Mt. Masochists Trail Run 50 Miler
October 18, 2003

By Anstr Davidson

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David HortonThere are some who claim that David Horton's Mt. Masochists Trail Run engages in false advertising because most of the course is not single track trail and because its clearly longer than 50 miles. But these people miss the point. MMTR is about mountains, not trails, and it clearly lives up to the first word in its name. It also lives up to the second word. You have to be a "masochist" to run it. In this sense, you get exactly what David promises you at Masochists.

This year, MMTR was held in weather that was nearly perfect -- clear, cool, and very comfortable for running. The views were spectacular. It was a wonderful day to be in the mountains.

Masochists is a run from the old days. It's the only present day run that represents Virginia trail running of the 80's. The Wild Oak and Massanutten Massacre 50's are both gone, and Old Dominion is not the run it was in the 80's. Only at Masochists can you find tradition, a tough course, no pampering, and Tom Green to boot.

Many people, this reporter included, repeatedly forget that the bottom line about MMTR is that it is tough. There are many uphills, not all steep but several are long and frustrating. The two trail sections are tough, technical, and beautiful. To finish MMTR is a significant accomplishment.

Lynchburg is the place for "real" mountain runners to be in October. But MMTR is not for everyone. If you are slow, as this reporter now is, the cutoff times are brutal. At my speed, you have pressure all day. Also, you need a sense of humor. If it bugs you that a course is longer than advertised, you don't want to do MMTR.

While MMTR is clearly about "mountains" and "masochism," the third and fourth words in the name did not apply to me this year. The percentage of time I was running, as opposed to walking, was about the same as the percentage of actual trail. My frustration, to a great extent, was caused by my memories of running this event in days gone by.

Masochists is a brutal reality check. If you are not prepared for it, David's course will slap you around. Such a reality check is a very good thing. It's just not always fun!

MMTR will clearly be the first run I do regularly that I will not be able to finish. I feared that would happen this year, but I had 17 minutes to spare. I think I will put the day of my DNF off by working an aid station next year!

Anstr Davidson

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