Tag Archive | "Andrea Kooiman"

‘s Market Vol State 500K 2018

Day 6 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

Many finishers have reached The Rock of The Last Annual Vol State 500K over the last 24 hours including Run It Fast’s own Cathy ‘Happy Pace’ Downes. Cathy finished in a time of 5 days 21 hours 28 minutes 59 seconds.

Other finishers over the past 24 hours include Rich Flint, Douglas Long, J.T. Hardy, Tim Purol, Kimberly Durst, Rob Greer, Carl Kidwell, Bo Millwood, and James Fleming.

On a sad note two Vol State 500K legends bowed out of the race during this same time, RIF’s Juli Aistars at mile 223 and John Price at The Bench of Despair 184.

Overall Vol State 500K Top Finishers – tracker
1. Grant Maughan – 3:22:02:59 – 314 Miles – KING OF THE ROAD
2. Rhoda Smoker – 4:12:05:35 – 314 Miles – First Female to The Rock (3rd fastest female time ever)
3. Andrea Kooiman – 4:14:40:59 – 314 Miles (2nd Female, 4th fastest female time ever)
4. Brian Trinkle – 4:19:59:23 – 314 Miles
5. Alan Abbs – 4:19:59:40 – 314 Miles
6. Regina Sooey – 4:20:27:54 – 314 Miles (3rd female)
7. Rich Flint – 5:00:19:35 – 314 Miles
8. Douglas Long – 5:01:17:13 – 314 Miles
9. J.T. Hardy – 5:01:19:13 – 314 Miles
10. Tim Purol – 5:11:45:45 – 314 Miles
11. Kimberly Durst – 5:19:06:50 – 314 Miles (4th female)
12. Rob Greer – 5:20:41:40
13. Carl Kidwell – 5:21:28:14
14. Cathy Downes – 5:21:28:59 (5th female)
15. Bo Millwood – 5:21:43:43
16. James Fleming – 6:00:34:51

Here is where all our Run It Fast Members stood as of the 144 Hour Check-In.  Congrats again to Cathy.

144 Hour Run It Fast @ LAVS Check-In
Andrea Casella Kooiman – 4:14:40:59
Cathy Downes – 5:21:28:59
Lisa Van Wolde – 294
Steven Smith – 294
Seth Crowe – 286
Chris Clemens – 274
Cary Long – 260
Sherry Meador – 249
Sal Bill Coll – 249
David Nichols – 244
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 229
David Oglesby – 224
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 206
Sharon Carver – 204

21 Run It Fast members started, 14 remain. Best of luck as you continue to pursue The Rock.

Day 5 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)
Day 4 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)
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)

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2018 Last Annual Vol State 500K Results

2018 Last Annual Vol State 500K Results

On July 16, 2018, Grant Maughan was crowned the new King of the Road after winning The Last Annual Vol State 500K with a time of 3 days 22 hours 2 minutes 59 seconds. His finish was the 6th fastest all-time in race history.

First female to The Rock was Rhoda Smoker with a  time of 4 days 12 hours 5 minutes 35 seconds. Her time was the 3rd fastest time ever by a female. Andrea Kooiman was second female to The Rock in 4 days 14 hours 40 seconds 59 seconds which was the 4th fastest female time of all-time. Third female was Regina Sooey in 4 days 20 hours 27 minutes 54 seconds.

Brian Trinkle was 2nd male to The Rock in 4 days 19 hours 59 seconds 23 seconds. Vol State veteran Alan Abbs took 3rd male in 4 days 19 hours 59 seconds 40 seconds, just 17 seconds behind Brian. Both Brian and Alan ran uncrewed.

