What a crazy day!
I got to Medoc Mountain State Park a little early (6:30 am) and was surprised to find the gates were already open! The rangers at Medoc are really awesome. Super nice and they always do MORE then they say! They had promised to open the gate at 7 am! (Note to self: I've got to make sure they get recognized for how good of a job they always seem to do!).
Runners started pulling soon after I arrived and it was great to see these friends again. All in all about 42 runners turned out. I had about 25 t-shirts made up for any who wanted one ($10) and most were spoken for prior to the run. All were gone before 7 am. Next year I probably need to get more.
Aiden Kelly (Cam's beautiful daughter) was the official race starter and gave the traditional "Ready, Set, GO!) to start the run as promised about 7:20 am. At the same time the conch shell was blown to ward off “Medoc” (as he does NOT like the sound of a blowing conch shell . . . at all!)
The humidity was incredible! It had rained hard the afternoon before, so the air was LOADED with water! Just standing around I was soaked! A perfect August morning for a long run!
When the runners began passing "race central" after 3 1/2 miles, it looked like they had been out there for hours. Everyone was totally drenched! But smiling! At about 8:30 the sun came out and the temperatures started to quickly climb. By the time folks were finishing Lap 1 it was turning out to be a VERY hard day . . . even for late August in eastern North Carolina! Most folks came out planning to run "only" one or two laps (~8.7 miles per lap!) But quite a few who had planned on more decided maybe a lap or two was plenty!
Actually, quite a few of the runners opted to add additional "bonus" miles to their laps by intentionally missing turns and going on interesting, unplanned side excursions.
Also, "Medoc" assaulted several of our runners this year. Seems in the morning he must have been hanging out near a bridge on the first loop as he would run out and throw runners to the ground. Michael Forrester, the primary race director for the Medoc Trail Races in October, was the first victim. Michael says he was viciously thrown to ground as he crossed one of the bridges. Luckily, Michael was not harmed by the monster! Others were also attacked and thrown to the ground including MTCs Mark Long. Later in the day, Medoc moved to the eastern side of the creek where he continued his antics.
By 1 pm the field had narrowed to probably only 6 runners going for the full 34 miles (plus the “bonus miles" all six had chosen to add!!).
But finally at about 1:30 pm the runners caught a break! We started hearing thunder and soon the heavens opened up and it “rained cats and dogs.” Not so great for the hundreds of volunteers and spectators (okay there were 5 of us!) but a welcome relief for the runners. Dave Solomon told me that during the morning, his feet were totally soaked and squishing from the sweat. And during the afternoon the squishing continued due to the rain.
Cam had brought popsicles for the runners . . . quite the welcome treat in the hot, humid morning, but one runner quipped in the afternoon it got too cold for popsicles! Who would have believed??
After about 6 hours and 54 minutes of fun, Fred Dummar became our first finisher in the middle of a torrential downpour to a lively rendition of “Winner at a Losing Game” on the conch shell by the Medoc Meltdown band. But no finish line pictures in the downpour. We did get the picture above after “Doom” got his shower!
Following “Doom” was the EEP group (Extra Excursion Pack ) . . . who had each taken several fun side trips during the day, adding those wonderful “bonus” miles to a 34 mile run. The EEP consisted of Tony Rouse, Steven Lily, Jim Plant, Tom Herbst and Dave Solomon. This group enjoyed the rain so much they refused to come in until all rain stopped! Pictures of the motley crew follow:
Congrads to all! Lot's more pictures here: