I GUESS IT WAS BOUND TO happen: a bad race. But in this case, it was not a bad race for me personally. It was a bad race, however, for my friends and for the majority of runners. But I am getting ahead of myself.
After a difficult night sleep, I was up was at 5:20am, ate breakfast, and was out the door by 6am. I got coffee and then headed first to a running friend, Donnie Rhodes’ house then to Tim Sheehan’s place. Tim, Tim’s wife Colleen, and Donnie were venturing to do the 20k Allegheny Front Trail Race with me. Todd Lewis was doing the 50k course. We made good time to Mid-State Airport near Black Moshannon State Park between State College and Philipsburg and arrived at 7:30 for the 8:00 start.
We walked into the airport terminal at Mid-State Airport and got our packet. The co-race director, Mike, recognizing my name, reached down from behind a desk and handed me a six-pack of blueberry lager.
“Why are you getting beer?” asked Donnie.

Tim Sheehan and Donnie Rhodes at the terminal of Mid-State Airport

IT WAS THE FIRST ALLEGHENY FRONT TRAIL RACE and I was willing and eager to help out an upstart. The beer was a ‘thank you’ present. During the months and weeks before the race, I asked how the trail race was going. They had a major issue getting permits from the state and forestry departments. in fact, it wasn’t until six weeks before the race when they got a ‘go’ from the powers at be. The original plan for the race was to run the course entirely on the Allegheny Front Trail — a 41-mile loop in Moshannon State Forest. The forestry department had no problem doing the race – except for the fact that they would limit the participants to just 12 people. Then in late spring, the forestry department permitted the race to continue on a new course. Several weeks before the race, I ran the course with the help of the race director, Mary, who like a mother hen, would send me off to run a section while she drove around in her car to meet me at the other end. She would then force feed me fruit before sending me off onto an another section. I wrote a blog entry about it – a pre-race preview – and then posted it on several Facebook groups and clubs in the region. Now, after the race, I am a little bit embarrassed that I did that.
For me, pre-race morning was a series of missteps. First I forgot my coffee in my car. Then arriving at the race, I misplaced my phone with my running app, thinking I might have left it in my car at Donnie’s place back in Altoona. (It turned out I have it in a rear pouch pocket in the back of my shorts the entire time.)

TODD LEWIS, WHO WAS doing the 50k, and started an hour earlier, was making progress to the east. His words:

“The race started on a hard road about a quarter mile away from the Shields Dam Trail. This was a wide open grass covered road which took you straight to the Allegheny front trail. This single track on the AFT is fantastic. At the first aid station which was about mile 4, I stopped to fill my hand held and took off again. Running a bit faster than I wanted to but I slowed myself down a little and ran the Clay Mine Road at a good 9 and a half minute pace. This road is all large crushed stone so running on the side was the best option. The first sign was up ahead so I made a left on to Shirks Road, enjoying the morning run. Before I knew it the next sign was fast approaching turn right onto Dug Road. This section was horrible! It was a rocky longing road that could twist an ankle in a heartbeat. The next few miles were more of the same crushed stone camping roads. I reached the mile 8 aid station feeling really good, filled up my hand held, and away I went. I was alone thinking I hope I don’t get lost.”

Dan – He is the “Man”.

AFTER GETTING OUR BIB AND PACKET, we walked out to see Dan Detrich, part of the Altoona running group. He decided to give this whole ‘trail-running thing” a go and late yesterday he decided to go.
All the runners were gathered around the parking lot at the terminal. “Where is the starting line?” asked Donnie.
“Just down the road we crossed a metal grate but I don’t see anything there”, I said squinting down the road.
It was kind of a surreal scene. Imagine you are a Hollywood second-unit director and the director barks orders to a crowd of extras over a bullhorn, “Okay, everyone! Everybody spread out in the parking lot. Remember, you look ‘confused’. You have no idea what is going on. And… ACTION!!!”
A college-aged student in a blue General Electric tech-tee (GE makes T-shirts?) walked up to me, mistaking me for someone important, asks, “What is going on? Where is the race? I don’t understand.”
“Good question. Let me see if I can walk over to the terminal and talk to the race director and find out”, I said.
I ran toward the terminal when just I was about to reach the door both race directors appeared. The race director looked frazzled as she ran to her vehicle. Something is up. Then the co-race director said, “we are starting the race in ten minutes. Please walk over to the starting area down the road by the grate.”
We walk down the road. It was already 8:10.
We gathered near the start line, a mere chalk line drawn across the road after the grate. Then the co-director appears out of nowhere, seemly rushed and hurried. He said something like “we need to start the race in 40 seconds!” That seemed oddly specific. Then he gave some very vague instructions. “Follow the red markers and the trail section will be blazed yellow”, he said hurriedly.
“What did he say about the ribbons n’nat?”, I thought.
Then he said go. I figured out later that the reason he had us start at 8:20am on the dot was that the 50k runners, who started at 7am, started late at 7:20 and he wanted exactly a hour difference between the two to make it easy for the race timer. Oh..righty, then.
Nevertheless we were off.