Overall Top Finishers – tracker
1. Grant Maughan – 3:22:02:59 – 314 Miles – KING OF THE ROAD
2. Rhoda Smoker – 4:12:05:35 – 314 Miles – First Female to The Rock (3rd fastest female time ever)
3. Andrea Kooiman – 4:14:40:59 – 314 Miles (2nd Female, 4th fastest female time ever)
4. Brian Trinkle – 4:19:59:23 – 314 Miles
5. Alan Abbs – 4:19:59:40 – 314 Miles
6. Regina Sooey – 4:20:27:54 – 314 Miles (3rd female)
7. Rich Flint – 5:00:19:35 – 314 Miles
8. Douglas Long – 5:01:17:13 – 314 Miles
9. J.T. Hardy – 5:01:19:13 – 314 Miles
10. Tim Purol – 5:11:45:45 – 314 Miles
11. Kimberly Durst – 5:19:06:50 – 314 Miles (4th female)
12. Rob Greer – 5:20:41:40
13. Carl Kidwell – 5:21:28:14
14. Cathy Downes – 5:21:28:59 (5th female)
15. Bo Millwood – 5:21:43:43
16. James Fleming – 6:00:34:51

DNF’s (32): Juli Aistars 223, Alex Morton 223, Geir Frykholm 187, Karen Jackson 186, John Price 185, Glenn Kasper 164, Newton Baker 137, David Baikie 137, John Cash 133, Henry Lupton 133, Paul Heckert 128, Dale Rucker 125, Greg Armstrong 114, Shaun Miller 111, Chris Valenti 111, Diane Durden 111, Julia Kraimer 109, Diane Taylor 107, Rachael Howard 102, Jeff Deaton 92, Don Winkley 92, Novle Rogers 85, Simon Bonnick 82, Tom Orr 82, Jennifer Carvallo 69, Lynn Turner 67, John Schuerzinger 67, Kevin Gerteisen 57, Scott Haller 56, Joey Lichter 56, Mary Harvey 48, Curtis Barton 29

Others still working hard to get to The Rock. 114 runners started. 32 drops so far.

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David Oglesby Bench of Despair VS500K 2018

Day 5 – Vol State 500K – Run It Fast Members Update (2018)

Day 5 action at The Vol State 500K saw Rhoda Smoker come from 12 miles back at the 96-hour check in to become the First Female to The Rock for 2018. Rhoda got to The Rock in 4 days 12 hours 5 minutes 35 seconds which is the 3rd fastest time in VS500K history for a woman.

She was on a pretty regimented sleep schedule that had her sleeping during the nights and getting up early in the mornings to run throughout the entire day until early evening where she would then bunker down again. It worked well as it kept her miles really strong/fast, and got her the rest she needed.

Smoker passed RIF #404 Andrea Kooiman around mile 290 to take the lead. Andrea went on to finish strong, just a couple hours behind Rhoda, with a time of 4 days 14 hours 40 minutes 59 seconds which is the 4th fastest female finish in race history. Congrats to Andrea on an amazing performance and to her crew of Jill Williams and David Pharr (guest day 1 cameo by Marylou Corino and day 5 Sonja Beck).

Regina Sooey who leap frogged for the lead and with the top two finishing women throughout the first 4 days faded on day 5 but still managed to secure third place female with at me of

Two unscrewed men Brian Trinkle and Alan Abbs had a sprint finish to The Rock with Brian barely edging out Alan to take second place with a time of 4:19:59:23. Alan finished just 17 seconds back of Brian.

Overall Top Finishers – tracker
1. Grant Maughan – 3:22:02:59 – 314 Miles – KING OF THE ROAD
2. Rhoda Smoker – 4:12:05:35 – 314 Miles – First Female to The Rock (3rd fastest female time ever)
3. Andrea Kooiman – 4:14:40:59 – 314 Miles (4th fastest female time ever)
4. Brian Trinkle – 4:19:59:23 – 314 Miles
5. Alan Abbs – 4:19:59:40 – 314 Miles
6. Regina Sooey – 4:20:27:54 – 314 Miles
7. Rich Flint – 5:00:19:35 – 314 Miles
8. Douglas Long – 5:01:17:13 – 314 Miles
9. J.T. Hardy – 5:01:19:13 – 314 Miles

