Race Report by the Laurel Leader Call

Grossman captures 50 Mile Run

By Don Hill, Sports writer, Laurel Leader Call

Eric Grossman of Louisville, Ky., wasn't at his best, but it was good enough to win the ninth annual Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Saturday in the Desoto National Forest

"I didn't feel good the whole time," said the 35-year-old Grossman. "I've been sick, but it didn't hit me until that last lap."

Other "ultra" runners probably didn't want to see him on his best day, as his first-place finish time of 6:39.21 was almost one hour ahead of second-place finisher DeWayne Satterfield of Huntsville, Ala.

This year's preamble to the race was a good rainstorm in the early hours of the morning, which, running in mud, has been some what of a tradition at the race.

"When I got up at 1:30 this morning," said race director Steve DeReamer, "it was pouring up to about 5 o'clock, then it let up. It dumped a lot of water on the course."

Runners had to cross five different creeks on the Long Leaf Horse Trail in the DeSoto National Forest, which is south of Laurel. The first creek, the West Tiger Creek, had runners crossing the water up to chest high. Later after the rains, the sun came out and treated the runners to Mississippi's high humidity.

"The course had a good variety of terrain," said Grossman, who has been running in 'ultras' for only a year. "It had water, plenty of mud, roots, log roads, creeks and sun. Plus it had more heat than I'm used to."

Satterfield, who has run in every Touchstone 50 mile run, said he is not a good hot weather runner. Temperatures rose to the mid 70s, but the humidity was high after the sun came out on the rain-soaked ground.

"I had to stop and sit down in the creek," said the three-time winner from Huntsville Ala. "I was just sick on the last loop. I just knew my legs were going. I had to do the 'ultra shuffle' and just get one foot in front of the other."

The run also had two other races, 50 kilometer and 20 kilometer runs, and in all, a record number of 151 runners participated, according to DeReamer.

Matt Wilson of Georgia won with the 50k men's race with a time of 4:05.19.

"It was a good run. I was about 10 minutes faster than my time from last year," said Wilson, who is a Sgt. 1st Class with the U.S. Army Rangers out of Ft. Benning, Ga. "This is my second time to run this race. I had a great time. It was muddy, but that adds to the ambiance of it. You don't remember the easy ones."

Laura Clark-Taylor, from Madison Wisconsin, came with her husband, Gene Taylor, who is trying to run an ultra in every state. He has now ran in 27 states. But much to Taylor's surprise, she past her husband and was the women's winner of the 50K with a time of 5:20.55.

In the 20K, Alan Gerstle won the men's division with a 1:27.59, and Christie Barber of Crystal Springs took the women's run with a time of 1:59.52.