Anstr Davidson expressed it best on the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC) website (http://www.vhtrc.org/):
"On August 11, mid-Atlantic ultrarunners continued their love-hate relationship with the Catoctin 50km Trail Run. It was another great event on the beautiful but rocky Catoctin Trail. Jim Cavanaugh's story was similar to many. He admonished himself in his running log last year, "Don't do this race again." He was there. How quickly we forget! To add to the joy of the rocks, the humidity was about 4000 percent. The cooling rain, the camaraderie, and the post event refreshments made it all worth it."
105 runners gathered in Frederick, MD for the 7th running of the Catoctin 50k. After the typical yada, yada, yawn pre race briefing the runners left the Gambrill High Knob area at 8:00 AM and made their way to the Catoctin Trail head. The first to reach the blue trail, even after missing one of the first turns on the course, was James Varner and then "Harpers Ferry" Harry Bruell. Varner and Bruell traded places a few times before reaching the first aid station at Hamburg Rd. Bruell was the first in and out of Hamburg and then first out of Delauter Rd., the second aid station.
Shortly after Delauter Rd. Greg "Loomdog" Loomis caught Bruell. Bruell, unable to keep up with Loomis, was forced to drop back. Loomis negotiated the stream crossing just before the turn around point at the Manor area but missed the ribbons to the aid station and continued up Bob's Hill. Catoctin is known for throwing runners off course and the Loomis found this out first hand. After a 20 minute detour Loomis was spotted at the Manor aid station mentioning a hill that no one at the aid station knew anything about.
Meanwhile Bruell took back the lead with Derrick "D" Carr close on his heels. Carr caught Bruell right before Rick's overlook and the two then traded places for the lead until shortly before Delauter Rd. Bruell took over the lead and never saw Carr again entering the last two aid stations in first place. Fearing that Carr and Loomis, both strong runners might catch up with him at any moment, Bruell shifted into four wheel over drive and attacked the course with reckless abandon. Not knowing that he had a substantial lead he charged the very hills (that later would reduce other runners to tears) with a purpose. He crossed the finish line with a smile on his face and a strong desire to sit down and contemplate his first ultra win.
In the woman's race it was Sue Johnston of Vermont who was victorious after running a very smart and patient race. Running a conservative pace on the outbound leg Johnston increased her position in the overall standings as she picked her way through field. The only obstacle slowing her down on the return trip was yielding the trail to a Timber rattlesnake.
The finish line is often interesting and informative. Some of my favorite comments where... "Hey, did you see that rattlesnake?"; "I must be an alien abductee 'cause I just spent an hour and a half longer on this course than I ever have before and I'm not sure where I've been."; "I didn't know I could puke in such vivid colors"; "So, how many miles did you run today?" ...aaahhh the Catoctin...
This years very unofficial and realitively unknown "who got beat up the most but still smiling" award goes to Sue Baehre. Sue had blood dripping from every limb of her body and could have been the pin up girl for Band-Aid if she tried to cover all her scratches, cuts and bruises. In spite of her conditions she was more than willing to pose for pictures.
The traditional post race BBQ was once again a success. Thirst and appetites were big and second to the size of each story told with each passing plate of food.
On a day that saw the finishing times off by as much as 90 minutes and only 27% of the field breaking 7 hours it was a true statement of persistence to all the dedicated ultrarunners who participated. The 2001 edition will go down in the Catoctin record book as the slowest and most difficult. Everyone has undisputed bragging rights according to the unabridged version of "Ultrarunning Lore, Legend, Rules, Regulations & Other Mistakes… fact or fiction (probably fiction)" reference manual.
Next year we'll be meeting at the same place (Gambrill State Park) at the same time (8:00) on Saturday August 10. Applications will be available on line on June 1, 2002.
|11||John F.||Price Jr.||6:19:36||30||Alexandria||VA|
|87||Dionisio||deLeon III||8:51:25||50||Lake Ridge||VA|