This was my first 50K and I just wanted to say thanks for the great experience. Aside from my own stupidity in running a strong New Orleans marathon the week before the 50K, everything about the run was fantastic. The encouragement along the trail was probably the best part. I was ready to quit after the second lap around the 12.5 loop, but coming through the start area, everyone was so encouraging that I forced myself to keep going and actually finish. My fellow runners were also encouraging and friendly. One angel-in-disguise gave me his duct tape after I discovered a massive blister and could hardly even hobble. I noticed that I was one of the youngest 50K finishers, so I have hope that when I get over 30, maybe I’ll have more endurance too!
All to say, great experience and I’m already looking at ultras in the Nebraska area and wherever else the USAF decides to send me (although my legs do insist on no long runs for a few weeks now). Thanks again.
As usual, the race director, staff, and volunteers deserve high praise for another great race this year. I know the logistics of providing so much aid and so many fluids are difficult at this location. I know ya'll covered every mile of this race for trail maintenance, flagging, painting, marking, and finally clean up. Great job. The camaraderie between all the runners was evident as well.
I enjoyed the race, and even got to run ~2.5 extra "bonus" miles after one missed turn on the first lap. (I am still trying to figure out how I and several others missed that!) You were nice enough even not to charge me extra $ for the added distance ;) The trail was wetter than we've run it before, but I heard reports of much worse in distant year's past.
We love this race, our 3rd, and brought 3 extra this year. We hope to continue our annual trip and bring more. Maybe one day your permit will allow a greater number of entrants.
My wife and I came down for the run this weekend. I did my first 50 miler, and she her first 50k. It was a very fun weekend. My thanks to the RD and all of the volunteers. The aid station folks couldn't have been nicer, and everything was well organized. Enjoyed the Friday pasta dinner as well. I know the effort it takes to put on an event like this. Big thank yous to all of you.
Hi Dennis and Organizers!
Kathleen and I wanted to write and express our gratitude to you for all of your hard work and effort putting on a great race. This was such a wonderful experience for us, and we are going to brag to everyone we know about you guys and Mississippi and the course and everything else! So, a big huge thank you from the Iowans.
We also enjoyed making some friends during the race. If you don't mind, could you either forward this message to the following and request their email address be sent to me, or send them directly? We wish to thank Beth and Jerry for their company and encouragement, and we wish to make a donation to the cause Russ ran for.
Jonathan & Kathleen Wendel
Just want to thank you guys for an outstanding race. This was my first 50 miler and it was certainly a great race to start with. The volunteers were fantastic at every aid station. I wanted to give one brief example that really made a difference. At aid station #2 on the final loop I was doing my best to run strong and click the miles away. I was obviously extremely tired. One of the volunteers (I believe this was the gentleman that used to be the race director prior to Dennis) said “you’re doing great, Jay, keep it up.” Clearly he had looked my name up with my bib number as I was approaching the aid station. It was a small gesture to call me by name, but after around 45 miles, every gesture is appreciated.
Again, thanks for your efforts.
/s/ Jay Perry
Race Director’s Report
Many thanks to all who participated in the 12th running of the Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi Trail 50. This year we managed to avoid any hunting season. Deer season ended on Friday and next Saturday Turkey season opens with a youth day. While many of us runners are also hunters it is still nice to know no one is out shooting while we run. It was a nice day though a little hot for the longer distances. The weather should have been about the best that can be hoped for in Mississippi in March.
Reports of the course being a little wet were grossly exaggerated by the standards of this course. Those who have been to our little run for the past 3 years will not appreciate past years when the first hard right at about one mile meant you were wet from the knees down for the rest of the day. One of my last days to participate before becoming RD I remember Dr. Pendergrass completely disappeared trying to cross a creek by jumping from one log to another unsuccessfully. Randy Saxon helped him out of the water. I saved his hat.
From the standpoint of the RD the whole affair went off smother than days past. It looked like we were having problems manning the aid stations for a time. Wanda Touchstone for one was suffering from the flu and missed helping out for the first time as far as I know. We all look forward to her presence next year. Wyck Neely, our regular time keeper coaches high school track and was required to be away for his runners. And Steve Burgess who is always reliable gave plenty of notice that he would not be present due to a conflict. Once the e-mail requesting volunteers went out we had more than enough help. Some but not all who helped are listed below. Some names I do not recall as there was a lot going on but all were very nice and kind to offer their assistance.
Friday morning race site and aid station setup-Jeff Troyka, Randy Saxon, Renee Bisnette.
