Thursday, May 7, 2009

24 Hour Adventure Trail Run

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

Running for 24 hours or running 100 miles, I don’t know which sounds more insane, but I do know that however you slice it, that’s a lot of running. This past Saturday and Sunday I competed in the Athletic Equation 24 Hour Adventure Trail Run. The majority of people running this race were competing in the solo category. I was part of a two man team, along with fellow Marine, Bill Rysanek, competing in the three man team category. The concept for the team categories was that you had to alternate running the 8 mile trail loop and could not run consecutive loops. At first glance the idea of getting a break after each loop sounded pretty good but as the night wore on it became exceedingly difficult to get back out on the trail after the break, more to follow.

This was the fourth year for this event and the fourth year that race directors Alex Papadopoulos and Scott Crabb have donated 50% of the event proceeds to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. As a fundraiser for the IMSFF for the past 2 years, I was thrilled to participate in an event that would make such a gracious gesture. This is only the second Athletic Equation event that I have participated in and once again Alex and Scott put on a quality event. The volunteers that offered there time this weekend were fantastic, thanks for your support.

The run is conducted within the Prince William National Forest, located in Triangle, VA. The course is 8 miles long, set up like a lollypop with a 2 mile out and back (stem) and a 4 mile loop. The start/finish line is headquarter at Camp Miwavi, which provided great support throughout the race. We started at 0700 on Saturday morning and I led off for our team. The strategy for this race was different than a normal ultra, in that I would have a break in between loops. This allowed for some great training as I was able to run pretty hard on each lap and not really worry about pacing for the end of the race.

The course itself was in great shape. The “lollipop stem” at the start of the loop went down the south valley trail along the Quantico Creek and was fairly flat. The start of the 4 mile loop continued down the south valley trail to the mid-point aid station. We then turned left away from the creek and started up the Taylor Farm Road trail, this was one of the bigger climbs on the course. At the top of the hill we turned left onto the High Meadow Trail. This was a great trail that ran for about 2 miles back to the intersection with the South Valley Trail (lollipop stem) and back to the start finish.

Throughout the day there were occasional rain showers that felt pretty nice. The temperature started to climb in the late afternoon and the humidity was very high for the entire race. I was able to run the entire 8 mile loop for the first 4 four of my 8 loops, including all of the hills. Alex said that each loop was about 300’ of elevation change, I think that it was closer to 1000’ per loop. As night started to fall our times started to slow but Bill and I continued to run strong loops. About 2300 it started raining pretty hard and it continued through the rest of the race. I happened to resting when it started raining and it took a lot of motivation to get ready to leave the comfort of Camp Miwavi and head out into the rain to run 8 miles in the dark, in the middle of the night, but we continued to do it.

In the end, Team Fly Marine was able to accumulate 124 miles which was good enough to take first place in the 3 man team category (there were only 2 teams in this category). The race finished off with a great breakfast feast prepared by the volunteers. This race offered a great opportunity to train hard on tired legs and get in some much needed night running. The atmosphere of this event is very family oriented and Alex and Scott really take great care of the runners. Thanks again to the Athletic Equation group for the generous support of the IMSFF, you will certainly reap what you sow. Run Strong!

God Bless and Semper Fi,

Training for 27 April-3 May: Weekly Mi (74.0), Monthly Mi (197.5), Yearly Mi (760.4)
Mon: 5 mi - Crossramp
Tues: Off
Wed: 5 mi - Crossramp 8 mi
Thurs / Fri: Off
Sat / Sun: 24 Hour ATR: 64 Mi
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