Tuesday, March 8, 2011
That makes a great blog title!
The inaugural Georgia Reactor Run (GRR) 100 mile trail race on Saturday had the makings of "one of those days"...Forecast calls for rain!
This particular network of trails is really runnable during dry conditions, however it stays muddy up to 5 days after a good rain. (Must have something to do with the previous owner's nuclear power facility...)
...and it rained! AND RAINED. AND RAINED!
28 of the 30 hours the course was open, you guessed it - it rained.
Between the 3 races, there were a total of 211 registered runners.
72 - 100 mile runners
72 - 50 mile runners
67 - 50k runners
6:30am came early and everyone started with high hopes!
The course was sort of a 20 mile, figure 8 loop, with the start/finish in the middle of it. The left loop was a 13 miler & the right was a 7 miler. If doing the 100, you were to complete those loops 5 times. There were three aid stations, one on each loop and one at the start/finish(pictured below)
(blogger & badass ultra runner Psyche in the white sweatshirt)
The AS's on course were awesome, great signs & great volunteers!
(To think they actually ran out of bread at one point)
As the day progressed, the war of attrition waged on! Countless runners were dropping down to the lower distances; 50 mile runners were hitting the 50k distance and dropping and 100 mile runners were hitting the 50 mile mark and dropping. The common statement I heard from the runners was, "I've had enough! The course was great and the volunteers were awesome - but this rain & mud is too much!"
I arrived at the timing table for my 4:30pm-2:30am shift and settled in for a fun night!
(that is me with the grey ball cap on)
As you can see a "DNF banner of shame" had begun to form. Other's called it the "Wall of Smart Decisions"
The GUTS crew maintained the attitude of HTFU and everyone was having a great time helping the runners as best we could. In true GUTS fashion, a pool was started to see how many of the 72 100 mile starters would finish the race hundo.
Betsy hit it on the nose with 17.
Yes, you read that correctly. 17 out of 72 earned their buckle, completing the full 100 miles. A 23% finishers rate. That is just a small description of how brutal the conditions were.
Below is a picture of the 100 miler winner, Garth Petterson, with an amazing time of 20:10...a fast time for any 100, considering the conditions - it was even more amazing. Here is a link to all of the results from all three races
(1st female finisher)
I don't have any photos from the trail, I spent my 10 hour shift at the timing table - but I understand it to have been quite a day "out there". Click on this link to Cindy Ralston's Photos from on course.
My hat is off to every runner and pacer that logged one mile on the course, truly the definition of HTFU!
To the members GUTS, what can I say? I am so lucky to be a member of such an awesome running club that puts on top notch events time after time! People will talk about this race for years and next year, everyone is going to want in on this race...it may be for redemption...or it may be just for chance to test their limits. I plan to be there!
(Denise Martin - amazingly worked all 30 hours helping massage runners)
**Photos courtesy of P. Wimberly & K. Pike