Archive | Ultra Marathon

Australian Grant Maughan Wins The Last Annual Vol State 500K

Australian Grant Maughan Wins The Last Annual Vol State 500K

Australian wilderbeast Grant Maughan, known affectionately as the ‘Dingofish Express,’ has been crowed the new ‘King of the Road’ after being the first runner to ‘The Rock’ to finish the historic Last Annual Vol State 500K for 2018.

Grant finished the multi-day race in a time of 3 days 22 hours 2 minutes and 59 seconds. His time is the 6th fastest time in race history.

Grant Maughan’s Vol State Check-In by Check-In:
12 hour – 58 (2nd)
24 hour – 99 (2nd)
36 hour – 140 (1st-)
48 hour – 162
60 hour – 201
72 hour – 239
84 hour – 274
10:02:59 – 40
Finish Time: 3:22:02:59

By proclamation (later to come from the state of Tennessee House of Representatives) we all declare Grant Maughan the King of the Road.

2018 Last Annual Vol State 500K Results

Maughan on ‘The Thrown’ – titled as such because after every sweaty, nasty, gross runner sits in it upon reaching The Rock it has to be thrown out!

Grant just a couple months ago scaled Mount Everest. He has one of the toughest and most impressive race resumes in ultra-land. He now will drive across the country to start the Badwater 135 on Monday night where he already has 5 consecutive finishes.

All hail King Dingofish!!

[images: Simon Bonnick]

Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon, Vol State0 Comments

Grant Maughan with Crew Rock VS 500K 2018

Day 4 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

There is a new King of the Road at The Last Annual Vol State 500K. Australia’s Grant Maughan took over the reign after finishing in under four days with a time of 3 days 22 hours 2 minutes and 59 seconds. It’s the 6th fastest time in the race’s history. Congrats and all hail the new King Dingofish. (full story on King Dingofish)

Overall Top 3 Men – tracker
1. Grant Maughan – 3:22:02:59 – 314 Miles – KING OF THE ROAD
2. Alan Abbs – 264 miles (uncrewed)
3. Brian Trinkle – 264 miles (uncrewed)

On the women’s side the top three women continue to stay all over each other with some minor leap frogging throughout the day and night. First place female and second place overall currently is Andrea Kooiman with 274 miles at the 96 hour check in. She is seven miles ahead of Regina Sooey (267 miles), and Rhoda Smoker (262 miles) is very close in 3rd currently.

Overall Top 3 Women – tracker
1. Andrea Kooiman – 274 miles (63 miles last 24 hours)
2. Regina Sooey – 267 miles (54 miles last 24 hours)
3. Rhoda Smoker – 262 miles (66 miles last 24 hours)

Of the 21 Run It Fast Members who started the race 15 remain on their mission to The Rock.

The top women from RIF remaining are Andrea (274 miles), Cathy Downes (212 miles), and Lisa Van Wolde (200 miles).

On the men’s side for RIF Steven Smith (200 miles), Seth Crowe (191 miles), and Chris Clemens (179 miles) have the highest tallies through 4 days.

96 Hour (4-Day) Check-In Run It Fast @ Vol State 500K – tracker

Andrea Casella Kooiman – 274
Cathy Downes – 212
Lisa Van Wolde – 200
Steven Smith – 200
Seth Crowe – 191
Chris Clemens – 179
Juli Aistars – 175
Cary Long – 175
Sherry Meador – 175
David Nichols – 167
David Oglesby – 153
Sal Bill Coll – 153
Sharon Carver – 150
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 144
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 144
Diane Taylor – DNF 107

We lost both of The Diane’s to the road as Diane Durden and Vol State legend Diane Taylor exited the race. Sad to see the D’s call it.

84 Hour Check-In RIF @ Vol State 500K – 7:30Pm/July 15, 2018
Andrea Casella Kooiman – 234
Cathy Downes – 179
Lisa Van Wolde – 179
Steven Smith – 179
Seth Crowe – 179
Juli Aistars – 164
Chris Clemens – 163
Cary Long – 161
David Nichols – 144
Sherry Meador – 144
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 144
David Oglesby – 138
Sal Bill Coll – 132
Sharon Carver – 131
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 125
Diane Durden – DNF 111
Diane Taylor – 104

Day 3 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)
Day 2 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)
Day 1 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

[images: submitted by runners and Simon Bonnick]

Posted in Running, THE CLUB, Ultra Marathon, Vol State0 Comments

Andrea Kooiman Bench of Despair Vol State 500K 2018

Day 3 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

Day 3 of The Last Annual Vol State has come to a close with Run IT Fast members continuing to be relentless and driven towards The Rock. We did lose Rachael Howard at mile 102 in Darden.

At the top of the race Grant Maughan continues to pull away and is now at mile 239 at 72 hours. Second place currently is held by Regina Sooey at 213 miles, followed by RIF’s Andrea Kooiman at 211 miles as those two women along with Rhoda Smoker, currently at 196 continue to put down nearly identical miles daily and have been basically tied at ever evening check-in.