Hemlock Course: Part 1: Blue, Part 2: Light Blue, Part 3: Red

MY STRATEGY FOR THIS race: I was going to run a moderate pace for the first half of the race. There is only a small section of singletrack for this part of the race – mostly it would be either snowmobile trails, silty dirt state forest roads, and a long crushed gravel road before heading back onto the singletrack. I figured that considering the terrain and running surfaces, everyone would be able to keep a very good pace for the first half of the race and that there was no way I would be competitive. But as we went onto the singletrack in the second half, I’d kick it into gear as the terrain becomes more challenging but I was more at home on the trails. Then once we hit the silty state game road and the snowmobile trails on the return home, the uphill grade would be to my advantage. Unfortunately this plan had a big flaw.

WE TOOK THE AIRPORT ROAD and then onto a service dirt road around the north side of the airport runway. I was at the tail end of the lead pack with about 8 to 12 runners ahead of me. Just a mile into the race, my legs were tight. I did not stretch at all before the race. We ran up a hill and onto the powerline trail, down the other side of the hill and then made the left onto the Allegheny Front Trail (AFT). After about a gradual climb of about a half of a mile on the AFT, I saw a volunteer at the intersection of AFT and Shields Dam Trail or also known as Grand Central Station and took a left onto Shields Dam Trail. The trail is a snowmobile trail, very wide, grass-covered and full of ruts. I was doing okay but also knew I was exerting more of an effort and running slower than I thought. Granted, even though I was running four times a week throughout the month of July, I wasn’t in a training routine until two weeks before the race. I also gained weight – about 9 pounds since the Pittsburgh Marathon and the Laurel Highlands 50k. But more importantly, I have been slow since the marathon in early May. I had the endurance, doing several 15 mile plus long runs and forty mile weeks but my speed is lacking. On average, regardless if it is an easy run or a fast tempo interval, I was running about 45 seconds to 90 seconds slower per mile as compared to the weeks prior to Pittsburgh! Perhaps it is fatigue? Perhaps my fast-twitch muscles were gone? But the clock doesn’t lie.
Since starting on this trail, I could hear footsteps to my left, about three feet behind me. Nothing is more vexing to be running in a race and have someone on your ass and not having the legs to pass. It forces you run far to the side and away from the best line down a trail. Right then we were “chicked” by a girl with a red running shirt (Rachel). I am not the type of macho guy in that being passed my a woman would bother me but it did reaffirm my doubts about my current state and that today not be my day. But I decided to continue with my plan. I was able to shake off whoever was on my ass and I followed Pink Running Skirt Rachel ahead and to keep her within sight as long as I can and try to keep a good pace until I reached Route 504 and the beginning of the second half of the race — miles away.
I and about a half dozen runners merged onto Shields Dam Road — a state game land road distinct with its sandy red-orange dirt and went down a gentle grade toward Six Mile Run. Again, I have been on the course once before and I was running amongst a group so I didn’t think too much about the course markings at the time but several minutes behind me, Tim and Colleen, had a different experience….

From Tim’s race report:

“There weren’t many people in the race and we stopped pretty early to pee off the side of the trail and lost touch with the few runners in front of us.  The very first main intersection we came to (the trail came to a T with a dirt road) had absolutely no sign, no person standing there to tell us which way to go and no way to know if we should turn right or left.  We chose to go left and ran while trying to watch for soft spots on the ground where we might be able to see a foot print from the runners in front of us…after a while we hadn’t seen any so we turned around and ran back in the other direction…this turned out to be correct but why the hell did we have to find out that way…I mean if you have to search the ground for footprints I’d say the trail was not marked very well.”

