2000 Mountain Masochist Trail Run
Campbell and Anderson win for the
You can click on the names highlighted in blue to see a picture.
The 18th annual MMTR 50 miler took place on October 21, 2000. With the Marine Corps Marathon scheduled the next day and the JFK 50 miler scheduled for two weeks after the MMTR, I was concerned that our number of entrants would decrease. I was wrong, we started with 196 in 1999 and 193 in 2000.
Overall, we had perhaps the strongest men's and women's field ever. Courtney Campbell (Berryville, VA) and Clark Zealand (Lynchburg, VA) appeared to be the favorites. There was also strong competition expected from Ian Torrence (Seattle, WA), Dink Taylor (Huntsville, AL), Joe Smindak (Dayton, OH), Tom Possert (Cincinnati, OH), Scott Wolfe (Brevard, NC), and a host of others.
In the women's field Janice Anderson (Kennesaw, GA) was the prohibitive favorite. Local favorite, Rebekah Trittipoe, hoped to give chase. Also expected to do well was Kathy Youngren (Huntsville, AL), Terri Handy (Philadelphia, PA), Colleen Dulin (Alexandria, VA), and Deb Reno (Bellingham, MA).
The weekend started off on Friday night with a massive Italian buffet including 70 large pizzas, 20 lasagnas, 5 BIG tubs of spaghetti, salad, and 4 large sheet cakes ... calories galore, free to runners and $3.00 for everyone else.
There was much discussion about the design of this year’s T-shirt and sweatshirt. In the middle of the shirt, was a large “50+” with the writing, “Horton Miles” in the middle of the plus! Now what do you suppose that means?
We had four major sponsors this year: Patagonia, Montrail, Conquest, and Frank Villa Optometrist. Ian Torrence, the rep for Montrail; Craig Holloway, the rep for Patagonia; and Frank Villa were all running this year’s race. Gary Buffington, the inventor of Conquest, had just completed the Appalachian Trail two weeks earlier, and was not expected to be here. I think this was a very special occurrence in that the sponsors not only supported the race, but also competed in it.
I had predicted earlier this year that Josh Cox’s (recently running a 2:13:55 marathon) course record of 6:57 might be challenged by Courtney Campbell or Clark Zealand. But, a higher temperature than optimal (mid 70's) and lots of slick leaves convinced me prior to race day that a super fast time would not occur.
One of the logistical problems with the MMTR course is transporting runners in three buses from Lynchburg to the start and bringing them back to town after the finish. Some dislike the bus ride, but at least this way you get to run from point to point and not have to repeat sections of the course (with the exception of the first 1.5 miles).
Runners were urged to break 12 hours and receive the finishing award, a silk-screened, silk-weight shirt by Patagonia. Men and women were also vying for the Top 10 and Top 5 respectively to win an embroidered golf shirt. One award that no one particularly wanted to win was the Best Blood Award; for the best blood achieved by a fall and shown to the race director at the finish line.
Kent Holder (Huntington Beach, CA) came out on Monday of race week. Kent is co-director of the Catalina 100K and has run over 120 ultras. He helped mark the course and was assigned many other duties during race week. Race directors are always in need of experienced volunteers.
Campbell, as usual, jumped to the front of the pack at the start with a pack of 15 runners hot on his heels. By Aid Station 2 (5.7 miles) Zealand had joined Campbell and they ran together through Aid Station 10 (26.9 miles). In the past year, Zealand had been second to Courtney at JFK and Bull Run 50 milers. Was it going to happen again? Smindak stayed hot on their heels and was only 2 minutes behind them at 26.9 miles.
The MMTR race really begins at Aid Station 10 as we consider this the halfway point with the second half much harder. Runners usually double their time at this point to get a close approximation of their finishing time.
Thing's began to change on the big climb up Buck Mountain. Smindak caught up with Campbell and they both pulled away from Zealand and were up 2 minutes on him by Aid Station 11 (29.5 miles). Dink Taylor was only 4 minutes behind the two leaders and Torrence was only 6 minutes behind the two leaders ... the race was on.
By the Loop (33.6 miles) Campbell had forged a 4 minute lead over Smindak and Zealand with Torrence 9 minutes back of the leaders and Taylor 11 minutes behind the leader.
At the end of the Loop (38.6 miles), Campbell had increased his lead to 6 minutes. Torrence passed Smindak after Aid Station 14 (41.5 miles). The order of finish was set with Campbell running strong to the end for his 4th win in a fine time of 7:07:15. Campbell now has 5 of the 10 fastest times ever recorded at the MMTR. Zealand finished in 2nd at 7:15:45 to become the 9th fastest performer ever at the MMTR. Torrence finished 3rd with a time of 7:24:35 with Smindak finishing 4th at 7:27:25. It was 29 more minutes before Taylor crossed the finish line in 5th place at 7:56:14.
