The 2011 Run for Regis is one of those runs that will stick with me for quite some time. It was an epic run. The conditions were about as bad as they could be while still allowing us to actually run. It was like running on loose sand for 33 miles. In short, it was awesome! This is the type of run that puts hair on your chest. It hardens you both physically and mentally. These are the types of runs you need to get under your belt to prepare you for a 100 mile run.
My goal coming into this year’s race was to just finish the 50k race. The prior two years I let the elements, and the warm shelter, get the best of me and I stopped after completing the 30k distance. With Umstead looming I knew I needed the mileage and needed to cover the full 50k distance. The race didn’t go perfectly but I’m very pleased to say that I held it together, ran strong, and finished the full distance.
I started out at a slow pace but that pace required more effort than usual because of the uneven footing. Things were perfect through 30k. I had held back, felt fresh, and was ready to attack the last ½ marathon. I picked up that pace heading out onto the 2nd 8 mile loop and felt strong. I learned quickly that running just a minute a mile quicker required twice the effort and backed off on the pace as I began to cramp. I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been and didn’t have e-caps or Advil on me and struggled a bit since I had nothing to combat the cramping. As I slowed down Mark Carroll showed up at the most opportune moment and offered me a couple of e-caps to help my cramping. It was a welcome relief to have his company and assistance and we ran together on and off for several miles. After about an hour the cramping returned and I knew that I would just have to grit and bear it, put my head down, and push towards the finish. If I had a couple Advil and e-caps I think I could have improved my time by 20 minutes but was thrilled to finish in just over 6 hours under these conditions. As a comparison, Vince Rucci, the race winner ran a 5:23, so 6 hours is not a bad time at all. As I sat in the warm shelter eating the delicious vegan chili I was satisfied and tired – as it should be.
I think it’s worth giving honorable mentions to a few runners who’s performances really stood out in my mind. There were undoubtedly many more runners who deserve mention but these were three that stuck out in my mind:
First and foremost is Mark Carroll. On the first 5 mile loop Mark was charging up the hills (something he continued to do ALL race). I questioned why he was working so hard on the uphills and he replied that he had an abdominal strain and couldn’t run the downhills. Mark wasn’t deterred. Instead of taking what the course gave him he imposed his will on the course. In the last three miles he blew by me and secured a top 5 finish. Well done Mark, you earned it!
The second shout out goes to Tracey Ross who had a great race and finished as the 3rd female finisher. In my opinion the day suited the tougher runners who are more suited to 50 and 100 milers. This 50k felt more like 50 miles. Tracey seemed to get stronger as the race went on and looked fresh as she finished the race. I think an ultra star was born at the Run for Regis. If this race is any indication I think Tracey will excel at a 100 miler, whenever she decides to tackle the distance.
The third shout out goes to someone I admittedly don’t know well at all. I ran a few early miles with a young guy named Sam who left an impression on me. I asked him what distance he was running and he replied that he was running the 50k and that it was his first ultra. I kidded with him that he picked a heck of a race to chose for his first ultra, as the Run for Regis is known for it’s poor weather conditions. I asked how many marathons he had run and he replied that he had never run a marathon, in fact he had only run one ½ marathon. I wished him good luck and complimented him on his guts, thinking to myself that he might not be able to finish this race but he’s got some balls and he deserves some credit for the effort. As I was heading home towards the Ledges Shelter, covering my final mile I crossed paths with Sam again as he was heading out on his final 5 mile loop. He was going to finish this darn thing! Incredible… What an effort from a young guy who undoubtedly has a future in this great sport as well.
I have to close with a huge THANK YOU to Tanya Cady and all the volunteers who came out to support the runners. I can’t say enough about Tanya the job she does to support the runners both at the Run for Regis and throughout the year. She is one of a kind. The number of people that came out to spend the entire day in the bitter cold to volunteer says a lot about Tanya, and means a lot to the runners. I feel blessed to be a part of such a great community.