120 Hour Check-In for Run It Fast @ LAVS 500K
Andrea Casella Kooiman – 4:14:40:59 – 314 Miles
Cathy Downes – 261 Miles
Lisa Van Wolde – 244 Miles
Steven Smith – 244 Miles
Seth Crowe – 239 Miles
Chris Clemens – 231 Miles
Juli Aistars – 216 Miles
Cary Long – 216 Miles
Sherry Meador – 212 Miles
David Nichols – 201 Miles
Sal Bill Coll – 201 Miles
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 196 Miles
David Oglesby – 185 Miles
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 185 Miles
Sharon Carver – 179 Miles

108 Hour Check-In for Run It Fast @ LAVS 500K
Andrea Casella Kooiman – 307
Cathy Downes – 231
Lisa Van Wolde – 223
Steven Smith – 223
Seth Crowe – 223
Chris Clemens – 204
Juli Aistars – 196
Cary Long – 196
Sherry Meador – 194
Kendra Fields Schoffstall – 185
David Nichols – 179
David Oglesby – 179
Sal Bill Coll – 179
Sharon Carver – 164
Beth Ann Russell Hosick – 164

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

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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]

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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)

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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)

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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.

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Run It Fast’s Extreme Racer Standings (thru April 2018)

Race season is in full swing with the miles really adding up! April brought in 2,424.25 miles for the month and a total of 7,928.15 for 2018. This update is through the end of April. There is still time to get in on the fun, just enter all your race miles for March on to be included in the next update. The top few are all really close. If you forgot to enter your race miles we will include them in the next update. Looking for races to enter? Be sure to check out the Run It Fast – Club Race Discounts in the Facebook group.

Leading the women is RIF #644 Ila Brandli  with 550.2 points. Second place, RIF #404 Andrea Kooiman with 359.6 points. Coming in third place is RIF #410 Marylou Corino with 307.2 points.

Leading the men is RIF #762 Clint Burleson with 823.1 points. Second place, RIF #638 Ken Fattmann with 584 points. Coming in third place is RIF #190 John Kent Leighton with 535.11 points.  

Here are the standings through April:

Extreme Racer Top Ten Leaderboard

  1. Clint Burleson – 823.1 points (RIF #762)
  2. Ken Fattmann – 584 points (RIF #638)
  3. Ila Brandli – 550.2 points (RIF #644)
  4. John Kent Leighton – 535.11 points (RIF #190)
  5. Joshua Holmes – 387.5 points (RIF #1)
  6. Andrew Glaze – 360.4 points (RIF #658)
  7. Andrea Kooiman – 359.6 points (RIF #404)
  8. Shane Tucker – 355.1 points (RIF #337)
  9. George Southgate – 328.42 points (RIF #279)
  10. Marylou Corino – 307.2 points (RIF #410)


Extreme Racer Women’s Leaderboard

  1. Ila Brandli – 550.2  points (RIF #644)
  2. Andrea Kooiman – 359.6 points (RIF #404)
  3. Marylou Corino – 307.2 points (RIF #410)
  4. Tiffani Glass – 210.2 points (RIF #328)
  5. Pat Cagle – 205.8 points (RIF #707)
  6. Lisa Maddox – 178.2 points (RIF #751)
  7. Kit Brazier – 152.4 points (RIF #548)
  8. Emily Lyons – 152 points (RIF #774)
  9. Christy Bowers – 112.7 points (RIF #60)
  10. Jill Williams – 111 points (RIF #521)
  11. Robin Brunet – 99.86 points (RIF #564)
  12. Christy Brewer – 65.25 points (RIF #766)
  13. Raciel Diaz – 62 points (RIF #709)
  14. Michelle Talbott – 57.2 points (RIF #527)
  15. Marj Mitchell – 52.4 points (RIF #4)
  16. Alicja Grace – 44.1 points (RIF #705)
  17. Juleann Roberts – 22.36 points (RIF #623)

