Glenn Dell Kasper
Mississippi 50 Trail Run
Mississippi 50 miler
Initially I looked at the Lovin' the
Hills 50k in Louisville in early February but after
several trail runs I knew I was not quite ready. The
Mississippi 50 in March was another option but I was
late to sign up and missed getting a slot. A facebook
message from one of the runners that could not make it
offered her slot first come first serve. I responded and
sent an email to the race director and it was was denied
because she had already been refunded her money and her
slot given out. Two days before the race the race
director sent me an email and said I could run but would
not get a t-shirt. I jumped on it...after numerous phone
calls with the wife of course! She seemed okay with me
spending my Saturday attempting to regain my childhood.
Finding the race start was challenging in the in the
dark down dusty dirt roads to Desoto National Forest.
The sun had not come up yet as the race website had
predicted for a 6 am start. The race began with the
usual chit chat among runners, all with steamy breath
from the crisp below freezing temperature. I did not
seen Henry Cubera, a trail running buddy that I run with
in Louisvile, KY who inspired me to sign up at the the
There were about 150 fifty miler
participants the rest were 50k runners. The 20k folks
had a gentlemanly...or lady like?... start of 8 am, so
they were not there yet. I was pumped to be hanging out
with some awesome trail runners. I knew I was not gonna
come even close to keeping up with them. At this point I
was just looking to finish the race, as I have never
gone further than 26 miles...and this was on a road
without obstacles. Jason Hynd an old jet pilot buddy of
mine had given me some advice on fueling and ...well...
smiling. He said when you get to that spot where every
muscle and bone in your body has turned to jello try to
smile. I did not believe it would work but hey, I am new
at this sport. Someone asked me before the race how you
run 50 miles...I told him ... well you run as far as you
can ... then you run 42 more miles!
A quick shot
of adrenalin that normally happens minutes before a race
helped warm me up on that cold dark 28 degree morning. I
was not sure where to place myself in at the start line
so I went to the very back. I quickly realized that I
had placed my self way too far back. I have yet to
program out that "mile run" sprint from the start line
that I learned in high school so I went with it and
passed about half the crowd by mile three.
first three miles were flat double track and easy as the
first light of the sun lit the trail. Down a small hill
was the first creek crossing and the experienced runners
just went straight through getting wet up to their mid
calf. Me I was way too cold for that so I found a much
dryer route that cost me a minute or two. After that
there were numerous mud holes on a double track horse
path. The next creek crossing at about mile 5 was harder
and my right shoe got wet. My right foot quickly became
numb from the cold. I toughed it out through a lot of
single track and dual track with many mud holes. There
was a lot of techy stuff to cross the remaining mud
holes and creeks only because I was trying to stay dry.
Some guys just ran right through knee deep water. It was
way too cold for me to do that. I finally accepted my
fate to a wet foot run and I pressed through but the
numb right foot was much of a concern.
Henry at the 1.6 up an back turnaround point...he was
about 2 miles ahead of me at that point. At mile fifteen
I caught up to Doris, a 68 year old quadruple bypass
survivor that I had met at the carb dinner the night
before. She was running the 20k that started two hours
later. I had gotten behind on fueling and I ran with her
for a good three miles. We talked about her surgery and
her grandchildren...only because I was pretty much out
of steam...and I was having serious doubts about this
whole fifty mile thing. She told me her doctor pretty
much told her that he thought if she ever stopped
running she would die...so having been a runner all her
life there she is...absolutely inspiring! After i told
her that I was running my first 50 miler she said she
could remember those days. I told her I wanted to
remember them also. I did two honey stingers running
with her...trying to stay on the diet plan...and ten
minutes later I crunched through 5 miles in about a 9:30
Sticking as close to the Jason Hynd, (he
came in third at the Cascade Crest 100 mile ultra last
year) ...uh...scientifically, systematically trail
tested and approved ultra run diet plan as I could...I
found myself at the 25 mile point in 4:37...certainly on
track for an under 10 hour run...however the numb foot
was going to keep me from my goal of finishing the race.
A good 10 minutes was used changing shoes and socks and
a much needed bathroom break...and a change of a dry
undershirt. I felt like a new man! I ran the next 5
miles in about a 10:30 pace. This time I spent more time
keeping my feet dry and it definitely cost me time but
it was well worth it to have dry feet. As my foot became
unnumb it began to hurt so I spent 5 minutes sitting and
warming it in my hands. A couple of guys stopped to make
sure I was okay...one even offered his armpit to warm up
my foot...I almost took him up on it! It was here that I
realized that I had forgotten my water bottle and I
began to get dehydrated. With only two aid stations
left...well three because you pass one twice... I
pounded 4 cups of water at each....and started feeling
I caught a root at mile 37 and down
I went. What were those out of control flight procedures
for for the A-4...who was the guy who pushed me into the
pool after my first solo flight...what was that little
blond headed gal in third grade that I liked so
much...wow the wind feels good blowing over my
face...hey wait I can't lay here I have to finish this
race! I had banged my knee on another root when I hit
the ground. I had ripped my cool running pants but
overall I was okay and luckily nobody saw me. This was
the loneliest part of the race as I was on a good pace
and I did not see anyone for almost 5 miles.
finished my third twelve mile loop in 7:41, plenty of
time under the cutoff to make the next six miles and the
last cutoff time. Passing through the timer the race
director asked me if I was done or did I have more.
Remembering Jason Hynd's words I smiled as big as I
could and thought "what 50k" and said "I've got more!"