Meeting and meal Randy Saxon, Sandy Saxon, My family (Renee Bisnette, Katie Bisnette, Katelyn Duffy, and Taylor Duffy) Elmer (Running Bear) & Ann Beardshall, Marty Spellicy, and Frank Barrett.
Saturday Morning: Aid Station 1 David Dill, Kathy Dill who also helped out at Aid 3, Sandy Saxon, Christen Saxon.
Aid Station 2 Steve DeReamer, our past RD, and Frank Barrett.
Aid Station 3 Greg Lea (20Ker Crissie Lea’s Husband) and Stan Ladd (50Ker Lori’ Ladd’s Husband). Their wives are runners but they have other hobbies. Did a great job with no experience. We hope to add them to our regulars.
Aid Start - Finish My family (Renee Bisnette, Katie Bisnette, Katelyn Duffy, her friend and Taylor Duffy),
Small Loop Aid Station Jeff Troyka
Timing table Marty Spellicy came over from Birmingham to help, Bobby Ray Davis, Jennie Chow (very fast runner, wanted to run but was injured), Elmer, Ann.
Passing out the Shamrock jackets: Running Bear.
Food runs John and Dorothy Bisnette.
Other race day Volunteers:
Don Ayers, Greg Gearheart’s wife, Becky Lister, Jeff Seabold’s father and many others who offered if needed.
Bill McMullan for the tables every year.
Randy and Charles, who ran the course with me many times putting out flagging tape and picking up debris and trash, Jeff Troyka who puts up the mileage markers, helps flag the course and puts up signs. Michael Yarbrough, and Chad Caraway who picked up debris and trash while training for their first 50 miler. Both finished with respectable times. One had not completed more than a 20K. We hope to see more of them.
Always there is due special thanks to Running Bear who is invaluable to this and other running and cycling clubs in the area for his dedication and computer skills. He keeps the web site up and going. I could not do it without him.
Finally thanks to my wife and family who puts up with a house full of shirt boxes, bags, and gels for a week or more each year. Thanks for the days of bleaching out water jugs and coolers, for the nights I don’t sleep and my generally bad disposition for many days leading up to the race.
It all goes off more easily each year that we run this event but only because of the volunteers in general and particularly the ones who keep doing the same things each year to assure a good day for some 200 runners.
The course measured out to 49.79 on one GPS and 50.24 on another. We rolled it with a wheel some years back and knew it was accurate.
Dennis and Running Bear,
just wanted to say thanks for a great race. This was my first attempt at
any distance over 26.2 and I definitely picked the right event. The
course was awesome and the volunteers and other participants were even
better!! As you know from the bright green shirts, I had a big cheering
section with me and they had a great time watching and cheering on all
of the competitors. I was running this race not only to see if I could
finish a 50 miler but I was also trying to raise money to set up two
college funds for Mallory(9) and Madelyn(7) Byrne who lost there mother,
Melanie, to cancer on Dec. 23, 2007. I had people sponsor me so much per
mile conditioned on me finishing the entire 50 miles and I am happy to
report that we raised (at last count) $28,000.00. The special part for
me was not only were my 2 daughters there to cheer me on but Mallory,
Madelyn, their father Mark, and Melanie's parents were also there as
part of "Rosco's crew". Just so you know, I will be back to run it again
and this race will always hold a special place in our hearts. Again,
thanks for putting on a great event.
Thanks, Russ "Rosco" Copeland
I just want to thank you for a great experience.
This was my first 50 miler, and I totally enjoy the whole experience.
If I could I'd like to ask you for a favor.
After the race I was talking to Nathan Echols, I was wondering if you could pass along his email, he is a fellow NJerseyan and like me, he'll be doing the VT100, and I'd like to contact him to maybe do some training together. If possible I'd appreciate it very much.
I hope to see you next year, keep up the good work, keep the purity of running alive !
Again thanks for everything,
Hi. I just wanted to let you and Dennis know what
a wonderful time that my wife and I had at the run. What a great
event!! My only regret is that my law partner had to cancel due to a
death in his family. But we all can't wait until next year! Thanks
again. Please forward this to Dennis.
I am a damn Yankee, so of course my take on this course has always been "slightly different." But I don't think quite as different as our inestimable Running Bear's running commentary usually is (see all the photo captions, for example) on such issues as hallucinating over stuff that isn't there--like horse-drawn wagons, for example.