Kooiman last night battled wild dogs, coyotes, her shadow, and at one point picked up a wild kitten and put in her pack for several miles before having her super-crew Jill Williams returning it back to where she had picked it up.

The Top unscrewed runner remains race veteran Alan Abbs who is at 198 miles.

Overall Top 3 Men
1. Grant Maughan – 239 miles
2. Alan Abbs – 198 miles (uncrewed)
3. Brian Trinkle – 194 miles (uncrewed)

Overall Top 3 Women
1. Regina Sooey – 213 miles
2. Andrea Kooiman – 211 miles
3. Rhoda Smoker – 196 miles

72 Hour RIF @ LAVS UPDATE (tracker):
Andrea Casella Kooiman – 211
Cathy Downes – 164
Lisa Van Wolde – 158
Steven Smith – 158
Seth Crowe – 145
Juli Aistars – 142
Chris Clemens – 136
Cary Long – 136
Sherry Meador – 130
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 123
Sharon Carver – 121
Sal Bill Coll – 113
David Oglesby – 113
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 109
Diane Durden – 96
Diane Taylor – 92

The Diane’s continue to push this field forward from behind and are ahead of the cut-off pace.

Cary Long, who has been battling severe chaffing to his coin purse has resorted to placing Maxi-Pads on them and he swears it’s been the cure-all of all cure-alls. He swears by them now.

I saw an armadillo get squished by a car that had to choose between the two of us. Blood and leprosy squirting everywhere”

We, along with about 20 other runners, unofficially adopted a black lab as a companion running dog. Of course, he almost got us killed as he ran into the road, and a trailer truck swerved to miss it and nearly took us out instead!!”

Keep this group in your thoughts as they continue to battle the elements, wildlife, former wildlife, and their own demons to push on towards The Rock.

Day 2 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)
Day 1 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

Posted in Running, THE CLUB, Ultra Marathon, Vol State0 Comments

Kevin Gerteisen David Nichols VS500K 2018

Day 2 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

Day 2 is always brutal at the Vol State 500K. The excitement and adrenaline is gone, the sun is hotter and brighter, and the miles are slower….and slower…and slower. It even had a shocker as 3x King of the Road RIF Greg Armstrong dropped from the race at mile 113 just past Parsons, TN. This left the Australian Grant Maughan with the lead and at the end of day 2 (48 Hours) Grant had accumulated 162 miles.

On the women’s side there was a change overnight as Regina Sooey, who was 1 mile behind of Andrea Kooiman, at the 36 hour check in, took over the lead at the 48 hour check in with 159 miles. Amazing performance so far as she seems to be getting stronger and is second overall to Grant just by 3 miles.

Kooiman had a strong second day as well putting down 63 miles and currently resides at 154 miles for 3rd overall/2nd female.

Other notable mentions are Cathy Downs who put down a very strong 50 miles on day 2 and is currently at 117 miles and is 5th female. Steven Smith continues to use his VS experience to move up the leaderboard as does former King Juli Aistars.

Cary Long, despite his comedy show tapings of death, continues to impress with actual numbers as he is at 107 miles. The Double D(iane)’s keep pushing the field forward from behind with 70/71 miles. If Seth Crowe would have had a few more dimes for Sandy he might be a bit further down the road as well. However, without Sandy he’s put down an impressive 105 miles.

David Nichols is at a cool 102 miles as well after some Armour from RIF Kevin Gerteisen, who after DNFing has remained on the course to help and crew other runners. Bravo!

The Double Diane’s (D’s) Diane Taylor and Diane Durden continue to push the field from behind with 71 and 70 miles.

Sadly we lost Tom Orr to the Meat Wagon this morning. That leaves 18 of the 21 RIF members who started the race in contention for The Rock.

Run It Fast Members @ LAVS
48 Hour Totals (miles) – tracker
Andrea Casella Kooiman – 154 (3rd overall/2nd female)
Cathy Downes – 117 (5th female)
Steven Smith – 113
Lisa Van Wolde – 113
Juli Aistars – 107
Cary Long – 107
Seth Crowe – 105
Rachael Anderson – 102
David Nichols – 102
Chris Clemens – 99
Sherry Meador – 92
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 92
Sharon Carver – 82
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 82
David Oglesby – 82
James Tom Orr – DNF 82
Sal Bill Coll – 77
Diane Durden – 71
Diane Taylor – 70
DNF’s: Kevin Gerteisen 57, Greg Armstrong 113, Tom Orr 82

The road is long and hard…cleansing and rewarding. Great work by everyone that remains on the long road to The Rock.

Day 1 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

Posted in Running, THE CLUB, Ultra Marathon, Vol State0 Comments

Sharon Carver Vol State 500K 2018

Day 1 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

The brutal heat and humidity of The Last Annual Vol State 500K introduced all 114 starters to the crawl of this historic race on Thursday morning.

Our Run It Fast – Club had 21 members of the 114 that boarded the ferry to start the race including former ‘King of the Road’ winners Greg Armstrong (3x) and Juli Aistars.

