I have been putting off this report waiting for the official results, but I have some free time now so here it goes. I'll provide an update once the results are official.
This is the first year I ran at Hinson Lake and it quickly became one of my favorite events. (I am getting way too many favorite events on my list.) First of all, the entry fee is only TWENTY-FOUR dollars. For that $24 you get better swag than you get at a big city marathon.
Plus you get all the food you can eat, all the water and Gatorade you can drink, and all the ultra comraderie you could want for 24 hours. That's $1 an hour, I'd like to see a Competitor Group marathon with an entry fee of 3-5 dollars.
The course consisted of 1.52 mile loops around Hinson Lake. The path is sandy gravel with several wooden footbridges. There was one "hill" which was a couple of hundred yards long and maybe 15' gain in elevation. It was raining a bit at the start and as I was waiting in my car, I saw southeastern ultra good guy Bill Keane walking by. I lowered my window to say "hi" and he offered me one of his Pat Pending Green Powered Digital Lap Counters.
There is one drawback to the design, the operator needs to remember to move the ring from one finger to the next after each lap, which does become difficult around 2-4 AM.
The race started promptly at 8AM and although it was a bit crowded at the beginning, everyone quickly settled into place and we were on our way. There were a lot of GUTS and Darkside running cult members, so there were a lot of people lapping me that I knew.
The volunteers were all fantastic and the aid station was stocked with just about anything you might need. It seemed more like a picnic with some running.
That is not to say there weren't some incredible performances out there. Mike Morton put on a phenomenal display of athleticism. With the heat index approaching 90 degrees, Mike kept on pounding out the laps. Even with his superior effort, he took the time to encourage us plodders every time he passed us. One of the main reasons I wanted to wait for the official results is that I'm pretty sure he got within a couple of miles of Scott Jureck's American 24 Hour record. It was amazing to watch him run and I swear he picked up speed after 4 AM.
As I stated in my last post, I was going to attempt a PR. It was very humid so I started slower than normal, but I was able to maintain my pace for much longer. In my previous 24 Hour runs, I ended up walking most of the night, but this night I was able to run about 2 - 2.5 minutes out of every 5 minutes. I think this also helped reduce the severity of blisters. It took me 15 hours, but I did eventually make the leader board (I also had to stop and get my camera to take this picture).
At about 4 AM I asked the scoring table how many laps I needed to do to cover 85.5 miles (previous PR was 85.25 miles). I looked at the time remaining, my current pace, and how many laps I needed to do. Doing the math in my head, it was apparent that I would not make my PR. I decided to mosey along the next lap, change my socks one last time, then keep moving and get a nice 82-83 mile training run for the Javelina Jundred in November.
When will I ever learn...DO NOT DO MATH IN YOUR HEAD AT 4AM AFTER RUNNING 70ISH MILES!
As I passed the timing table again, I saw that I still had 4 hours to go. I had misread the time by an hour on the last lap. Well crap, (I mean yea!) I can still make that PR, but I have to pick up my pace back to where it was. So I put my big girl panties back on, maintained the pace I needed, and ended up with an unofficial 86.4ish miles, a new PR!
I'll update this with my final mileage and the amazing Mike Morton's mileage when the official results are published.
I had an awesome time, and I hope to return again and again.
Bell Ringer 25K Race Report
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