Saturday, September 22, 2007

Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K

This morning Bob picked me up at my parent's house in Warren around 6:00 and we headed over to Youngstown for the race. On the way there the sky appeared to be shaping up for a nice sunrise. We arrived at the Old Log Cabin (start/finish area) around 6:30 and started getting everything ready before the early starters began running at 7. Jim also began running the course early to make sure that all course markings were where they should be.

Once they were off, other runners began to arrive and they picked up their bib numbers and goody bags for the official 8:00 start. After all race day entrants signed up we had a total of 62 participants, with 60 starters. Once again we lucked out with the weather... although the low only went down to 63 degrees so we knew that today was going to be warmer than we would like it to be. But, at least there was no rain the forecast. By the middle of the day it would end up being mostly sunny and in the low 80s.

I enjoyed seeing all of the usual local ultra runners and catching up with them. It was also nice to meet a lot of new runners who came from a record number 10 states. The furthest traveler was 65 yr. old James Simpson from California who has run at least 450 marathons. After he finished today's race he immediately hopped back in his camper and drove to Illinois where he was planning on running the Quad Cities Marathon tomorrow! However, there were a lot of first time ultra runners participating in our race this year so Bob and I made sure to go over the course map in detail and answer any early questions before the start. About 5-10 minutes before the race start Bob gave the pre-race briefing and then everyone was off...

As I've done the last couple years, I started out running a little fast to make sure that everyone in the front of the pack got off to the right start and onto the right trail. For the first loop I started off running with TJ Hawk.

We talked for awhile until he pulled ahead and then I ran some with Damian Nathaniel from Indiana. I was feeling pretty good for the first loop and ran the first 11.6 miles in 2:06:12. Then, for most of the 2nd loop I ran with Chris Basich, the husband of my sister's friend from college who she used to run CC/track with.

My goal for the day was to try and break my best time on this course (6:19:00). However, once the heat of the day kicked in I realized that I had not eaten or drank enough early on and now my body was starting to fight back. As I neared the covered bridge aid station on the 2nd loop I could tell that my stomach was feeling nauseous and I was starting to feel fatigued. After leaving the covered bridge I told Chris that I felt like puking and that maybe it would make me feel better. So I leaned over and puked for a couple minutes. It was almost like I turned on a faucet. Everything that came out was entirely water and I wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing... probably bad I was guessing. But I continued on and actually felt better for awhile. I continued to rehydrate myself and ate some Clif Shot Bloks for quick calories.

Eventually Chris would pull ahead slightly as we headed back to the Old Log Cabin on the 2nd loop. I was now alone on the trail and had to keep telling myself to continue pushing myself. I knew that if I could just get past the Monkey Trail hills again and reach the Log Cabin then I would be mentally prepared for the last loop. I walked a lot more on the 2nd loop than the 1st and was able to complete the 2nd 11.6 mile loop in about 2 hrs., 45 min., giving me a cumulative time of 4:50:40.

After getting aid at the Log Cabin I was now on my way. After finishing the first 2 loops of this course you always feel better knowing that the last loop is only 8 miles rather than 11.6. Early into the 3rd loop I ran into a guy named Mark Anson from Cleveland...

I could tell that he was hurting about the same as me so we talked for quite awhile and eventually ended up running the entire loop together. We both finished with a time of 6:51:50.

Even though I was unable to beat my best time on the course today, I had a great time running with everyone and was happy that I was able to help Mark acheive his 50K personal best time, which was originally 7 hours. Today the YUT-C course record was also broken by Mike Schuster from Virginia with a time of 4:25:46... wow!

Mike Schuster heading towards the Covered Bridge on his 2nd loop

In conclusion, I was happy to hear everyone comment on how much they liked the course and how well they thought we accomodated each and every runner's needs. Overall, it was another great YUT-C and I am already looking forward to next year's race! Until then, stay tuned for all upcoming NEO Trail events!

Thanks once again to all the volunteers and sponsors who help to make this run possible!

To view complete results and photos visit -

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