After three wins crewed, Greg is running unscrewed this year and took off with the lead right off the bat. He had 66 miles at the 12 hour check in and added another 37 miles before the 24 hour check-in. He currently leads Australian badass Grant Maughan, who summited Mt. Everest a handful of weeks ago. Grant is just 4 miles back of Greg’s 103 miles.

On the women’s side Pennsylvania native Rhoda Smoker led most of the day with Andrea Kooiman less than 5 miles behind. At the 12 hour check in Rhoda was at 54 miles with Kooiman just 2 miles back. Smoker went down for sleep in McKenzie as Andrea pushed throughout the night to mile 92 in Lexington by the 24 hour check in. She is currently the female leader and 1 mile ahead of the second place female Regina Sooey.

So at 24 hours both the men and women’s race was currently led by Run It Fast members. The rest of the RIF members had a strong day as well as documented below. Last year’s runner-up Kevin Gerteisen, battling what is being reported as kidney stones, had to drop from the race at mile 57.

24 Hour RIF LAVS Update (tracking link)
Greg Armstrong – 103 (first overall)
Andrea Casella Kooiman – 92 (first female)
Lisa Van Wolde – 75
Steven Smith – 71
Chris Clemens – 67
Cathy Downes – 67
Rachael Anderson – 65
Juli Aistars – 62
Cary Long – 62
Sherry Meador – 57
Kevin Gerteisen – DNF 57 (possible kidney stones)
Sharon Carver – 56
David Nichols – 56
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 56
Seth Crowe – 54
Sal Bill Coll – 50
Diane Durden – 48
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 41
David Oglesby – 40
James Tom Orr – 40
Diane Taylor – 40

All members still in the race are well ahead of the minimum miles needed pace.

Day two is usually the hardest for all Vol Staters as the reality of the distance remaining sets in, the adrenaline is gone, and you feel the pain from your head to your blistered toes with every step.

Many RIF members from the area showed up on the course to encourage everyone including Dallas Smith, JR Reynolds, Danny Crossett, Jennifer Hall, Eryn Tyner, Josh Tyner, Leigh Carr, and others.

Best of luck to all 21 RIF members and all the runners still remaining on the course.

Posted in Running, THE CLUB, Ultra Marathon, Vol State0 Comments

Badwater Salton Sea 2018 Andrew Glaze Jared Ray Sanchez

Badwater Salton Sea: 81 Miles of Wind and Heat

Badwater Salton Sea 2018 Race Report

I arrived to the start line early on Sunday. The sun was starting to paint a pink line along the eastern hills and reflect on the water. The air was thick with noxious sulfur. The sky was clear with no chill in the air. I had missed the briefing Saturday due to getting mandatoried at work. I hadn’t slept and although exhausted my 2 day taper had me anxious and excited to run.

We used a Lincoln Navigator for our crew vehicle and had 3 crew members, one for each team member. I had Lauren, Ray Sanchez had Sergio Medina and Jared Fetterolf had Candy. We started with 11 gallons of water and 100 pounds of ice. We all brought our own food and nutritional plan.

My team arrived at the start and we started getting the vehicle organized while discussing strategy. Ray convinced us to start slow at a 9:30/mile pace and just maintain it throughout the day. We knew the Anza Borrego trail section and Palomar mountain finish would be difficult and slow us down. Our main goal was to win and get that golden Badwater ticket for 2019. Secondarily, we wanted to beat the course record.

We had to weigh ourselves, get a GPS tracker, take pictures, national anthem, and we were off. Dead fish snapped and cracked under our feet as we ran the first quarter a mile. The first 7 miles were flat and unsupported. I wanted to Run It Fast, but was kept focused and under control by Ray. At mile 7, we saw our crew for the first time and quickly shoved some calories in our mouth and grabbed new water bottles. We sent them 3 more miles down the road and continued on. We followed that routine for 18 miles and were probably in 6th place.

The weather was becoming warmer and drier and so we started using ice bandanas. Around mile 20 the wind started really howling. Suddenly we had 30 mph headwind and were running uphill. The wind zapped my energy and my legs felt heavy and sluggish. I started feeling frustrated and was falling behind Ray and Jared. We attempted to use Ray as a windshield and slowed down but I just felt tired. My mind started turn towards doubt and negativity, “you didn’t taper enough,” “you didn’t sleep enough,” “you’re weak,” etc.

I made the decision to take a minute and eat more calories and drink an entire red bull. I was reborn, my low last 4 miles but never returned.

The heat had us seeing our crew more frequently. Around mile 34 we were getting close to a main checkpoint. Jared was starting to fall back a bit. Something was wrong. Suddenly Jared began projectile vomiting with the ferocity of a head injury. It was a lot of liquid. Clearly heat stress was affecting his ability to absorb the liquid he consumed. We limped him into the aid station and started the process of getting him well again. He was dizzy, pale and thirsty. We cooled him off and started rehydrating him. Fed him mild bland food and ginger. We left walking and spent the next 5 miles at that pace.