Extreme Racer Men’s Leaderboard

  1. Clint Burleson – 823.1 points (RIF #762)
  2. Ken Fattmann – 584 points (RIF #638)
  3. John Kent Leighton – 535.11 points (RIF #190)
  4. Joshua Holmes – 387.5 points (RIF #1)
  5. Andrew Glaze – 360.4 points (RIF #658)
  6. Shane Tucker – 355.1 points (RIF #337)
  7. George Southgate – 328.42 points (RIF #279)
  8. Aaron DeBord – 293.25 points (RIF #723)
  9. Rich Peers – 262 points (RIF #591)
  10. Michael SK Mortensen – 239.2 points (RIF #553)
  11. Randy Brinkley – 141.5 points (RIF #761)
  12. Jeremy Reed – 120.1 points (RIF #642)
  13. Jared Matsunaga – 117.2 points (RIF #665)
  14. Denis McCarthy – 114.4 points (RIF #263)
  15. Seth Crowe – 106.2 points (RIF #541)
  16. Scott Kufferath – 94 points (RIF #680)
  17. David Essary – 88.2 points (RIF #475)
  18. Darrell Richardson -78.7 points (RIF #625)
  19. Charles Roberts – 41.26 points (RIF #622)
  20. Randy Marks – 27.9 points (RIF #743)
  21. Reist Mummau – 26.2 points (RIF #756)


If it felt good, you didn’t push hard enough. It’s supposed to hurt like hell.” ― Dean Karnazes, RIF #360

[Extreme Racer points are awarded per each racing mile completed. Example: marathon = 26.2 points, half marathon 13.1 points, etc.]

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Andrea Kooiman AC 100 Trail Work

Am I a Real Runner?

Am I a Real Runner?

When did you realize you were a real runner? Such an odd question to ask of someone, but I have been asked it many times. I have actually gone to battle with myself over this question and had difficulty finding the answer when trying to justify it to others.

I guess in order to answer the question; you must first understand what a “real runner” is.

Dictonary.com defines the words like this:

a person who runs, especially in a specified way.
“Mary was a fast runner”

actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.
“Julius Caesar was a real person”

So, based on the definitions, I guess the day I became a “real runner” was the day I hit the ground running. Each time I ran, whether for sport, to get to something faster (or maybe get away from something more quickly), I was running in a specified way. Just by the act of doing it, it became real. More importantly though, is the moment when I “owned” the title for myself. The day I decided that I in fact was a runner. That moment did not come until years after taking my first “running” steps. As I write this, I know that deep down I still struggle with the definition and what it means on a much grander scale.

Let’s rewind to my youth. I loved sports, I loved being outside and I loved a good dose of healthy competition. I wanted to win. It didn’t matter what it was, I wanted to give it a shot and I wanted to be the best at it. I had drive (some would say, I still do). I ran a few youth track meets and enjoyed the thrill of the chase and of course the recognition of a podium finish. As I entered high school, I ran with the cross country team, but to be honest, I only joined because the boy I liked was on the team. I was not a fast runner, but held my own for a few years until I lost interest in the sport. I still loved to run. I ran for fitness through early adulthood and would enter the occasional local 10K. It was my sanity at times, my reset button. It was my freedom.

It wasn’t until 2005 when a co-worker, friend and retired ultra-runner challenged me to run my first marathon. I took her up on the challenge and trained with her for 6 months. I ran my first marathon in January 2006 at the Orange County Marathon event. It was amazing. I must have liked it because the year I ran my first marathon, I ended up running three. The year 2006 is when I feel I started my official running journey. Instead of running for fitness only, I was running to complete a series of goals. I began coaching a youth marathon program and found new and interesting ways to insert my life into the running community.

With this new found passion for running and racing, I began to set more and more goals. Places I would like to run, PR’s I would like to set and distances I wanted to conquer. This was a transitional phase for me as I learned how remarkable my body was. I wanted to push harder, I wanted to run faster and eventually I wanted to run farther. A LOT FARTHER!

