2009 Race Reports and Comments

Race Director Dennis Bisnette thanks the MS50 workers:


First and foremost let me thank each of the volunteers who work so hard to put on the Mississippi 50 each year. We have really changed from a smaller race to what I consider a larger race, which we could make much larger if we choose, on the backs of all who willingly endeavor each and every year to make the race better. This year was no exception to our history of outstanding races. All of the comments I heard were positive people indicating they would be back next year with more runners from their area. Only the volunteers know how much work is really required to put on such an outstanding race in so remote a place. Special thanks are needed to those who continue to do the jobs they took on for many years and continue to accomplish in an outstanding and reliable manner. We also hope to have our new volunteers back next year.

From the RD’s perspective it continues to get easier to do my job throughout the year arranging, ordering supplies, obtaining permits and the many other small matters that need to be attended when on race day everyone shows up knowing what needs to be done and willingly accomplishing it. On race day fewer and fewer problems have surfaced over the years. With the exception of the odd horse running amuck, there were no real surprises this year. Or, maybe I am getting more relaxed in my old age.

Thanks again to all volunteers. Thanks to my wife and family who put up with a week or so each year of real disruption to their busy lives to help make this race happen.

I really appreciated Randy, Charles and David who ran with me on our first Volunteer Run the week before the race and managed to drag me through another 50 miler in the rain and cold. We hope the Volunteer Run gets bigger next year. Our goal is to have as many local runners as we can run as Volunteers and then work the race the next weekend. It is a lot to ask of anyone but a great help to have experienced runners tending to their own kind.

I am hearing some rumors of a certain Aid Station competition brewing for next year.

Thanks again to all who played a part,


March 7, 2009 marked my third ms50 finish.  Although I posted my slowest finishing time, this was one of the most enjoyable.  Let me start by stating that I was a little apprehensive this year, my "crew" (my wife and my children) were unable to attend with me, I knew from the previous years that a crew is not really necessary for the ms50, however; I have never run 50 miles without seeing their cheering faces and hearing their encouraging words as I finished/started another loop.  Needless to say, I toed the starting line anyway.  All my apprehension was dispelled from the very beginning, fellow runners were extremely friendly from the start, and I cannot say enough about all the volunteers, in particular the guys at aid station 2 (shame on me for not getting their names) were very upbeat and made me feel that they had a genuine interest in me finishing.  Like I said earlier, I posted my slowest finishing time, and I know that everyone had been out there all day long, but the folks at the finishing line made me feel as good as if I had come in first place.
Thanks to everyone that made the 2009 edition of the ms50 one of the most enjoyable that I have participated in.  God willing, I will be back in 2010.
God Bless,
Robert Cooper


Hi, RB.  I'll give some serious thought to your survey, but I want to
let you know as soon as possible that we loved the race again this year.
 Anyone who got lost this year needs more help than a race director can
give them.

I'm not going to vote for one aid station over another.  Having said
that, I'll tell you this:

I was waiting at the "Mile 7" aid station for the 50-mile runners to
come around for the first time.  I could hear the "Mile 4" aid station
guy hollering from that far away, so I had a pretty could idea when the
leaders would be showing up at Mile 7.  The runners sure appreciate that
kind of enthusiasm.

Warm regards from Wisconsin,

Tim Yanacheck.

This was my first time to run the trail run! I HAD A BLAST! It was very organized, the course was well marked, and the aid stations were AWESOME! (My favorite was the one with ELVIS!!) It was an extremely exciting race, and I am really looking forward to beating my time NEXT YEAR! I was very much impressed with how organized the whole event was.  The out and back was great because I could see just how many people were ahead of me! I loved the fact that the aid stations had a variety of goodies to boost my energy...loved the GUMMIE BEARS! Thanks for such an EXCITING, FUN, CRAZY 12.4 miles!

Stephanie Hathorn
Laurel, MS


Great Race and Great Job! I was going for my 50 Miler PR and realized on my second loop my hydration was causing problems and I was not going to get the PR. I got iwentouttoofastidus LOL. Great race! Great markings great dinner, great great great!!

Rob Powell


I'd like to caterwaul this rah-port:  "Mississlippery Misplaced Monsoons" (but y'all doan hardlee cotton ta no damn short story titles nor term paper tidal pages :-(

Year after year after year I go.  I show up... and start... at least walking y'all's Mississlippery Great Race.  But this year everything was gorgeous.  Ab-sol-glutely sunningly bea-yoo-tee-full!  And the weather looked pretty good, too.