At mile 40, we reached the parking lot of the Anza Borrego trail section. The wind was still whipping us in the face. At this point we were passed and went from 1st place to 2nd place. It’s always slightly demoralizing getting passed halfway through the race. Last year the trail section was a shit show. No one brought enough water and multiple teams fell apart. Not wanting to repeat that mistake our crew met us with hydration vests filled with copious amount of water. We were hoping to cover the 9 unsupported miles in 2 hours and instead it took us 3 hours. The course record had slipped away as had our lead.

The wind storm we endured is almost indescribable. The first 3 miles you gain 2300’ of vert on technical sandy single track. I am not a fast hiker and my legs screamed again. We would reach a ridgeline through a saddle and almost get knocked down by the wind. Back down into another valley and back up to another ridge. The wind was around 50 mph sustained at points. Imagine running a single track with 4 foot cactus on both sides while the wind attempted to blow you into the spines. Ray took some damage in one of his knees. For me, the wind made the runnable sections almost unrunnable. I was frustrated. I couldn’t listen to music because my earbuds kept blowing out, not that I could hear the music over the roar of the wind. Inevitably, we survived, came off the trail, and continued on down the road.

We could start to smell the hay in the barn. We were about 8 minutes behind first place with 50k to go. We had a gradual downhill through some picturesque cow filled grassy hills. We were making no progress on catching 1st place and the damn wind was relentless. Pushing downhill and barely hitting 10 minute/miles.

Around mile 60 we put all our night gear on: headlamps, 2x blinking lights and vest. This section of road is my least favorite. The shoulder disappears and the road is busy with speeding cars in both direction. It doesn’t last long but at night you definitely get a couple jerks in cars nearly clipping you.

Finally we started making progress on 1st place. 8 minutes turned into 6 minutes. We started strategizing about the last climb to the top of Palomar mountain. We agreed that we would run the entire 12 miles. And then we saw it. The wonderful red blinking lights in the distance. It reinvigorated us even more and we really started charging. The last turn at mile 69, we were 60 second behind. It got steep quickly, but we could taste the blood in the water and it drove us faster and faster up that mountain. We overtook 1st place with positive encouragement and never looked back.

Relentlessly, we grinded up that mountain without stopping. It hurt so freaking bad. It’s the kind of pain you have to really work for, you can’t buy it or rent it, you have to earn that pain. And earn it we did. Around mile 75 we entered a cloud. Scattered rain with limited headlamp visibility made the climb seem even longer. Mentally I was picturing the nice downhill bomb to the finish. That downhill never really came. It tapered off and flattened a bit, but then we were climbing again. The new finish would be at the top of another climb. Well played Chris Kostman. Nothing easy about this race.

16 hours and 16 minutes after we started we finished. Running to the finish holding an American Flag, just as the 3 of us had done in China two year earlier. We won the 3x team race and each received a 2019 Badwater golden ticket.

We couldn’t have done it without our crew, we had the easy part, all we did was run.

Smile or you’re doing it wrong.

Andrew Glaze (RIF #658)

Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon0 Comments

Steve Troxel, Whit Guthrie, and Joshua Holmes

Trail of Fears Race Recap from Steve Troxel

Trail of Fears Race Report by 2nd place finisher Steve Troxel

To put this report in perspective, you ought to know a few things about me.

I’m 58 years old with 10 grandkids.
I’m relatively new to running – been consistent for about 6 years.
I’m very new to this ultra world – first ultra distance was 50 miles at RUTS last year.

I ran TOF last year and made it 10 loops for an 8th place finish. This year I knew I was in better condition and said I would be absolutely thrilled to make it to the final 5 or 6. I have such great respect for the group that showed up for this race.

The intriguing thing about ultra events is that you really don’t know how your body will respond. There are so many variables with nutrition, gut, and muscle fatigue/strain that it’s difficult, if not impossible to accurately predict a specific outcome – too many things can go wrong, and they usually do.

My plan from the beginning was to run super easy and meet new people. The first several loops were great as I talked a bunch and was usually one of the last to finish the loop. By loops four and five I noticed my quads were a lot more tired than they ought to be. This was not a good sign. I had just run a PR marathon (3:17:01) at St. Jude two weeks earlier and figured I wasn’t fully recovered. I kept with the plan and the loops just kept clicking off.

On loops eight and nine, I had to run a little faster so I could change into my tights and different socks. This transition went well and I felt prepared as darkness approached. Loop 10 we had 13 runners and this was the first loop we had to switch on our headlamps. By the start of loop 11 we were down to 7 runners, and as we took the picture to start the loop I actually teared up. As I looked at the group I was on the line with, I just felt so incredibly blessed.

Now a side bar. One of the issues with getting a little older is with night vision. My vision becomes more and more blurry as the lights begin to fade. I knew this was going to be a problem so I ordered a new headlamp and some handheld flashlights. Loop 11 was great! I felt I could see as well as in the daylight. But on loop 12 my lights began to dim. What the heck!!? The rest of the loops became a lighting headache.