Here is where my “real runner” phase really begins to kick in. Maybe it was the pressure I placed on myself, or the comparisons I made when meeting other runners, but there was a need for validation in what I was doing. Each and every time I stood at a starting line, I always felt a bit inferior to the others, almost as if I didn’t belong there. This feeling didn’t start to take shape until my goals became more out of the ordinary like when I wanted to stack up back to back races, or run distances of 100 miles. While trying to qualify for Boston, I was reading The Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes. He speaks about Western States 100 and Badwater 135 in the book. Both of those races seemed far out of reach at that time, but as I progressed in my running and as my hunger for more difficult challenges could not be satisfied, these races became my goals that kept pushing me. They became my desire. I needed to go for it. With that, I started to sign up for races that would help me achieve my goal. Badwater was first on the list. I knew I needed at minimum three 100 mile races completed before I would be considered as an applicant. I also knew that I needed to crew/pace at the event to determine whether or not I should actually go through with this crazy idea that had started to consume my mind. I had already completed two 100 mile races, but they were on loop courses. I wanted to add some trail races to my resume so that it would look better when submitting for Badwater. I registered for the Angeles Crest 100, Leadville 100, Endurance Challenge 100 and Chimera 100. By finishing these, my resume would certainly have the minimum three 100 mile finishes I needed (and then some).

The Angeles Crest 100 Miler was first up and I needed to complete required trail work in order to be allowed to start the race. The day of my trail work, I was partnered up with many highly seasoned ultra runners to do trail maintenance. Many of these runners had run not only the AC100 course a number of times, but had completed dozens of other trail races that I had only heard about. I loved hearing their stories. I wanted to ask them so many questions about trail racing but didn’t want to seem stupid or too eager.

During the course of the trail work I learned so much valuable information from this experienced ultra vets. However, during that time, one of the guys made me feel very bad. While we were discussing upcoming races he mentioned that he would be at Leadville. I was going to be there too! It happened to be just two weeks after AC100. I spoke up, how exciting we would both be racing these two events so close together! He looked me straight in the face and asked how I thought I could pull that off without having any 100 mile trail race finishes under my belt. I felt foolish. The truth is, I really hadn’t thought about it. I just knew I wanted to do it and the only way to reach my goal is to take the start line.

I was too naive to know the difference until he pointed it out. It didn’t matter to me when I signed up for them. My goal was my goal, and I was on my way to achieving it. The only problem with his comment, is that I began to doubt myself. I believe that you should go into every race with a respect for the distance and the course. It is important to go into an event with the ability to SEE the finish line. Picture yourself there. Visualize the medal, buckle or whatever it is that they give to you upon completion. You need to be able to see your completion of the race. Own it. It needs to be YOURS! Until this moment, AC100 was going to be my first trail 100 finish.

Now, well…..now I wasn’t so sure. Maybe he was right? What made me think I could pull this off?

AC100 came and went. I missed the time cutoff at mile 52 and therefore did not finish AC. My first DNF! I could go into a long story about all that happened, but the truth is, I gave up mentally. I didn’t think so at the time, but after the tears had dried and the dirt was washed away, the harsh reality stared me in the face. I gave up on myself. I doubted myself. I didn’t feel like I belonged there and now in two more weeks I was going to do it again, but this time at 10,000+ feet in Leadville, Colorado.

What made me think I could pull this off?

I decided to pull up my big girl panties and get my head in check. I had trained well, my body was strong, and I had a clean slate with a new starting line. I wanted to finish Leadville really bad. I wanted to have my qualifiers for Badwater and I didn’t care what that guy at the AC trail work said to me anymore. What did he know?

So, two weeks later, I started Leadville and DNF’d at mile 60. This time I missed a cut off, but I gave it all I had. I never quit, I never gave up and I pushed until I was told I was no longer allowed to continue. I felt better about this DNF, but I wasn’t OK with it. Maybe that guy was right. Maybe I had no idea what I was doing, and maybe I had bit off more than I could chew. The cold hard fact is that I had 2 DNF’s 2 weeks apart and it stung.

But I didn’t quit, and I didn’t give up. EC100 and Chimera 100 were coming up and I needed those finishes. I trained hard, I trained smart, and I finished both.

I went on to run Badwater in 2014 and continued running long hard races. Each time I showed up, I never felt like I was a true Ultra Runner. Even after completing Badwater, I still wondered when I would become a “real runner”.

It wasn’t until November 2016 at the Mt. Gaoligong Ultra in China that I finally realized that I belonged on the course. At that time, I already had completed Badwater twice, the Grand Slam of 100 Milers, and many other difficult 100 mile races. I had won some and placed at others. I was close to dead last at a few as well. The difference from my failures at AC100 and Leadville compared to my success at the 100 milers I finished is that I simply believed in myself and my ability.

