miles (one for a year). I sang “Happy Birthday” to her every time I met her on the trail, and even sang in Russian on William’s request! 🙂 They started early and already had three loops completed. Later on, we were treated to a piece of Birthday cake! Joe also had a cake for both birthday runners – Kristin and Doug!
Running small loops has its advantages – meeting more people, no need to carry lots of water, more often breaks and rest at AS! I especially appreciated it early in the run, when I feasted on potatoes and beef jerky! Later in the run Joe delivered Pizza, pepperoni was so good! And after dark, when it became chilly, hot chicken and tomato soups were very appreciated to nourish and warm up runners!
At the end of the second loop I met Terri Hayes, RD of http://ultrasontrails.com We talked about completed runs and the upcoming year plans! It was good to see her on the trail and run together!
It was good to see Denise Martin, our “staff” massage therapist completing her first trail run, and her husband Mike promised to run next time.
Trail had a few stretches with loose rocks in the size of a fist laying on it. At first I just tried to not step on them, but since loop three started to kick them off the trail, thinking of others and especially with a night running approaching. I cleared about thirty rocks of the trail! And close to the gravel road I spotted an auto tire about five meters off the trail, picked it up, brought it to the side of the road and placed it over a pole, hoping that rangers will take it away. We must remember to keep the woods clean!
On one of the loops I had fun chasing a couple on mountain bikes. I met them right before gravel road, where they were looking at the stand, then they quickly passed me down the road and disappeared into the woods. I thought, I’d never see them again, but was surprised to get to them at rocks, passed them and they could not get me anymore! 🙂 I crossed the bridge went thru AS and met them again on the next loop near the bridge, where they were taking a break. Talked to them about our event, then we wished each other good luck and went different trails.
Up to sixth loop the trail was crowded, and every loop there were people who passed me, and those who I passed. After that no one passed me on the loop, but some did during my breaks at the AS. Loop six was the most productive, as I passed nine people and was passed by a couple! On one loop I ran together with Jason Sullivan, and we discussed a 100 mile run, to which I think I’m not ready yet.
Many running friends asked each other how long we’ll run, and my answer was ~ 12 hours. My longest run before this was 9.5 hours and covered about 40 miles (64 km), and I did not feel ready to run all 24 hours. It was good to see many running friends and meet new!
By the dark I had 10 loops = 50 km, and accomplished my goal of 12 Marathons/Ultras this year! Also, by that time I regained my lost time and was on par (same loop count) with most of my running friends! Felt quite good and continued to run with a flashlight and glasses. Althou it became lonely, as more than half of the runners finished their distances already, and there were just a few (1-3) that I’d meet on each loop, and mostly alone at AS, except on one of the stops I talked with Christine Ngai, who was going to finish 50 miles.
With a sun gone, temperature started to drop and it became much chillier, but tolerable. I did not feel cold on the run. Thankfully it was not windy, except for a light breeze along the creek. People kept asking me if I’m cold, and my answer was – Goose bumps + no sweat = perfect weather! 😉 Someone gotta do it, and it better be me, because some one else might freeze to death! 🙂 At the AS I ate hot chicken soup (thanks again, Joe!), and had my jacket on me to preserve the heat! I kept feeling good, even after running 12 hours, and decided to try for 50 miles (80 km).
Loop 15 was my hardest one, from about the middle of it I started to feel weak and powerless, didn’t even want to run flats… and a woman I just passed was staying close behind me. I pushed myself to finish it and took a bit longer break, ate more chicken soup, drank more juice and Gatorade and a leftover of my morning coffee. Next loop was normal!
I continued to run and was calculating that 17 loops would make it 50 miles, but… it’s just about one loop (5 km) short of two marathon distances… So, the whole 17th loop I was thinking if I should run another loop to make a double Marathon distance… Close to the bridge I started to see a light approaching me from behind, and naturally increased my speed. Since 6th loop nobody passed me, and I didn’t want it to happen on my final or one of the final loops! After crossing the bridge I checked the distance to the light on the other side of the creek and concluded, based on previous encounters, that there is no way it’ll reach me before I’ll finish. How wrong I was… In half the distance to the road the light came very close to me and was on my heels at the road. I ran as fast as I could to AS completing 50 miles (80 km) for the first time in my life! At the AS I quickly discovered that the light belonged to Phyllis Tsang! She could’ve passed me with ease, as she is much faster runner and it was her only third loop. Turned out she had a swimming competition the same day, won a few swim races and came here late. At that time I finally decided to run another loop and announced it to volunteers, Phyllis said she’d run with me. So, we went on the trail together, and it was much better to run in the company on the night trail, talking and joking all the way. I probably ran faster than I’d do alone, and surprisingly felt quite good! Phyllis let me lead, to keep my pace, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her running full speed. 🙂 We went thru the trail uneventfully, passed a couple of runners, and got back to AS at 01:30.