No one dropped on loop 11. On loop 12, I ended up behind Francesca Muccini and we power walked much of the second half of the course. This is actually not a bad strategy. Francesca is a fast walker and, if you stay focused, you can almost walk as fast as you can run over much of the course. Plus, walking behind allowed me to get some help from her headlamp.

I changed batteries after loop 12 and thought I was good. All 7 runners started loop 13 and I, once again, fell in behind Francesca. However, she was doing a lot of power walking at the beginning of this loop and I started to get concerned. By the halfway point, I felt we were too far behind to continue this strategy so I said I had to press ahead. Francesca just missed the cutoff for loop 13. That left 6 for the start of loop 14.

No one dropped on loop 14 but my headlamp problems continued. The lamp/flashlight combination would work for a short time and then begin to dim. As the lights dimmed, I became tentative in my steps and fell hard on both the 14th and 15th loop.

All 6 runners started the 15th loop and I started behind Randy Broadway. When we came out of the first side branch, he stopped and said he was done. I gave him a big hug – I really like and respect Randy – and continued. I really just kept plodding along. My legs felt good and I wasn’t having any major stomach issues. I still have a ways to go with proper eating in these longer races but at least I wasn’t completely falling apart. But as I already said, my lighting was not good and I fell hard. Marylou sprinted in with just 1 second left on the clock and Stewart Crouch said he was done. That left 4 runners to start loop 16.

Loop 16 was exciting since it was going to set a course record. I continued to fight my headlamp issue. I found that if I turned it off for a while and just used the flashlight I could then turn it back on for a while. This was working but it was draining me mentally. After completing the 16th loop, I asked if anyone had a headlamp I could borrow.  William Pinson let me borrow Megan‘s. This allowed me to step to the line on the 17th loop. I was surprised that Marylou decided to drop. Three of us started loop 17.

Though the borrowed headlamp helped, I really needed something brighter. I was able to run but had to keep telling myself, “Get ready to fall, get ready to fall.” Midway through this loop I decided this was no longer safe. I felt ok, but just knew I was going to get hurt. Again, this is more a mental struggle than anything, and I was getting mentally worn out. I decided I was going to line up for loop 18 but if Joshua Holmes started running I was going to stop.

All three of us lined up for loop 18. Josh said go, I took several steps and, to my surprise, Josh stayed on the line and said, “Have a good run.” I quickly ran up to Whit Guthrie and let him know Josh was not continuing. I said that if he would help guide me with his headlamp we could call this the last lap and he would win. Turns out, he was very ready to be done and was glad for the plan. We made it through the loop without incident and Whit is a true champion!

In my limited experience, I have found that competing at the ultra level is both physical and mental. I was definitely prepared physically and would not change anything in my training. Mentally, I learned a bunch, as we probably do in every race we run. I will NEVER be in this situation with lighting again – this is an easy problem to fix. The mental lessons are something I will take with me into my next bunch of races, including 2019 TOF, and will make me stronger.

My parting note to older runners: You can do more than you think is possible!

My parting note to all runners: I lost my mom to cancer when she was 43 and then lost by baby sister to cancer when she was 43. NEVER forget that what we do is a wonderful gift. Be determined to truly live each day we are given!!

Steve Troxel (2nd place finisher of the 2017 Trail of Fears)
December 16, 2017

Posted in Race Reports, Ultra Marathon0 Comments

Camille Herron Fastest 100 Mile Female Ever

Camille Herron Breaks Female 100 Mile Fastest Time Ever

Camille Herron Fastest 100 Mile Female Ever

At the Tunnel Hill 100 Miler in Vienna, Illinois, moments ago, Camille Herron just ran the fastest 100 miler by a female setting a world record.

She finished the flat rails to trail course in a mind-numbing time of 12:42:39.

Camille’s Tunnel Hill 100 Miler Splits

  • 10.9 miles – 1:18:21
  • 15.9 miles – 1:56:45
  • 26.8 miles – 3:13:03
  • 36.3 miles – 4:24:23
  • 40.5 miles – 4:56:05
  • 50.0 miles – 6:07:53
  • 60.9 miles – 7:28:46
  • 65.9 miles – 8:10:01
  • 76.8 miles – 9:33:16
  • 86.3 miles – 10:52:14
  • 90.5 miles – 11:26:56
  • 100.0 miles – 12:42:39

Camille was the overall winner of the race.

Congrats Camille on your World Record.