Elsewhere my friend Sue Norwood wrote maybe that I might own a copyright, or something, on her term "Mississlippi"... but no.  I don't own much of anything.  And certainly not even this house dat I'm writin' haul dys in.  Maybe the bank owns it?  Or probbly the coming property auctioneer?  Which (I gotta confess) dys joint really and troubly OUGHTA be put up for sale.  Fire sale?  No, water sale.  This house's a disaster!

Bahcause, doancha see, allah y'all's USUAL MISSISSOUPI MONSOONS this year fell HERE!

Yes, back here in good ole Illy-noise.  Home of the Winfrey and the windfall (but only if you first happen to have paid an ex-governor to play for it).  Yes, the Land of Lincoln, of Cadillac, and of other soon-to-be-obsolete cars.  O yea!  Woe yea!  All the rain in the cosmos came pouring down this first weekend of March and straight into my basement. 

And there's a whole lot of it sitting there still.  Just a minute... I need to go down and check the pump. 

[Right.  Still working.] 

So far, only the primordial ooze yet floats.  No evolved multi-celled creatures have begun swimming there... 

[Where was I?  Oh, Sue!]

My friend Sue wrote:  "I wore them [gaiters] last weekend at the Mississlippi 50k (hope the Troubadour doesn't have that copyrighted)."

Nah. Actually, the Troubadour thinks Dr. Seuss owns that copyright.

But of course there's at least a trillion things I could say about our beloved Mississloppery race, but I won't.  Mostly because I said it already.  [Surf thru this very website, for example. ;-]

But, nah. What I would really rather write about is what Sue wrote about, which is "gaiters."

And, no.  I don't own any.

So, yeah.  That ends my discussion about them right there.

However, I now sullenly do troubly WISH that I did own some (at least one pair, eh?) 'cause then the backs of my heels wouldn't still be hurting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's a lesson (maybe more than one) for any Missus Slippi "newbies":  Take notes.

Such notes might one day prove useful when, say, years and years from now as you approach the estimated age of dirt, you could then refer back to those notes and re-read (before you attempt another trail race on dirt) what years and years prior to then you had already written about why exactly it is that short socks alone don't work when you're running on dirt.

Yo.  The dirt flies up, settles down, enters into the bax of your sox, and from thence-ever-forward:  a) there will be little rocks in your head, as well as your shoes; and b) you will re-experience in your dotage all of this heel misery you first discovered in your youth.

And so now you know, by deductive reasoning, that yours ever troubly never bothered to take notes. 

End of Story.


And now?  Now for some necessary-for-the-scholarly-among-us *foot*notes:

1  Some participants here are mentioning "the Carl Touchstone" like as if it's just some kind of race.  No, it is more than that.  It is named for Dr. Carl Touchstone, a very highly regarded orthodontist in these Laurel environs AND a very respectable ultrarunner himself AND my friend.

2  Dr. Touchstone resurrected these Mississloopy ultras from an earlier incarnation that had been staged at Leland, MS.  If you do only a tad bit of research on this very website, you can easily discover the story.

3  Carl reinstated the Mississloppy ultras inside this jungle called the DeSoto National Forest--which is, actually, not all that close to Laurel at all.  But, hey, it cheerfully always provides the mud [which, by the way, Leland didn't have--'cause that was all run on paved streets and roads]!

4  "Gators"?  Or is it "gaiters"?   You decide.

5  Hey!  That road (Hwy 15) that you turn off of to get onto that paved road (George Boutwell) that leads to the dirt road (201) that goes into the forest?  You mean, no one but me ever seems to make a BIG DEAL out of that big white sign posted there? That sign says: "Trapper John's Gator Farm."

( O_O )

6  Whoa!  Tell me I ain't thinkin' about THAT SIGN every single time we all cross (or ford) creeks in THAT FOREST.  I'm, like, "do ya suppose--just like cows or steers occasionally do--any of Trapper John's domesticated animals might ever escape from the farm?????????????"

7  Oh, and by the way, Carl's very first reincarnation of those old ultras inside this forest happened boom: on THE exact anniversary of my date of birth.  So now?  Now I'd just like to say something sweet about Wanda, Carl's wonderful wife at the time. Wanda actually brought a BIRTHDAY CAKE to that race.  For me!

8  Wanda is still here volunteering at Carl's memorial race [this year at A/S #1].  Just this past Saturday I hugged her and thanked her all over again and told her how, in all of these epochs and through all of these eras after dirt was born, no one else has EVER done me such a kindness at any race since.  What a total joy and living wonder our loving Wanda really is!

