Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hinson Lake 24-hour Endurance Classic

Hinson Lake 24 is still my favorite race . . . . this year I had even more fun then last year . . . but in very different ways.

Going in I had virtually NO expectations.  I honestly hoped to finish five laps or so,  The day before, as I was setting up, my hip started killing me so I questioned if I would be able to even finish two laps.  Honestly.

But Saturday morning came and my hip felt pretty good.  After 5 laps it did start tightening up and the pain started, but it was on and off.  Really quite strange . . . for maybe 1/2 of a lap I would limp along at less then a stroll.  But then . . . the pain would reduce for a little while!  Then the cycle would repeat, though it if hurt more and more as time went on. I have not idea why the pain would come and go.  Very strange.

But I did manage to limp through a marathon.  My slowest marathon ever!  BY FAR!  But my spirits were high all day and I had a total BLAST!

But there are a number of things that make Hinson Lake special . . . and a few thing that made this year at Hinson special.  Here are some of them . . . in no particulay order.
  • Ultrarunners are, for the most part, just incredible folks to be around.  Warm, friendly, fun-loving and encourging are a few words that come to mind.  To a degree, this is true of all runners . . . but you just have to spend some time at an event like Hinson Lake to see and feel the difference.  Jim Plant said Hinson Lake feels like a family reunion and that is 'spot-on!'  For some strange reason, I just feel very close to a large number of the folks . . . even though I really don't know them all that well nor do I really see them very much.  But the feelings are real.  There is a love out there amoung this group and newcomes are welcomed with open arms.
  • Tom Gabell and his family quitely put together a fabulous event.  Things run smoothly.  Seemingly low stress (from my perspective but I bet Tom has stress that he hides!!).  Volunteers always make races and Hinson has excellent volunteers.  Extremely supportive and understanding!
  • Two spectacular athletic performances this year that I knew about.  First was Mike Morton finishing over 160 miles within the 24 hours.  About three miles short of the North American record I believe.  The second was Andrew Surrette . . . an 8 year old who had not signed up to run but just wanted to.  No training at all.  But some great genes!  Drew finished just over a 50k . . . 21 laps or 31.92 miles!  His mom tells me was 'a little sore the next day!!!   :-) The picture above is Drew running with Naresh Kumar and Joey Anderson.
  • I love to see people break through limits!  PRs are great but they focus on time.  I especially love to see people go further then they have ever gone before.  That first time they finish a 10k or a marathon, etc.  At Hinson Lake we had a ton of folks that busted through their previous longest runs: Amber Shingleton, Jon Shingleton, Brandie Ghiloni, Eric Ghiloni, Margaret Bentley, Arthur Bennett, Alane Floyd, Liz Fuson, Amy Surrette, Drew Surrette, Kayla Surrette, Andy Surrette, John Adamof, Chad Wollenberg, and I'm sure I'm missing or forgetting many others.
  • Having a 1.5 mile loop in a 24-hour event is fantastic.  You just keep telling yourself you can do 'just one more loop' and then another.  All in an enviornment where other runners just 'suck you along' with words of encouragement.  You think you're done . . . but you rest a few minutes and you stary thinking "Another lap is ONLY 1.5 miles . . . I can do THAT!"  And you cam!
The run itself was fairly uneventful.  Race started at 8am.  There had been rain the afternoon before and during the night, but it pretty much ended by race time.  But MAN . . . was the humidity level high!  Temps were comfortable but you almost sweated just standing still. 

I did my usual run / walk for maybe 10 miles.  Then the walking started getting longer and longer.  Around my 12th lap I was running some and the ol' hip just gave way . . . not really 'locking up' but more just not able to support any weight.  Then, a little later, while running again the same thing happened.  So from that point on I just walked.

We were very lucky we had the rain as it made the hill just after the bridge easy to negotiate.  Last year it was like running in the loose dry sand high on a beach.  This year the footing was easy.

Liz Fuson ready for Mt Hinson.

Only cool thing I ran into was the biggest copperhead I've ever seen crossing the trail.  He was probably 3+ feet long and 2 inches wide at his widest.  Beautiful.  I stopped just to make sure no one hurt him . . . and he just crawled off, minding his own business.

Stopping at 18 laps was an easy decision.  Hip was hurting pretty bad.  Plus, everyone from RMEC had bailed when they heard another storm was coming.  So I hung around the shelter for awhile with Joey Anderson and then decided to go take a nap.  I had ever intention doing a few more laps when I woke up, but that was not to be as the hip had other ideas.  So about 2 am I started counting laps.  What a ton of fun!  The madhouse of people from Saturday had dwindled to a small but steady stream of runners all night long.  Saw so many people achieving there goals . . . a bunch of 100 milers, 62 miles, 75 miles, etc.  Saw RayK finish his second 100 miler in as many weeks!  Saw Bill Keene finish another 100!  And saw Mike Morton rock the running world with his 163.9 miles completed in 24 hours.  Not quite a North American record . . . but close . . . the second best all time!

Here a a few pictures: 

Doug 'Boogieman' Dawkins just before the 8 am finish.

Sharon Scott at the start.

RayK finishing his second 100 miles run in as many weeks!  Amazing!

Denise Martin saving another runner!!

Mike Morton maybe 3 minutes after he finished!

  • Tom Gabell, RD, presenting Mike with his award!  Amazing!


  1. Yep, It was a great weekend. always a pleasure to see. I just wish that hip would get better so you could run pain-free again

  2. You are one patient man. One day everything is going to cooperate. I can tell you made the best with the situation and did yourself proud and supported the rest of the group. I have been watching for results and I appreciate you recapping a bit. A few truly amazing performances by those you mentioned. 8 years old with a 50k and 160 miles in 24 hours. Truly amazing.


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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.