Posted in Running, Ultra Marathon0 Comments

Joshua Holmes Barkley Fall Classic TSD1

El Clásico de Barkley (a 2017 odisea de carrera)


the barkley fall classic
frozen head state park
wartburg, tn
16 sept 2017

it is a race like no other
based on an even more insane
impossible event like no other
the barkley marathons
the race that eats it’s young

the barkley fall classic has grown quickly
to over 400 runners in just 3 years
trying to finish
back mountain trails and hillsides
to get to laz
for a bonus loop
for a 50k – mile finish
for as advertised it is more
bang for your buck than just 31 miles
some say 48 miles
the lowest estimate was 40 miles

you see
no gps is allowed at the barkley
despite incessant cicadas beeping at mile 1 and beyond

before the race started
as i was getting my gear together
while downing my fourth organic pop tart of the morning

Joshua Holmes

a race vet
in the car next to me
told me that we were required to have a light
in our drop bag at mile 22…ahem 35
i had not even brought a light from the west coast
because i didn’t plan to run past the sun
but it was for sure more of a safety precaution
in case one got lost
as frozen head state park has been known
to swallow a wardian or two before
i had my phone flashlight
but RIF member cathy downes told me
she had an extra headlamp in her drop bag i could use if needed
her kindness stuck with me
as i thought about how many nice things
run it fast members have done for me over the past few years

Laz Lighting Up Barkley Fall Classic 2017

the race starts with the laz lighting a cigarette
just like he starts the big barkley in the spring
laz lit up and we all took off like any other race
yet we all knew we were about to enter a vast unknown

400 of us dashed down the paved road
taking advantage of the smooth surface and cool temps
about 50 feet in i hear some dudes behind me saying,
“someone is really going to miss that water bottle later.”
so i remember my soft flask i had stuck in my pocket pre-race
and check my pocket and it’s not there
so i immediately start swimming upstream
against a torrid stampede of anxious and eager buffalo
i finally see my bottle and runners stepping on it
oblivious to what was going on
they just saw this runner going the wrong way without a guide
i finally grab it and spend the next few min cleaning it with my shirt

so back to moving forward in the correct forward position
all of a sudden felt like getting shot out of a cannon
the first mile is on pavement before you reach the famed yellow gates
of frozen head made famous by the barkley
the race that eats it’s young
a sort of golden arches of sorts for ultra mile junkies

everyone was full of optimism and nerves
knowing that likely just 120 or so of the 400 starters would finish the 50k
i wondered who the other 119 would be myself

any race i begin
i visualize myself with only one outcome
coming out clean on the other side
no matter how ugly or desperate it might become

as unforgiving as little bark is
there is still some insurance knowing that you can
take a marathon
more like true 50k finish
if it goes to hell or you don’t make the cutoff at laz

the first few miles from the gate were on a single track trail
the climb was pretty gradual
and not too technical

Joshua Holmes Barkley Fall Classic TSD1

even though we were slowing climbing
i pushed the pace
i had gone out aggressive
to avoid massive conga lines
to find some space
to be able to operate
find rhythm
the marvin gaye type
and not over run
to avoid being over run
or be hung up
on the heels of whoever lay before me

i worked through this section
with rif member lisa van wolde
we would move past other runners
on this single track together
which made it easier for both of us
to get by quicker using less energy

you come upon the first aid station about 4 miles in
where the coalfield boys
high school football players held the jugs
that didn’t have moonshine
but had water and sword instead

i quickly refilled and kept down the trail
until coming upon a photographer
not my first in this life
a couple of us tried to run past her
continuing on down the trail
but she quickly said, “no, that way!”
as she pointed into the true wilderness
down a ravine into a giant lake
but it wasn’t a lake but just massive fog
onto of the moguls
this was testicle spectacle

quickly into testicle
i found a steep
down where i could get no footing
i had put on my brush clearing gloves
as i knew i was about to be tested
my legs came out from under me
and i slide down the hillside about 20 feet
before i could get my legs under me again

this went on a few times
with some moderate climbs
for a mile and half or so
then we turned left into some low lying ground
and waded through a creek


luckily i was behind dewayne satterfield
who has done big bark
because none of this was marked
there was for sure no trail at this point
just some creek funk thing
that looked a bit like the forked deer in west tn

well found a road on the other side of the marsh
then quickly over a wooden bridge
we ran
into a small white country church
that had an aid station to the right of it
as advertised it had water
slim jims
and long elongated yellow fruits
this was also where we got our first bib punch
i think it was the letter i

testicle is an out and back
being near the lead of the pack it meant we were going to see
a lot of terrified faces coming at us
escaping testicle on the way out
is even more difficult than it was sliding down
into this foggy bottom


as my mouth burned from slim jims
that were obviously soaked in tabasco
i quickly found myself on my hands and knees
trying to get up the muddy hillside
it is amazing how high your heart rate rises
when you are on all fours
trying to get any grip of the earth you can
to climb up

the two way traffic wasn’t easy
people were slipping and sliding into each other
but everyone was polite and understanding

once we escaped testicle
we hit that same photographer again
for the after ts photo
as i have told other runners
always know where the photographers are


thinking we were getting a temporarily hiatus from the gnarly stuff
i took my gloves off
as we crossed the trail down into methlab hill
some parts of meth were worse than testicle
it could have been called testicle part 2
it included more butt sliding
and knocking other runners further down into the ravine
shortly after you bottom out on meth
you hit the prison

