Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run
Massanutten Mt Trails 100
Front Royal, Virginia
May 17, 2008
by Jon Parker
[Editor's Note: Jon uses "trail names" in this report. He says that "Ringo" is Geoff Scott who also finished the event.]
MMT has a slogan…Massanutten ROCKS. Well let me tell you that is in fact the case! In fact, there are more rocks there than trail!
Jon Parker near Milford Gap
Photo: Aaron Schwartzbard
Funny that Ringo says "its all your fault!" Here is how I see it. I started running with the TH's 4.5 years ago. I met this older guy who spoke of these 100 mile races. "Insane" I though to myself. Well over these years I have slowly trudged through 7 Ultras and now this! So I say to Ringo - it is all YOUR fault!
So here is the long version race report.
Running 100 miles is certainly a challenge that requires MANY things to go just right. Work, family balance, staying healthy and injury free.
Race day started off Sat. 5 am, 156 runners heading 2.5 miles down a road to the trailhead, then turning up to the trails for a little while - ok a long while!
Massanutten likes to brag about their rocks. The terrain was steep at times, and not even runnable many times due to rocks. My plan was to run the first 25 in 6 hours, the second in 7 hrs and then get back in 20 hours. Weezyl was planning to join me at 6 pm around mile 50 for a little training run. So I had broken this thing down into small sections in order to keep your mind in the game. The only time I really had doubts were around 18 miles. There was some soreness developing in my legs and I was a LONG way away. So I just said, how bad can it get? You are running 100 miles, it is supposed to hurt! My plan was to drink a ton, take succeed on each hour, and eat at each aid station. I was not going to run out of fuel, or more importantly get into cramping which has been common for me.
Ringo and I ran together off and on through the day seeing each other in and out of aid stations. It was nice to see a familiar face. The MMT folks were great and the Aid stations were well stocked!
The trails were muddy, rocky and oh did I mention that a LARGE Rattlesnake took up a spot near the trail coiled and rattling for a number of hours near mile 40? He was big and you could hear the rattle 10 feet away. Impressive! I guess he was just trying to do his part to motivate the runners.
At 5 pm I had a 5k to the next aid station where Weezyl would be awaiting me and joining me for the run back. It took me 50 mins to complete that 5 k.
Weez was ready to go and Ringo came in shortly after me for the out and back section of the course. It was a big climb to a peak then back. Weez sent you some pics from there around mile 50.
From here on I had company, not just Weez, but all the TH's! It was awesome. Weez was behind me (per the rules) and I would hear his phone beep, each time a diff TH was sending out some trail love. Super cool! We were entertained into the night. Flame joined Ringo around mile 65. As night came upon us, it was all new. We slowed down a bit so as not to break anything, and the course became extreme.
With the arrival of the morning light, new inspiration to get to the finish, just a marathon away! Running was pretty tough at this point so I managed my best fast walk. The four of us were together quite a bit in the last 25 miles, but met up at aid station 16 - 94 miles and stayed together through the end. At this point, we were laughing and enjoying the "finish" buzz. We even pushed a little to make sure and stay under 33 hours.
So you want to do 100 miles? For me, 4 runs a week, never breaking 50 miles in a week. My longest run was 5 hours / 18 miles. Most of this is in your head. It will hurt, but you have to be able to get past the pain and just keep moving. Also, the weather was perfect. Not too hot or cold and a nice breeze. I didn't have any blisters, toenail, or stomach issues.
Having a great Pacer and other friends on the course was vital for me. I cannot tell you how cool it was having Weez out there with the phone and live updates from you nuts back here. I really wonder if some of you have a life? Why were we getting emails and text messages all night???
Any way a HUGE thanks to Weezyl. He roped me into this and he got me through it. Ringo, it is your fault too.
Also without the support of the family, this too would have never happened - so mucho thanks to D and the kids!
Now let's regroup and get Flame, AARP, Gumbi, Ringo, and Weezyl through their upcoming 100 adventures!
|Gap 1 AS7||17:52|
|Gap 2 AS11||23:25|