Well, I was there and I seen 'em! Lotta horses! Strange wagons! Lotta poop!! So, yeah, I guess because I done seen what "wasn't there," that must be my different perspective.
Or, take that goofy race clock. (Please!) On one side (the business side) it kept perfect time. On the other side (what all the waiters and cheerers and volunteers see) it was totally whacky. There were times shown on there like: "9:77:06" or "0:98:12" and such. I know! I seen 'em!! So that's why I tried to explain to the goodly Dr. Bear about how--on this planet at least--there's only 60 minutes to the hour, and so it simply is not possible to have a clock read 9 hours, 77 minutes, and 6 seconds. And yet, our grand chronologist claimed he did not see this. He thought that I must be crazy! Or, maybe just a damn Yankee.
"We don't see anything wrong," all the finish line volunteers suddenly agreed. "Do YOU?"
[All right, I'll give 'em the fact that the clock was not mechanically perfect and on one side did not always display ALL the little yellow-green day-glow number parts. For instance, in that "9:77:06" the left side and bottom of the first minute digit didn't display, so it was really: "9:07:06." And in my second example, that "9" was really a "4." You get the idea. Or, if you're a True Southerner, you pay it no mind. "That's just how life is here in the South, Rich." :-]
I love the South! Why do y'all think I show up every year? 'Cuz it's WARMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!
I can well put up with a few optical illusions and Elmer's (Running Bear) wry humor. Wouldn't miss it for the world.
But the clever among you might also well ask, "Hey, you were signed up for the 50M and you're usually slow as Mississippi molasses. So what in tar-nation were YOU standin' at the start/finish gawkin' at 9 hours on the clock for?"
Right. Normally that thing reads "21:98:77" (or some such) when I cross the line. But this time? 'Twas not to be. I somehow survived RR100 one month previous (where that clock said "29:59:59" or something :( and I guess I was still mildly disturbed from that little Rocky Horror Picture Show. BUT!!! Carl Touchstone in his genius had set up the famous "bail out" option from the very beginning, and so this year I finally took it. I've now completed a whole entire 50K (chickening out from 50M) where the clock suddenly said "9:77:06," making this my all-time PW (personal worst) 50K ever! Even the clock was messing with my mind!
OK, so I can't run anymore worth a decent clump of breakfast grits, but there is yet one function that ancient damn Yanks like me can still serve: that of historian.
Y'all should take it upon yerseffs to click through this amazing website concocted by Running ("what illusion"?) Bear. Scroll down thru the history and dig all the news clippings and pictures and other strange and unusual fax. You'll see that this whole thing started with a bong hit way back in 1979. (Just kidding about the bong.) Well, I too was a "flower child" then and really should have showed up in Leland that following March when the very first race took off--SIX entire entrants running around a 1+ mile loop. Wow. In the pouring Mississippi rain (!) no less--which didn't bother them much then on pavement, but--wowie wow!--has it ever come to plague us on these muddy Mississippi trails now, eh?
Anyway, I'd like to point out some very young attendees at those early Leland races: Ray Jones, who I later actually worked for, and Helen Klein, who later everybody either worked for, got autographs from, or else ran behind in her California races, yes? Also there were now-famous folks in attendance like Ray the K (Krolewicz); someone named Cantrell; Lou Peyton (of AT100 fame); a practically-still-a-child Dink Taylor; a doc who invented Conquest; Mort Krakow (practically my Yankee neighbor!); Wyck Neeley (who's now in charge of your CLOCK! :); and of course Carl Touchstone. Wow! A veritable Who's Who of ultrarunning greats!!!
And now, dig this: Those "old" folks ran 50 miles... in roughly around SEVEN-something HOURS!!!!!!!!
In fact, that very first MS50 in Leland had THE FASTEST average finishing time of ANY 50-miler EVER! And probably ever since!
So, yeah, had I quit smoking back then and actually "come on down" to participate in that first race, I'da been laughed off the track. Which, come to think of it, was just about exactly happened this past Saturday, March 1st.
One last word about Carl Touchstone. HE, my friends, is the REAL REASON why all this Mississippi ultra stuff yet endures. All those folks way back then were his pals, and yet somehow years and years later: he made me his pal. He used to fly his (yes) airplane up North to Yankeeville (Wisc.) so he himself could run about the oldest race that we still have: the Ice Age 50. Many a time Carl and I shook hands at that starting line. It was he who told me what to expect at the then Klein's major California race: the Western States 100. And it was Carl who one time I was actually able to catch up with at Ice Age, mostly because he was hurting.