Starting the MGU 100 Miler race in China was magical. I was one of a few American women who made the trek 1/2 across the world for this inaugural event. It was an incredible honor to wear the US flag on my bib and to represent my country.

I stood there surrounded by some of the most talented athletes with running resumes and accomplishments that would blow your mind. I stood there and looked around and asked myself, “Why am I here? How did I get here?” Then I just started to soak it all in. I took some deep breaths and listened to the sounds of the drums that introduced us to the crowd around us as the heat of the fires burning in cauldrons at the start line warmed me. I began to tell myself in amazement that THIS WAS MY LIFE. I worked hard for this moment and I earned it.

As I ran, I went through many personal and emotional battles. I finally came to the conclusion, over the course of those 104 miles across the rugged hillside of Tengchong, that I belonged there. I finally, after many years, realized I was a “real runner.” I actually had been all along.

I was a real runner the day I laced up my shoes and decided I wanted to start a race. I belonged at every starting line even when others thought I had bit off more than I could chew. It is my journey, and I am proud of it. I am even more proud when I look back on it and how far I have come from those DNF’s at AC100 and Leadville early in my ultra running career. It is my story.

With every misstep, I found my way to greater success. With each mistake, I learned something new about myself. With every tear and outcry of heartache and disappointment, I was awarded with greater victories down the road I could have never imagined at the onset of this journey.

I encourage you to set your goals high and follow your own dreams even when they scare you. Feel the fear, but do it anyway. They aren’t you, and they sure don’t know you like you know yourself.

Do hard things and then find even harder things to do.

And always remember…that you are a “REAL RUNNER!”

Andrea Kooiman
RIF #404

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Andrea Kooiman and Marylou Corino HURT 100

7 Miles from Glory: Marylou Corino’s HURT 100 Redemption

Marylou Corino’s HURT 100 Redemption

7 miles- a run I can often do in the morning before work or even squeeze in during my one hour lunch break.  I fell 7 miles short of finishing the HURT 100 back in Jan 2017.  That was my first DNF (did not finish).   I took not finishing it quite personally. I have finished everything I had started up until that point and couldn’t leave this unfinished. I am just not wired that way.

As soon as I returned home, I was determined to go back in 2018 to finish it. Needless to say those 7 miles would fuel what would be my most intense year of training to date. In order to succeed the following year, I had to examine what didn’t work the year before.  I figured out three things:  a) I needed to move faster (especially at night). b) I needed to work on my hiking skills and c) I needed to stay fueled and hydrated properly during the race.

photo: Augusto Castro

I really wanted to find terrain that would mimic the race course as much as possible. Anyone who has done HURT knows that is not an easy task to replicate that twisted and grueling landscape.  The HURT 100 boasts 24,500 feet of climbing. It consists exclusively of technical, single track trail on surfaces that include (HUGE) roots, rocks and soil in a wide range of conditions from sun baked clay to mud of varying depth. Sudden hairpin turns and steep inclines of up to approximately two miles in length are a common occurrence. Very few sections of the course can be run with a consistent stride for more than several hundred yards at a time. There are a total of 20 stream crossings.

The Bruce Trail, here in Ontario, is filled with rocks and roots so I spent a lot of time on this trail getting my feet used to that type of terrain.  As a flatlander, I needed to improvise on trying to get some good climbing in. I spent hours doing hill repeats, climbing on the treadmill, stair climbing, and hill work on the elliptical. In addition, I was trying to make the legs even stronger through strength training. I spent morning, lunch hours, afternoons after work and at night getting the training in. Most days were double or triple workouts. I wasn’t even sure I was in the race yet.  (The lottery didn’t happen until August).

Simply put, from February to August I was training for a race I wasn’t even sure I was going to run. I woke up some mornings wanting to do nothing but sleep. But in the corner of my eye I could see the HURT 100 shirt from 2017 hanging in my closet (never worn) and that was enough for me to get up and out of bed. It’s important to ALWAYS remember why you are doing something so you continue to chase it.