Double Marathon Distance 85 km (53 miles) completed!!! Longest I ever run in life!!!
Now I started to think, if I should run three more loops to a 100 km distance… just three more loops… I asked Phyllis if she’ll run more, but she said, that she’ll take a break now and continue run in the morning. Bummer… if she’d run more I most likely would go too. So, I decided that this is enough for me today, 14.5 hours of running, longest I ever had. Althou, now I’m kicking myself for not running three more loops… I’m sure I’d run them without problem, but… I’ll do it next time! Now I KNOW, I can run 100 km or a little longer! 🙂
Final chicken soup portion, clothes on, shivering and warming up at the heaters, and off to a truck to go home. But… all truck windows were frosted over… I started the engine and had to wait for hot air to melt the frost. The temperature was close to a freezing point 3 – 4 Celsius (35 – 36F). We packed, thanked Joe and volunteers, and drove 40 miles home, less than I ran in the event! 🙂 I had to be home to do some paperwork, as it was the end of semester in the college. At home I put one extra blanket on myself, after all this chill in the woods, fall asleep and woke up at 06:00 feeling terrible sick – headache, nausea, weakness… First thought was – ran too much… Drank some mineral water and went to the bathroom, afraid that I might throw up any second. No vomiting happened, but felt like during strong hangover (if you know what I mean:)… So, I just lie down on the floor in the bathroom, being too weak to stand. Lying on the cool floor for a few minutes, I started to feel better and better. Nausea disappeared, general condition improved, only headache left, which is expected after a long run. So, I got up, went to drink a bit more mineral water, and realized that this was… overheating!.. That extra blanket did it to me, and being too tired, I did not wake up on time to take it off. Back to bed, extra blanket promptly removed, back to sleep. Next day feel good, except slight headache.
All in all One Epic Run, 24 hr – was a great event to finish a year with a goal of running one long run for each month. 🙂 Althou I missed two months of running in the Summer – June and July completely, due to twisted ankle injury at Long Cane 50 km, I made up for this in November by running four long runs – Greenville Spinx Marathon (29 Oct 2011), Ex promptu Buncombe 55 km (06 Nov 2011), Mad Marsh 50 km (19 Nov 2011) and Harbison ad hoc Trail Marathon (27 Nov 2011). So, this One Epic Run became my final #12 (!) long run in 2011. Goal of running one long run for each month accomplished with a bang! 🙂 Total distance ran = 85 km (53 miles) – double Marathon in 14.5 hours!
2011 is my first full year of running with a result of three Marathons and 9 Ultras completed!
Counting all runs to date, my total is Thirteen. I started to run regularly on 25 May 2010, five months later in October ran my first Spinx Greenville Marathon. Then in January 2011 Harbison 50 km became my first Ultra Run, and now in December I’ve done twelfth! 🙂 So, one in 2010 plus twelve in 2011 = thirteen!
Results of One Epic 24 hr Run:
Congratulation to overall winner #1. Billy Gordon, 35, NC (bib 26) for running the longest distance at the event – 79.92 miles!
Second place: #2. John Gordon, 39, NC – 76.96 mi (bib 24)
Third place: #3. Jammeelah Abdul-Rahim Mujaahid, 43F, GA – 74 mi (bib 28)
Congratulations to first three females:
#3. Jammeelah Abdul-Rahim Mujaahid, 43F, GA – 74 mi (bib 28)
#7. Nicole Creech, 32F, NC – 62.16 mi (bib 13)
#9. Jenifer Coker, 36F, GA – 62.16 mi (bib 44)
Congratulation to 23. Eugene Bruckert, 76 IL – 32.56 mi (bib 6) – the most senior runner of this event at 76 y.o. completing 32.56 miles! You go man!
19 runners, ~40% of all participants, completed more than 50 miles (80 km),
21 runners completed between 26.64 – 47.36mi (43 – 76 km),
11 runners completed less than a Marathon distance.
Congratulations to all runners for persevering in this event!!!
All pictures of this Trail Ultra Marathon Run you can see at my One Epic Run, 24 hour Picasa Web Album
|One Epic Run, 24 hour.|
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. One blister on I tow.
Recovery: Quads and leg muscles sensitive for about three days, on fourth day ran 10 km, ready to go back to regular running.
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) Celebrate 12 runs in a year! 🙂
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 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! 😉