|Steve and Marsha again my thanks go out for another job well done. I
another good time this year. I enjoy the water and mud you have to offer in MS. Although you missed on the horses this year the holes and ruts they left last year were another obstacle to reckon with. Running with Eric and DeWayne was a good time even if I was the only one without a Doctorate.
Thanks Eric and DeWayne for the pace setting and the conversation, you 2 are in another league. I would like to thank my Ranger Buddy John Sheaffer for joining me on this trip and running an outstanding 3rd in the 50k, it was his first run in 10 days coming off an Achilles injury during training. Running Bear, your the man and thanks for your loyal support. I am looking forward to next year and maybe a dry course so I can take a shot at a sub 4 hr. Have a good one.
4/28/04 Note: In April 2004 Matt Wilson and John Sheaffer finished second in the Best Ranger Competition 2004, finishing with 743 points, 9 points behind the #1 team.
"When we run, we have fun!” Water is my friend, from one end of the loop to the other, the mud and muck had no end!! What a great time, plenty of friendly volunteers, sunshine, smiles and aid station snacks. The chicken dinner at the post race festivities was delicious. Another successful race this year.
The weather cooperated the week of the race, with no
appreciable rain all week. Until race day, that is. From 1:30 to 3:30 am
on race day it poured. This resulted in a course condition in which, as
one runner described it "the mud was not as bad as last year, but
the creeks were deeper" (waist deep on short folks). 139 entrants
finished, but nine 50 milers switched down to the 50K, and several 50k
folks dropped to 20K. The temperature was in the high 50's at the start,
and stayed comfortable for several hours, then rapidly climbed to near
Eric Grossman was first seed in the 50 miler.
Eric has won several ultras, and placed third in the JFK 50 Miler last
November. Eric, DeWayne Satterfield, and Matt Wilson (who was running
the 50K) ran together the first several laps, but then Eric started to
widen his lead on DeWayne, and won the 50 miler in 6:39, while Matt
turned off to the short loop and won the 50K in 4:05. DeWayne was second
in the 50M with a time of 7:30, and Greg Gearhart from Jackson MS was
third in 7:37.
Only 4 women ran the 50 miler this year, with Sally
Brookings from Atlanta winning in 8:57, Kriesten Schnacke from Tennessee
finishing second in 9:02, and Barb Dutrow from Louisiana third in 9:29.
Raz Estridge from Laurel completed her first ever 50 miler, and was 4th
in 12:14. (The MS 50 is a great race for beginners and persons stepping
up to a longer distance, as it is a loop course, it's flat, and there
are aid stations every 2-4 miles. In addition, you can opt down to a
shorter distance during the race! 51 of the 150 runners were running
their distance for the first time.)
In the 50K, Matt bettered his time from last
year by 10 minutes, finishing in 4:05. John Cobbs from AL was second
with a time of 4:12, and John Sheaffer from GA was third in 4:42. The
masters women really showed their stuff, as Laura Taylor (1st in 5:20),
Iva Lightsey (2nd in 5:55), and Brenda Bland (3rd in 6:43) were all in
In the 20K, last year's runner-up, Alan
Gerstle, a track coach from LA, came back this year and won handily,
beating Chris Barber from NV and Todd Miller from MN to the line by over
4 minutes with a time of 1:27. Christie Barber from MS won for the women
with a time of 1:59, with LeAnn Myers of LA and Stephanie Pepper from TN
taking second and third.
Trophies were awarded to the top 3 males and
females in each event, and finisher mementos of medals and Tyvek jackets
were awarded to each finisher. The 50 milers also got a handsome belt
buckle. A full course chicken dinner was cooked on-site this year, so
everyone had a hot meal to help everyone recover from his or her
See the Mississippi Trail 50 web site at www.ms50.com for complete coverage of the race, and news on next year's event.
The ole Troubadour Rich Limacher adds...
Here's a thought you never think at the start of an ultra: Hmmm, I wonder if this thing's gonna be called on account o' rain.
Impossible, right? As we all know, these ultras go on (just like the mail) whether there's rain or shine or snow or hail or sleet or dark of night or heat of day or anything just short of the Apocalypse--except for this one. Here already this race has been shut down twice!
Yep, the Memorial Carl Touchstone Mississlippery Monsoon 50-Miler has in fact been "called" on account of rain. It didn't happen this time, thankfully, but I was there both times before when the cataclysm hit. Trumpets sounded, the heavens parted, and it just poured.
Both times I was running through the very same water and mud as this time, but in those years it was worse. In 1998 the infamous DeSoto National "Creek Don't Rise" Creek actually did rise to the level of my neck, and so most of us a couple of times had to swim across. Also in '01 we did a little swimming. Both times the good forest rangers decided that death could come to our shorter runners, so they forced the R.D. to stop the race--but always before I could start my last loop.
Carl himself gave me the bad news that first year. He apologized profusely, called me later on the telephone, and allowed me to finish the 50K instead. (There's two loops in this forest. The shorter race utilizes the dryer path---which is still a joke because there jus' ain't no "dry" path ever!) Sadly, though, Carl passed away before the deluge came the second time. And I could swear that in 2001, those were Carl's tears which flooded that creek. Or, perhaps they were mine.
But this year, hey wow. The skies brightened up and good ol' Sol popped out. I looked later at my pale Yankee nauga's hide and saw sunburn! Of course, that still didn't make any difference. It must've rained in Carl's town for at least ten minutes prior to race day, because those trails were soaked and the mud was over our shoes. This, I would like to state for the record, is how Mississippi is supposed to be. We wouldn't have it any other way!
Did you know we all took a vote? Yessir! Last year Steve DeReamer and the rest of his hothouse gang asked us all to vote via e-mail whether we'd like to move the race to the fall sometime, and the overwhelming majority hollered, "Hail no!" Hey, this is about the only ultra I've got that's held on my birthday, and also, for sure, the only shot I've got for a race I'm in to be "called on account of rain."
Think about that this year whenever you're hurting so bad you can't even stand to look at your shoes. Then come to Carl's race next March. Who knows? Those better angels of Mother Nature could rain down and stop your pain!
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