i hit it in 3 hrs 7 min 6 sec from the start

brushy mountain state penitentiary that is
an expired prison where james earl ray
the white supremacist
who killed the transcendent Martin Luther King was jailed
for many years
laz says he got the idea for barkley
back in the late 70s when ray escaped
it took several days for authorities to recapture him
but they did 58 hours later
he had only made it 5 miles in that time
due to the intense rugged mountains and lacking a garmin


the prison looked straight out of shawshank
i went in the front door
and walked through the first building
then into the second building where most of the cells where located
a volunteer told me that cell 27 had been ray’s
as i walked by and looked into 27
all i could think about
was what a cowardly
pos ray was for killing king
a man of peace


after the cells it was out the side door
into the back yard behind the penitentiary
where we scaled a ladder over the back prison wall
and down the other side
where i got my second bib punch of the morning
the letter r


the bib puncher
keith dunn
directed me to run around the back corner of the prison wall
and through a long
dark tunnel
the tunnel had a feint light at the other end of it
there was a slow stream of water flowing through the tunnel
more flashbacks to andy durfresne escaping from shawshank
it was pitch black in the tunnel
but i ran and trusted my footing would not be compromised

Prison Tunnel

then i took a sharp left
into some overgrown
green centrifuge
a couple min into it
as it started to climb
i asked another runner
if it was rat jaw
the infamous rat jaw
up the steep mountain side
under the power lines
the answer was in the affirmative

gloves back on
it was wildly overgrown
from a healthy rain season
i moved pretty quickly
up the first half of this rat’s nest
then i started to see a long line of runners stack up above me
stuck in the greenness
executing briars
that none of us could escape
i asked another runner if the half marathon was merging with us
as so many runners had grinder to a halt
stuck in the thick of it
it was so overgrown and thick with no where to go
a path had to be slowly carved
with human bodies

robert youngren
who moments before grabbed my feet below me
to give me a solid surface to climb up
as i couldn’t get a grip
started a new
revolutionary path he started blazing
with a mini train behind him
i was about the seventh car in this train
this was painfully slow but rob was taking most of the abuse
as the conductor of this train
our train was slow but steady
moving faster than the longer train
that seemed stuck in a paused motion
perhaps mighty casey had run out of steam
rob got us to the top
passing several in the other train in the process


it took time but finally we reached the top of rat jaw
60 runners had stacked up behind us

rat jaw had been the great equalizer
almost like a nascar caution flag to bring the field all back together

quickly we climbed to the top of the watch tower and back down
quick aid station stop after the tower for refills
and then some downhill jeep roads
to garden spot
then to bald knob

most vets had underestimated how hard the back side
of the race would be
since rat jaw and testacle were knocked out earlier on

bird mountain was a formidable foe
it wasn’t gnarly or impossible
but due to not knowing exactly how long the course was
it seemed to go on forever

i knew we were many miles beyond what the map said
but as they say laz miles are way longer than actual miles
like 1.5x longer
the bird mtn miles seemed to go on forever
i kept thinking we had to be close to laz and dropbags

finally we come off the trail
back onto park roads
and after about 1/2 a mile later to our drop bags
and then laz
with an elapsed time of 8:03:30 to that point


laz punched my bib
and made mention of how well i was doing
seeming a bit surprised
maybe it was because when i first met him on the ferry
in dorena landing years ago
at the start of the vol state
he looked at me and my crew
consisting of my high school cousin and his buddy
and told me
look to your left and your right
one of you will finish this race
i could tell his confidence was not in me being the one
i was very green then
i am just light
lime green now

other runners had warned me that the last loop was 9 miles
like 9 actual miles not laz miles

the climb up to chimney top was a long 5-6 mile climb
others had opted to grab poles out of their drop bags
i didn’t want to cheat my exercise routine with poles

early in the climb i was passed by a handful of hikers
i mean runners
as the climb wore on
i started to catch and reel in a couple of them
by being persistent and relentless

Chimney Top

i finally hit the top of chimney top
and you know how i knew it was the top of chimney top
because there was a mf chimney at the top of the climb
in the middle of nowhere
no house with it
no signs of a house
just a chimney and fireplace
no smoke
prevent forest fires
it was then i realized that i was at the top of chimney top
i did not need a sign to tell me

after chimney’s top started a gradual downhill
not many other runners were around at this point
another runner was in front of me
and after a mile and a sharp turn to the left down the mountain
we both started to get nervous wondering if we were on the right trail
or if we had become lost
and if so how lost where we and would we have enough time
to get back on the correct trail and make the cutoff
i pulled out my cloth map several times
and each time wadded it back into my pocket
unable to make sense of it
we both were running well
but simply did not see any other human beings
as more and more indecision began to set in

finally we saw another runner
and a volunteer
with a hole puncher and jugs of water
i refilled all 4 bottles i had with me
the volunteer punched my bib
and knew exactly how much of the course remained
he told us 2.5 miles back to laz
and about 3.4 total to the finish
and that it was all down hill

i took off running
knowing i needed to be perfect
if i wanted to break 11 hours
i knew i was about in 23rd position as well
however i didn’t know the terrain or the accuracy of the distance
but i ran hard smelling the barn
or perhaps it was myself
but either way it fueled me to another gear
that had been abandoned miles earlier

i caught a couple runners including youngren
who was probably simply tired
from sleepless nights with his new baby
and then shortly after there was laz and friends
i slowed just enough to ask if we needed another punch
laz said no and i turned it up knowing 10 hrs 52 min had expired
on the clock