I ran quite a few races in 2017 but I felt the following three would help immensely in getting me ready for the HURT 100. I signed up for the Cruel Jewel 100 (close to 110miles) , Barkley Fall Classic ( “50km”) and the Grindstone 100 In Virginia. All three were challenging in different ways. I spent 2 nights completing both hundreds and the BFC had its own unique climbs. I didn’t run any of them fast but with each race I was developing my mental strength and stamina which I knew I would need to complete the HURT 100.

Fast Forward to Saturday January 13, 2018. I was at the start line of my second attempt of the HURT 100. Dan, my husband, was right there by my side.  He has and continues to be my biggest fan and supporter.

As I was trying to soak in this second chance, I couldn’t help but feel nervous. So many hours of hard work and sacrifice brought me to this moment.  I knew there was nothing more I could have done. I had a great support system at the race and back home.  The race started and all those nerves went away.  I broke up the race in parts, just focusing on getting from one aid station to the next.  I finished the first loop in just under 5 hours and 20 minutes. I am not sure even now if that was too fast. All I knew was that I needed to be faster than last year. The course was just as beautiful and tough as I remembered it.

photo: Kalani Pascual

I had a quick bite to eat, changed socks, and started loop 2. It definitely got warmer and I seemed to be getting hungrier faster. I decided to eat every 45 minutes and eat large quantities of food at the aid stations because at HURT there is always a monster climb after every aid station. I got through loop 2 before dark and it was here where I took a few minutes to change clothes, devour a monster cheeseburger from Dan, and get ready for the night portion that would cover the jungle during loop 3.

Last year loop 3 was my race breaker. I lost so much time in the dark that I started loop 4 chasing cutoffs the rest of the race.   I made sure this year to have a good headlamp and flashlight and neither disappointed.  Navigating HURT during the day is hard but having to navigate it during the dark feels like you are running a completely different and more sinister race.  I finished loop 3,  1.5 hours faster than last year. This gave me a huge confidence booster although I wasn’t celebrating just yet.  I still had 40 miles to complete.  I was also very lucky to have shared some good miles with Joshua Holmes. We were never more than 15 minutes apart. I do believe without a doubt he helped push me through that third loop.

I was quite sleepy during loop 4 but needed to stay awake and focused on the trail to avoid a fall or injury. I never felt alone during the race. It always encouraging to see runners on the course and every aid station was lively and celebratory no matter the time.  I got to see Andrea Kooiman not only at the Nu’uanu aid station where she was volunteering but also at night when she paced Joshua. She had DNF’d and time out at mile 93 the year before I did. She returned last year to successfully finish the race. Our paths crossed many times and this always lifted my spirits.  I could often hear her from as far as 2 miles away. The ‘Nu’uanu Boom-Box’ as they called her on the trail.

Both Andrea and Joshua were a great source of support for me as I got ready during 2017 to attempt HURT the second time around. We bonded at several events including the Badwater Salton Sea where we were a 3 person team that had to stay together for all 81 miles.

During the 4th loop (80 miles in) I saw my second sunrise and finished that loop leaving about 9 hours to complete the fifth and final one. I just needed to keep moving to get that buckle. This is where the extra ounce of mental toughness I developed during training and running harder trail races came in.  A pacer ran with me for about 14 or 15 miles and this made the time go by somewhat quickly.  As I left the Nu’uanu aid station at mile 93 (one last time and with time to spare!)  I felt overwhelmingly joyous. I was going to complete those 7 miles that I couldn’t complete last year.  Although it was still 7 difficult miles to finish the race, it felt like a victory lap of sorts. The past 12 months of hard work had paid off.

Coming into the HURT 100 start/finish area for the last time is a feeling I soon will not forget.  I lifted my hands up, rang the bell and kissed the sign in a time of 35:40:15. I had done it…all that hard work…redemption!

And as the sign says  “We wouldn’t want it to be easy.”  That’s good because I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Marylou Corino (RIF #411)
HURT 100 Mile Finisher
January 13-14, 2018

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