Another shoe change and a long sleeve undershirt change
and I was on the way. I opted for the long sleeve
because the wind began to howl at about 20 knots...and I
was getting a little hypothermic from all the sweat on
me. One runner had told me that the six mile loop was a
lot dryer than the 13 mile loop...well he was wrong...It
was just as bad or worse.
Three hours for two 6
mile loops partly because I failed my diet plan as I
could not hardly tolerate anything but the honey
stingers, gue was out of the question and the hammer gel
was a little better. I ate some doritos and PBnJs at the
only aid station on the small loop. There was a girl
there with her parents ...they were extremely nice...on
the second loop I asked her what what her name was and
she was way too shy to answer so I said "I know...your
name is Sarah"! and ya know ... I was right! The parents
could not believe I had guessed her name! I told them
that she looked like a Sarah.
I walked and ran
the last four miles and I got passed by about 12
runners...but I had nothing left. I had used it all up
and it felt great! What an awesome run!
yea...I finished 41 of 80 finishers and my time was
10:45:46. I was only an hour behind Henry Cubera...an
ultra runner with 4 ultras and numerous marathons under
What a blast...may have to do it again
next year! This is the very best and well organized race
I have run so far!
Rock/Creek runner John Brower
takes third place at the Mississippi 50 Mile
I love mud… and cold… and loops… and bogs… and I
love Mississippi trail running! It was my pleasure
to once again entertain myself for a few hours with
the madness that is the Mississippi 50.
have run this race several times, and only once has
there not been mud… that type of mud that sucks your
shoes off. This year was considered to be a “dry”
year, but all that meant was that the mud was
extra-tacky… the kind of mud that, after a few
thousand feet have gone through it, turns into a
bog, where shoes stay and feet go.
one guy did lose his shoe in one of the mudpits; he
reached in and literally couldn’t find it, and was
left with one shoe!
Despite all this mud, I
do love this race, for its volunteers, and its race
director, Dennis Bisnette. He and his crew do all
they can to ensure that a good time is had by all.
The course is well marked, and the aid is solid,
including red beans and rice at the finish. And man,
red beans and rice on a cold day is MONEY. The
50-mile course is set up as three 12.5ish mile
loops, and two 6.2ish mile loops. The 50k race and
the 20k race are run on the same loops, but with
variations for their distances.
breakfast of champions (Pop Tarts and Citrus Drop
Extreme, which is off-brand Mountain Dew), I headed
to the start line, and met up with some buddies.
Following a few “good lucks” we were off into the
morning twilight. It was cold, but usually as the
day progresses, I tend to get warmer. However, given
the cloud cover and the wind, I stayed pretty cold
throughout the run.
I settled in to a pace
with my buddy Ed Daly, who had just gotten back from
a ski trip to Colorado. As we ran and chatted, I
could tell that the fatigue of the past few high
mileage weeks was working on me, and that I needed
to back off the pace a bit for the rest of the time.
There is an out-and-back section to the course, and
as we came back on it, we were able to size up the
competition for the day. I told Ed that today was
his, and to take note of who he needed to get. We
finished up loop one, and I let Ed go off to track
down his destiny. I, on the other hand, focused on
keeping a solid pace for the day, not sure where I
would end up at the end, but knowing that I needed
to run patiently… just another long run.
next big loops were uneventful, other than the
adventurous crossings of the by-now bogs. Man, that
mud will make you tired after a while! I just
focused on being comfortable and patient with
myself. At the start of the first short loop (mile
37.5), I decided that I would give myself two hard
miles, just to see if I saw either Ed or Eric Lee,
who was now leading the race. I figured that
although I was on tired legs, maybe the sight of
them would inspire me… but after a good push, they
were still nowhere in sight, so I settled back into
my groove, and was content to do my thing to the
Coming to the clock for the final time, I felt
great. Although my legs were tired for a good
portion of the day, I didn’t give in to it, and
maintained an even keel for the better of the last
37 miles. I finished the race in 7:39, good enough
for 3rd place. Not too bad for a long run.
Congrats to my buddy Ed Daly, who stayed strong the
whole time, and was unrelenting all the way to the
finish, good enough for 2nd. Congrats to Eric Lee on
the “W” also… great guy. If you haven’t heard of
him, Google him; he finished up Nolan’s 14 last
year. If you don’t know what Nolan’s 14 is, Google
that, and then have your mind blown.
is the Lake Martin 50 miler on March 23rd! VAMOS!!!!
I just wanted
to thank you for the great race you put on this year. I
look forward to doing it in 2014 and hopefully meeting
my goal of finishing the 50 miler. Your aid stations
were great, but I have to say the guys at the first aid
station really rocked. They went out of their way to
encourage the runners. I had some terrible nutrition
issues and one of the guys at the first aid station was
trying to help me find something that my stomach would
accept. I look forward to next year!
do it in the woods. Even when it's cold.Temps from 28-42 made it the
coldest MS50 in years. But maybe not, there is no proof that Running
Bear was actually at the race this year, although he claims to have
worked the Friday registration.
The new chip system worked great and we had very few results corrections
Once again we had a great
group of runners, plus Rich Limacher come to our run. We had a
record crowd despite a lot of late withdrawals. About 423
registered, and 290 finished.
Many, many thanks to everyone who registered, ran, watched, or
commented on the race. Trail runners have to be the nicest people on
the planet. And MS50 trail runners are the best of all. Hope to see
you all again next year.