1 mile
8 min or less
again was the distance accurate or not
i didn’t know
but i ran harder

another runner was alongside me
as i had caught him near laz
we were both chasing sub 11
we ran that last road like it was a legit 5k
i hit the pavement and emptied all my bottles
to get as light as possible knowing every second would matter

the other runner
nathan i believe
got a few feet in front and i followed in his wake
a couple turns hoping the end was in sight
clock ticking
a clock with no mind or mercy of what i wanted

i finally start to hear people
then i see the grassy field knowing to turn right
for the finishing arches
i see the clock at 10:59:30
i sprinted in comfortably over those 40 yards
crossing the finish line in 10:59:43


a time that would matter only to me
breaking 11 hours that would only matter to me
but it had mattered to me for several miles
because it helped me stay focused and on point
it helped me prevent bad miles
and gave me something to focus on
and help drive me those last few miles to the finish

my last mile was 7 min 11 sec

the first person i saw after finishing was my good friend
rif member and bfc rd steve durbin
it was good to see him
he congratulated me and i thanked him for an amazing event
i was then presented with the prized
croix de barque for finishing


i caught my breath
drank a few bottles of sword from the orange cooler
and then walked backwards on the course
to cheer in other runners
and root for my fellow run it fast members than remained on the course
one by one they found the finish as i had
some had made the 50k cutoff and finish
others had been turned in early
but all seemed satisfied with the effort they put forth that day

they knew they hadn’t don’t a normal race
and they were proud of the valiant effort they gave
they had been challenged in a new way
and had dug deep or discovered a new depth for the first time

after a few photos and hugs
i redeemed my post race meal card for a veggie burger
i am not even a vegetarian but it sounded like what my stomach
would agree with
and it was spot on

i beat the rat

i traded war stories from the course and other battles
with other veteran ultra runners
from the past and present
the weather had been perfect
the course ripe
and i was pleased with my effort

my goal had been to finish in the top 20 and sub 11
i was 20th overall and 18th male
in a time of 10:59:43

Run It Fast Barkley Fall Classic 2017 Finishers 2

it was a good feeling to run well
and share in so many others achievements
i wore the rat bites and dozens of flesh wounds with pride
a very special running
epic event
race directed by my good friends durb and laz

rif members before the lighting of the cigarette

congrats to all who were brave enough to toe the start
whether you got a finish or not
it takes a lot to take on a task like the bfc

thank you to all the volunteers
and football players
and friends
who were encouraging
and made it possible to finish
marathon/ultra #197

and a special thanks
to all my Run It Fast friends
who continue to inspire and drive me
every race
step by step

joshua holmes
run it fast

barkley fall classic results – 2017
photos: susan typert, daryl ann patton

Posted in Barkley Marathons, Race Reports, Running, Ultra Marathon0 Comments

Francois D’haene Wins 2017 UTMB – IRunFar

François D’haene Wins the 2017 UTMB (Top 10 Results)

Francois D'haene Wins 2017 UTMB - IRunFar

France’s François D’haene held off Spain’s Kilian Jornet to win the 2017 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc with a time of 19:01:32.

Jornet finished 15 minutes back in 19:16:38. The first American, third overall, finisher was Tim Tollefson in 19:53:00.

Top 10 Finishers 2017 UTMB

  1. François D’HAENE (France) – 19:01:32
  2. Kilian JORNET (Spain) – 19:16:38
  3. Tim TOLLEFSON (USA) – 19:53:00
  4. Xavier THEVENARD (France) – 20:03:14
  5. Jim WALMSLEY (USA) – 20:11:38
  6. Pau CAPELL (Spain) – 20:12:43
  7. Dylan BOWMAN (USA) – 20:19:48
  8. Gediminas GRINIUS (Lithuania) – 21:24:19
  9. Zach MILLER (USA) – 21:28:32
  10. Jordi GAMITO (Spain) – 21:44:31

Spain’s Nuria Picas was the female winner of the 2017 UTMB in 25:46:43 barely holding off Switzerland’s Andrea Huser who finished less than 3 minutes back in 25:49:18. Third female went to France’s Christelle Bard in 26:39:03.

Top 5 Female Finishers 2017 UTMB

  1. Núria PICAS (Spain) – 25:46:43
  2. Andrea HUSER (Switzerland) – 25:49:18
  3. Christelle BARD (France) – 26:39:03
  4. Kaori NIWA (Japan) – 27:31:39
  5. Kellie EMMERSON (Australia) – 28:13:06

2017 UTMB Results and Live Tracking

[image: @iRunFar

Posted in Featured, International, Results, Ultra Marathon, UTMB0 Comments

Run It Fast on Twitter

twitter button free