Psycho Psummer 50K Wyandotte County Lake Park Kansas City, Kansas July 5, 2008 Race Director's Race Report
Many ultra-newbies set their sights on Kansas to run a flat, fast “first 50K.” They enter our little race under the assumption that our race will deliver such. What they get is a challenging course with exceptional aid station help, who all have massive “ultra-cred.” Many of the runners, when they realize they’ve bitten off more than they can chew “go with the flow” and settle in to “just having fun” and “enjoying the ride.” Others take the challenging course head-on with a vengeance. Some do better than others in the attempt, but the course tends to be much kinder to those who have both trail and ultra race experience.
This year’s two-loop course was slightly different, and had another 600 feet of elevation change added. We figured that the 2007 Psycho Psummer course just wasn’t tough enough, so we had to eliminate a slightly flat section and add yet another hill. And it’s a beautiful hill, with a lush, jungle-like demeanor. People leaving Kyle and Stacy Amos’ aid station (with an Indiana Jones theme) tended to love this section. Our other staffed aid station out on the course was manned by Pat Perry, who had just completed the Bighorn 100 with Kyle Amos. He had set-up a portable shower set up to cool-off runners, and had some other wondrous goodies in his bag of tricks to encourage a fabulous finish from every passing runner.
The men’s race had some decent competition. Tony “Semper Fast” Clark, just back from also running the Bighorn 100 two weeks prior, ran with Gregg Buehler for a while on the first loop. Tony ran at a smart and consistently strong pace to finish first in 4:33, a course record (for this new course). Randy Myers slipped by Gregg and hammered-in to finish second, with Buehler finishing slightly behind in third.
The fun race to watch was in the female division. Ultra veteran Beth Seuferer was running a smart race, trailing ultra-newbie Margaret Drew. Margaret ran the first loop at a breakneck pace. She was worried about another competitor that was nipping at her heels. What she didn’t know was that same competitor was planning to drop at just one loop. So she headed out on the second loop like gangbusters, and had a gastro-intestinal crash landing at Pat’s aid station (where he nursed her back to running health, eventually). Beth and (ultra-newbie) Cheri Fine would end up passing her, but all of them would be passed, as well. Jonette Killmar, one of our local Trail Nerd “Mud Babes,” is a veteran on this course and many other tough ultras. This Mud Babe is strong! She ran as consistent as a human metronome, and clinched a record-setting first place finish. Beth took second ahead of last year’s winning time, also. Cheri Fine had a great “first ultra,” and still looked fresh (albeit slightly muddy) while finishing third.
We love this park, and we love the folks who come to race in it. It’s just way too much fun, showing-off our little piece of Kansas Trail Heaven!
Happy trails, Bad Ben
Somebody always has to complain…
Trail Nerds, Lest you get a big head from another fine race....I thought I'd issue some complaints. 1. I only found two ticks on my person, both of them small and more interested in hitching a ride than feasting on my blood. 2. The aid stations were entirely too well staffed and stocked. Given the number of runners that turned out for a post-holiday run, I was counting on supplies running out. 3. The mud was only shin deep at best. The addition of the fresh horse manure was a nice touch, I'll give you that, but it was not of a sufficient volume to make up for the modest quantity of mud. 4. The temperatures were much too pleasant. I know you can't control the weather, but maybe you should consider rescheduling the event if the forecasted heat index is below triple digits. Sunday, I felt great with a total lack of burning urinary pain. I feel cheated!
Begrudgingly healthy, Mark Stovall Blue Springs, MO
Mark, Your complaints are duly noted. 1. You can blame Tony Clark (1st Place finisher in the 50K) for the lack of ticks, AKA "Arachnid Americans." Tony picked-up a lot of hitch-hikers, (being one of the first runners to fly through the course). A couple of them were big enough that they bullied me into giving them finisher's medals! 2. We tried our best to run out of fruit, food, water, ice, and electrolytes at our over-stocked and well-staffed aid stations. Our volunteers were shoving all kinds of crap into the runners' mouths in a valid effort, (but vain attempt, nonetheless). Our solution: Next year there will be a "mouth size requirement" for any runners entered in the 50K event. 3. Lack of mud was a problem. Next year, we're going to stage a long-distance horse event on the same day, and have the Chinese Army help with cloud-seeding operations prior to the race. Six inches of rain just wasn't enough, this year. 4. If the temps aren't high enough for next year, we have an action plan. We'll initiate our "Harrison Bergeron Handicapper Standard." Any athlete that is not wearing a thick winter parka will be considered to be under–handicapped, and should be regarded as "extremely dangerous," and will be disqualified immediately.
Happy trails, Bad Ben Holmes Race Director
James Barker, course volunteer extraordinaire adds: “What exactly are you doing on the trails to anticipate suffering from a “burning urinary pain”? And, more importantly, who are you doing it with?”
The Trail Nerds' had an interesting "media day" yesterday. I took a day of vacation from work.
First on the daily agenda - Kyle Amos and I were on the 10-11 a.m. Walt Bodine Show, on the local NPR affilliate, KCUR FM. Kyle had been down at Lake of the Ozarks on a family vacation, and drove-up just for the show. The show was a lot of fun...just a quiet one-hour conversation about trail and ultrarunning.
Gina Kaufman, Walt Bodine's co-host, filled-in for the absent Walt. She's very good at what she does, and picks-up on key words and subject matter quickly.
Right after the show, Carolyn from The Pitch called me. She met and interviewed me for quite a while. She's run with the Nerds a couple of times, and might do a profile/story on a couple of the Nerds. By the way, we were voted Running Group of the Year last year by The Pitch's readers.
(So far, the New York Times hasn't called to do an in-depth story on the Nerds).
By the way...the News Director (and award-winning reporter) Frank Morris, originally clued the Walt Bodine Show's producer to do a show about the Trail Nerds. Frank has participated in our events before, and seems to like our quirky ways. But then again, who wouldn't? I'm quite the news-hound and researcher myself, and found out that 15 years ago or so, Frank was quite the local Grunge-era Rocker, in a band called "Guard Rails" or (something similar). Yeah, he's quirky and cool enough to be a true Trail Nerd!
After all of that, I still ended up going in to work for a little while to solve a problem (on my vacation day-off, no less). I then gathered up our new event shirts and supplies, and headed up to WyCo Park to do some trail maintenance and marking for our race, with Shane, Adam, Oscar, and CynicalMudBabe. Afterward, we went to Shane's house and his wife Brandy had prepared some munchies and beer for us, and we proceeded to get our race packet stuffing completed. The lights went out quite a few times, due to a major thunderstorm.
After all was complete, I went by my son's Starbucks to talk to him around closing time. He had sent me a photo of a funnel cloud he'd spotted from his store, just a couple of hours prior.
I find ways to enjoy life as much as I can. Also, life's too short to treat people poorly.
I'm into long runs in the park, consuming salt, popping blisters,
eating roadkill & tree bark, and burying whiners in shallow, unmarked
graves. I also enjoy designing trail race courses that would make the
Marquis de Sade blush.
A fun time for me would include banging muddy shoes together, setting
broken bones with a machinist's vise, and duct-taping-down any part of my
body that is bleeding or just flopping-about uselessly.
What helps me to be an active trailrunner and grandpa?
1) Daily sponge baths with bovine stem cells;
2) Copious amounts of delicious & nutritious homebrewed beer; and
3) My secret elixir...Bicarbonate of Figleaf.