He asked me, "Do y'all have a PowerBar, Rich?"
I just so happened to have a miniature one (which they used to make for Expos and such) in my Western States "Dream 100" waistpack, so I gladly gave it to him.
After the race (and he of course finished all 50 miles of it) Carl said to me, "Thanks, Rich. Ya saved my life."
Apparently, and sadly, I didn't. Which is now why year after year I keep coming back to run his Memorial Race.
So please, Dennis and alla y'all fine wonderful folks, please keep this going in his honor. OK?
Running Bear's side of the story (otherwise known as ~ "The Truth")
Dennis never lets me write much for the web site, but he made an exception this time since I have been slandered so bad by person or persons I won't name out of courtesy. Actually I just wanted to write this in case my body shows up somewhere all cut up, the DA would have a clue who might have done it. (But come to think of it, Dennis is the DA). Anyway, there I was at the finish line all stressed out. Usually they don't give me anything that requires responsibility at the finish line as my case officer has warned them that there is only a loose connection between Running Bear, some old ex-runner, and reality. But in 2008, I had to pass out the finisher's memento (wind jacket). They come in sizes, so do the runner's, some people later wanted to trade, etc., so you can see it was extremely nerve wracking. And as usual some runners got low on electrolytes or high on ?, and started having illusions. They started seeing horse drawn wagons, had trouble reading the clock, and claiming there were several muddy sections out on the course. One even claimed the wagon he saw had bucket seats and rubber tires! Anyway we of course pulled these people from the race, convinced them they had actually completed their race, and sent them to the finish line aid station to get some refreshments and hopefully recover their senses. So you can understand that when some of them starting having trouble reading the logo on their wind jacket, it was reasonable to assume it was just another illusion. But not me. After only half a dozen finishers had pointed out that they had already been to the aid station, but were still seeing YingSling(sic) Shamrock Marathon on their jackets, and since I was now also seeing it, it might be a problem! Luckily I had only given out 2/3 of the box before I astutely caught it. I immediately handled the problem (dumped it on the RD, Dennis). Dennis is one of these steely eyed lawyer types who never gets rattled, or outwardly mad at you. He doesn't scream or shout, but I could sense that this time he might be building up to a possible explosion. "You did what!?" I figured it was a good time to go to the portalet. On the way back, I stopped by and asked Dennis's wife Rene to go to the finish line with me. I told her that Dennis was furious with me, and explained why. I though maybe she could soothe his anger. I have always gotten along good with Rene (so I thought) but she looked at me kind of steely eyed herself this time. Dennis was yelling something to her as we walked up. When we go to the finish line she walked right up to Dennis and handed him something. I stepped closer to hear her gentle words of calming. And I swear her exact words were "This is the biggest knife we have"! I don't remember much after that, as I was so busy watching my back, especially after it started to get dark. I never even got a chance to tell Dennis my theory that maybe it was a good thing I had passed out the wrong jackets to people who had already left enroute back to 23 different states he was now going to have to ship replacement jackets to. Maybe they wouldn't want to trade jackets? Think how cool it would be to show up for registration at the 3/15 Shamrock Marathon in Norfolk, and already be wearing one of their jackets?
Report submitted to Ultrarunner: Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi 50 Trail Run
Report submitted to Ultrarunner:
Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi 50 Trail Run
The 12th Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 (MS50 for short) was held March 1, 2008 on the Longleaf Horse Trail at the De Soto National Forest. The weather cooperated again, fairly dry, with temperatures in the 50 to mid 70’s. A new record was set in the female division of the 20K. Mandy Conrad had held the record till last year, but came in second in 2007 with Karen Trittschuh from Florida breaking Mandy’s previous record. So this year Mandy Conrad came back on a mission, winning with a new record time of 1:40:06. The first place winner in the 50 Miles, John Brower, was passed by Ramon Bermo only 5 miles from the finish, but recovered and passed him back with a mile to go to take first. His wife Bev also ran the 50 Miles, taking second.
This is a great event to try your first run at a longer distance, and 70 of the 235 entrants were doing just that, running their very first 20K, or 50K, or 50 mile event. This included the top 2 runners in the 50 mile event!
Iva Lightsey of Meridian Mississippi participated in her tenth MS50, and was presented with a special 10 year award trophy after the race. That makes a total of 7 persons who have attended at least 10 of the 12 times the race has been held in Laurel.
Thanks to everyone who came and hope to see you next year.