Bull Run Run 2001
Battle Report by Scott Mills, RD
The Ninth Annual Bull Run Run 50 Mile Trail Run found 265 combatants facing unseasonably warm weather and extremely muddy trails as first light appeared. It was doubtful that Courtney Campbell's course record from last year would fall; however, Howard Nippert from Blacksburg, VA, came saying that he was out to break it. He ran a strong, consistent, unyielding race, and in turn lowered Campbell's record by over two minutes under extremely tough conditions. Michele Burr led a strong women's field and established herself as a top female ultra force by adding a 50 mile victory to her recent 100 miler at Rocky Racoon. In spite of the mud, the Bull Run and Occoquan Trails were as beautiful as ever and served as the backdrop for another great event hosted by the many volunteers who support the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC).
As the gun went off and the field descended the backside of Hemlock Overlook to begin the run north, Nippert and Clark Zealand (2nd last year) hit the first stream crossing well ahead of the rest of the field. It appeared that these two would battle each other all day. Meanwhile, Barry Lewis, Ian Torrence, Greg Loomis and Scott McKenzie held a more conservative pace knowing that the high temperature forecast would later take its toll. As the runners returned to Hemlock Overlook at 16 miles, Nippert and Zealand arrived together an astonishing 20 minutes ahead of Lewis and Torrence. The women's' race at this point was shaping up between Michele, Kathy Youngren, Francesca Conte, Debbie Berner, and Courtney Fenstermacher.
As the runners passed Bull Run Marina (20 miles), Wolf Run Shoals (25 miles) and on through Fountainhead (30 miles) to the Do Loop (33 miles), Nippert and Zealand widened their lead on the field. Entering the infamous Do Loop (the anti-trail of the course), both were still neck and neck. However as Nippert emerged from the loop (35 miles) in a loop record of 24 minutes, Clark was not to be seen. Ten minutes later, Clark was helped off the course with an extended hip pull as he had slipped on a down hill section in the loop. At this point, Barry was nearly 30 minutes off the leader, thus Howard was now chasing the record by himself with no one close to challenge. The women's race was still in doubt at the Loop though, as Michele and Kathy kept each other within striking distance. The rolling hills of the Bull Run Run take a cumulative toll on everyone as the battle progresses--the women's title was still for the taking with 15 miles to go.
The Bull Run Run aid stations are renown for the breadth and variety of their repast as well as for the costume themes they adopt. The Wolf Run Shoals aid station's annual theme is always a surprise. This year, Stan, Marge and the volunteers helping them were dressed in space suits and the journey through their station was a "Space Odyssey 2001." As usual, they continued the tradition started by their predecessors of ice cream sandwiches to sustain the runners onward. The Do Loop aid station volunteers again had their animal hats and took grilled cheese orders from runners going into the loop for delivery upon exiting the loop. While most runners stop and partake of the spread and check out the themes, Howard bypassed most stops and diversions--he was on a mission. He hammered up the last masochistic hill to the finish line at Hemlock to establish a new course record.....one which should be tough to match. Michele Burr held her lead pace over the last 15 miles and nearly collapsed at the finish line with an excellent time. Kathy, Franscesca, Debbie, and Courtney ran terrific races as well, all finishing in the top 20 of the overall field.
The day held numerous great performances but everyone who challenged this tough course is considered a winner. On the eve of our first 10-year campaign, seven veterans successfully earned their nine year pins and hopefully will return next year to garner the ten year super veteran award. We now have 46 who have earned 5-time veterans awards. Of these, one notable performance of the day was that of Gary Knipling (RD of the VHTRC Eagle Run), who set a PR on this, his fifth battle (could it have been what he drank at the Do Loop?)
The VHTRC is very proud of the Bull Run Run 50 Miler and wishes to thank its sponsors, volunteers, and participants. We could not stage this event without every one's help and support, but a few individuals merit special recognition for their significant contributions over the years: Peyton Robinson for his work as registration administrator, Steve Simon as registration and operations coordinator, Anstr Davidson for the website and treasurer duties, Joe Clapper for his leadership of the Club, Timers: Valerie Meyer and Ed Demoney (MMT 100 RD), perennial aid station captains: Kevin Sayers (Catoctin RD), Brenda Davidson (Hemlock), Betty Sue and Dick Brannan (Bull Run Marina), Stan Duobinis and Marge Schlundt (Wolf Run Shoals), Tom Corris and the Lake Ridge Runners (Fountainhead), and Do Loop captains: Brian Stecher and Chris Scott (founder of the BRR 50).
Once again, congratulations to all who participated in this ninth annual BRR50 and we hope to see you next year as we host our 10th anniversary....till then, Happy Trails,
Scott Mills, BRR 50 RD
NEW! Gary Knipling's Wild Flowers on the Trail is now available. Scott Mills's race report appears above. There is a second batch of photos from Deborah Cole of the GAC'ers. Wonder Woman, Valerie did the Division Awards and Team Standings. Also, be sure to check out the report and pictures on IPlayOutside.com. I moved the results to a separate page as this page was getting too big.
Coming: Still have some pictures from Gary Knipling to scan!
Overall Winner and South Open Winner- Howard Nippert - 6:25:37*
Overall Winner and North Open Winner - Michele Burr - 8:05:05
* = course record for that age category (not the record for the age category by declaration -- eg, we don't keep different records for north and south in master -- just the overall master's record)
1. VHTRC CAV 41:23:33
2. Team We Wanna Blanket 44:55:45
3. RATS 46:26:50
4. New England Plus One 49:17:46
5. Crash and Burn 53:28:28
LAB RATS DSQ
Buckeye 1st Infantry DSQ
Four RATS & a Baby Buzzard DSQ
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