Janice Anderson assumed the lead as expected with Youngren and Trittipoe giving chase and Francesca Anderson (Charlottesville, VA) not far behind. It was a real surprise to see Francesca this close to the front as her previous best time at the MMTR was in the 11:30 range. By Aid Station 9 (24.6 miles) Janice had a 14 minute lead over Youngren, with Trittipoe and Francesca another 3 minutes behind. Janice had a 16 minute lead at 26.9 miles with only 2 minutes separating Youngren, Francesca, and Trittipoe.
Francesca pulled ahead of Youngren on the climb up Buck Mountain and maintained second place to Janice for the remainder of the course. Janice cruised in for her 4th victory (8:54:36) in four tries with all four times under 9 hours. Youngren and Trittipoe ran the rest of the race together finishing in a tie for 3rd with a time of 9:28:39. Terri Handy finished less than 4 minutes later. Colleen Dulin finished in 9:59:08 for the 6th place. We have never had more than 3 women under 10 hours in any one year.
When I saw Francesca Anderson around 23 miles, she was more excited about the cut on her knee and the blood that had run down and caked more than she was about her position. Amy Thompson tried to claim best blood with a big blood blister on her heel ... it did look bad, but not bad enough! However, the Best Blood Award went to the first time ultra runner Brant Tolsma (Lynchburg, VA), the track coach at Liberty University. Brant fell before entering the tunnel and had a big gash on his right forearm that probably needed stitches. Brant finished in a great time of 9:55:07 for 42nd place.
Terry McCray (Summerfield, FL) finished for the 10th time, earning him the beautiful 10 year jacket. John Price finished for the 15th time to earn a special embroidered golf shirt. The Mountain Man and Woman Awards went to Clark Zealand and Rebekah Trittipoe. Tom Green finished for the 18th time, the only runner to have run and finished all 18 MMTR’s.
Two other interesting runners of note finished well at the MMTR. Finishing in 14th place (8:49:59) was Pete Palmer (Avon, CT). In 1991, I set the speed record on the Appalachian Trail (2,167 miles), finishing in 52 days and 9 hours. In 1999, Pete completed the trail and set the new record of 48 days and 20 hours. Finishing in 15th place (8:50:22) was Ed Kostak (New Hartford, CT). In 1999, I set the speed record on the Long Trail (271 miles) finishing in 4 days and 22 hours. In 2000, Ed finished the Long Trail in 4 days and 15 hours setting a new record. I really do love you guys ?!?
Mike Sandlin (Lynchburg, VA) with a time of 8:16:00 and Deb Reno at 10:06:54 won the Master's Division. Richard Schick (Marietta, GA) finished at 9:25:14 to win the Grand Masters and Kent Holder won the Super Masters with a time of 9:55:26.
Brian McNeil (Frederick, MD) finished just over the 12 hour time limit in 1999. He felt there should be a special award for the last official finisher (sub 12 hr.) He came up with the “More Guts Than Brains” award; a trophy mounted with the south end of a horse, just getting “you know what” into the barn. The winner was “smiley face” Jean Heishman (Fort Valley, VA) with a time of 11:58:23. Incidentally, Brian did break 12 hours this year finishing in 11:41:58.
Alex Morton (Mt. Pleasant, SC) finished the 1999 MMTR in 12:00:06, just missing the sub 12 hour award last year. But, this year he came back and finished in 11:45:07. I love to see people come back and succeed after falling short.
Anne Huntzicker (Beaverton, OR) was trying for her 9th finish, but fell short. Salli O'Donnell (Atlanta, GA) finished the MMTR for the 8th time with a time of 11:18:41. These two have a shot of being the first females to win the 10-year jacket in 2002.
What does 2001 and future years hold for the MMTR? Will Campbell win his 5th MMTR and break the 6:57 course record? Will Janice come back and win for the 5th time and break her course record?
Patagonia and Montrail furnished $2,500-$3,000 dollars worth of gear for the drawings on Saturday night. They have both indicated they will continue to work with the MMTR.
In 2001, the Holiday Lake 50K will be held on February 17th. We are also starting a tough new 50K called the “Promise Land 50K” on April 28th. The 2001 MMTR will be held on October 20th. Theses three races will be called the Lynchburg Ultra Series (L.U.S.). Runners who complete all three races will be eligible for special awards to be given out at the 2001 MMTR.
See You At The Races!!!!!