9  Steve DeReamer is an old buddy of Carl's, and he too is still here volunteering at Carl's memorial.  I shake his hand and thank him every time.  After Carl's entirely too untimely demise (from cancer), it was Steve who first rose to the challenge of carrying on Carl's races in his memory.

10 Steve (and others) will testify, too, that y'all's referred-to "rope across the creek" happened way more than just once. That dang creek has risen up ANGRY many times in the past and, yes, those volunteers have stretched a rope across it every single time.  And twice over the years the rangers came and shut down the 50-miler on account of that angrily uprising creek!  Once it rose up to my nostrils, and the other time it was chest high.  Both times anybody shorter than me had to pull on that rope and swim or die!

11 "Gators"???  I freakin' guess!!!  Both those times I forded that rising creek, I was terrified.

12 "What if one of Trapper John's domesticated farm animals eats me?"

13 Well then, I don't rightly guess I'd be sittin' here now, complaining about basements flooding or heels hurting, huh!

 Yours troubly,

 Rich Limacher

"The Trouble-Doer" 


Bottom line - the race was great.  The only thing that I would have liked to have been different was the weather, something that was beyond your control.  This year was my first time at your race so I cannot comment on the course other than to say that I liked it the way it was.  I also enjoyed the first out and back portion.  The second out and back of a mile and a half to two miles I didn't like because it was too short.  And because it was such a short segment I found it to be a nuisance.  Longer loops are, for me, preferable to short loops.  Although this was my first trail run, I thought you guys did a great job marking the course.  I didn't get lost or have any problems following the markings.  The aid stations were also good; the food/drinks that you had were appropriate.  Of the multiple aid stations, the second one was best.   Overall, it was great race, a great course, and great people.  I'm looking forward to next year and, hopefully, cooler weather. 

Keep up the good work. 

David Coffey

Thank you again for another terrific event.  I’m so glad that this is the ultra I “cut my teeth” on and am able to come back to year after year.  You and your staff do such an outstanding job.  I can’t express my appreciation enough.  Have a great year.  See you next Spring. 

Paul Van Hooydonk

This was my first time at the MS 50.  I do like out and back sections just to see who else is running and where I am in relation to the pack.  I liked the 3 long loops and the course was very well marked - even the potholes along the course were flagged!   

Here are some general comments.  I was the back of the pack the whole race - but I did make the cut offs.  When I got to Aid Station #1 on my second loop they did not have any more bananas.  Aid Station #2 on my 2nd loop they had run out of water.  Aid Station #3 on my 2nd loop had no ice.  The good news is by my 3rd loop Aid Station #2 had water again and Aid Station #3 had ice.  The other thing that was quite disappointing to me was when I finished the only size wind shirts were large and extra large - me a 115 pound woman gets a large.   I am unhappy that I did a 50 mile race and I have a wind shirt that is way too big for me to wear. 

In general all the volunteers were great - but of course Aid Station #2 was the best hands down.  By my 3rd loop I was never so glad as when I saw the sign in the woods that said " You're almost there...seriously".  The other signs and Elvis were great too.  But on my 3rd loop it was so great to have those two guys yelling for me all the way up the road.  The one guy came out and asked what I wanted and relayed that info to the other guy who was ready for me when I got to the table.  They were so enthusiastic and encouraging.  I think I hugged them both! They were awesome volunteers!!! 

Of course when I was finishing and everyone was yelling for me by name, that was a great feeling!   

Thank you for a great race.   

Holly Motes

9. Because Randy and Charles want us to ask “Which was the Best Aid  Station?”

They think they know the answer, huh? Well, of all the aid stations, 2 was the pits. First there was that long series of patronizing, sophomoric signs that looked as if they had let a child hopped on caffeine loose with a box of Crayolas. There was also the matter of false advertising. Certainly, by the time I got there all the beer and Marlboro Reds were long gone. The least they could do is take the sign down when they run out.

Then, when one actually arrived at the over-hyped, sorry excuse for a rest stop (who puts these things at the top of a long, dusty hill and then grins like maniacs as runners huff and puff to their doorstep?), the workers were falling all over themselves in obsequious, fawning, lickspittle-ness trying to outdo each other for Head Groveler. “Welcome, Sir.” “You’re looking great, Sir.” “May I offer you a frosty beverage, Sir?” “May I mop your brow, Sir.” “Can I feed you an orange slice while you lie with your head in my lap, Sir?” Just sickening, really. Where do you find these people?

And what was with the penny candy store at one end of the counter? I must have spent 14:37 of my race trying to decide which sugary confections to stuff into my running shorts. Criminal, really.

Name withheld to prevent recriminations