The scenery along Shield Dam Road and later on the Allegheny Front Trail is much like this with ferns and tall pines of the Northern PA forest. (photo by Tim Sheehan)

MEANWHILE I WAS RUNNING DOWN Shields Dam Road and I was joined by Donnie Rhodes. The day before, he had a log roll over his achillies while helping out a neighbor clear storm debris from his yard. But now after a few miles, it was loosening up. At the end of the road, there was a checkpoint. Pink Running Skirt Rachel who I was chasing and Donnie, both stopped for some fluids while I pressed on ahead and made the right turn on Six Mile Run Road — a crushed gravel road along the creek and a gradual downhill. I knew all the runners would gain speed here. In hindsight, my strategy to take it steady for the first half of the race then run hard in the second half had a big, fundamental flaw. It was here that a realized it. It dawned on me that the main group of lead runners, who I haven’t seen since the powerline trail, would have gained so much of a distance by the time I reached the halfway point that there would be no way I could catch up to them. The distance is less than a half marathon. In a half marathon, you are basically running 80 to 90% of your maximum capacity for the entire distance. I was nowhere running at the level. Realizing this, I knew I was running my own race and I began to relax. Donnie caught up and was running with me, Pink Running Skirt Rachel passed me again but was still within fifty yards of me. We were joined by the Grey Man Dan – grey shirt with salt and pepper hair – and the lanky blond from Franklin, PA, Sarah. At about the last mile on Six Mile Run Road, out of nowhere Dan Deitrich appeared from behind. That was the most impressive effort I have seen all month, let alone the whole day. This was impressive because, if you have familiar with running, sometimes mere seconds can be an impossible distance to catch up, so when someone does catch up to you, they have to be running a lot faster that you in order to do it. In his first trail race and twenty years older than me, it was an unexpected and awesome effort. Way to go, Joe!

FROM MY ESTIMATE, right about this time, Todd Lewis, doing the 50k was east of us by six miles and was running into trouble. His words…

“The trail makes a right onto the North Trial. This is where people got turned around, I believe. A logging company came in and marked trees to be removed with pink ribbon just like the ones that were on the trees with the signs. Hence the ‘word signs’!! At the start the statement was made there will be signs at every turn. Anyway this part was all up hill and pretty hard running for the next mile. It was mowed grass and was very hard to determine foot placement. Now just to let you know, we could use a drop bag and it was going to be around mile 17 or 18. So the next section was more of the same high grass which was very hard to run. This seemed to take forever it was wide open and no cover from the sun.
When I came to the end of this section, there was an aid station waiting for me. I saw my drop bag and checked my watch and was like “wow, I am really making some good time” and I feeling awesome. As I stopped to change socks, the volunteer says to me “17 more miles to go”. I must have had some look on my face because he said “boy, you don’t look to happy”. I explained to him I thought the drop bag were further out on the course. So I had to change my game plans. 17 more miles and not one of the aid stations have nutrition! I ate a banana had a couple of chips drank a half bottle of Mountain Dew and took the pretzels for the road.”

BACK TOWARD THE END OF Six Mile Run Road, Donnie, Dan, Pink Running Skirt Rachel, Grey Man Dan, Sarah from Franklin and I are all within fifty yards of each other as we approached Route 504. First on the hard road was Rachel. She gets to the bridge spanning over the creek on Route 504 and stopped dead cold in her tracks. She probably asked herself, do I cross the road, do I cross the bridge, where do I go? I yell up ahead “Straight then make a right!”
She shrugged her shoulders and starts running. The bridge over the creek is also along a curve. As we rounded the curve, I saw a volunteer running toward the fluid stand. “Where is she running from?”, I thought. The volunteer was so surprised at the sight of us that she failed to tell us which way to go. Again, since I have been on the course, I said “follow me.” We crossed over low wooden barrier — ankle high — over a grate bridge toward a cabin.
“We go here?”, somebody asked me. “Are you sure?”
“Now we make a right”, as I made a sharp left into a dense glade of mountain laurel and pines. I wondered why there wasn’t anyone here directing us at this confusing section.
“I am coming up on your left”, said a voice behind me.

Tim Sheehan takes a pick of Colleen doing up the hill at the beginning of the singletrack and the second half for the race.

I pointed twice ahead of me with my left hand, signaling that it was a good place to pass and since we were on a narrow singletrack.
Rachael passed me, again. Now that we are on single track – the Allegheny Front Trail – and in the second half of the race, I would begin to make my move here. I took chase. Twenty yards in, Rachel ran past the sharp right turn, not seeing the yellow blazers above her on the left. “This way I said”, as I made the right. We both power hiked up the hill and it was here that I had a chance to say hello and chat. Rachel said it was not her day too. She said she did 15 miles on the Megatransect course the day before. If this was an off day, I wanted how she would do on a good day? She said was using this as a training run for the Dam Full, then the Mega and finally Oil Creek 50 (not the 100). At the top of the final switchback climb, I saw Donnie, Dan, Sarah and Dan below, hoping that they know this is where I was going to kick it into high gear and that I will probably not see then again until the finish. “This is runnable. Let’s Go!” I said to Rachael.

This tunnel of mountain laurel and pine marks the flat section high above Six Mile Run where Pink Running Skirt Rachel and I took off.

We made a beeline down the trail and hammered through a flat section high above the creek among the rhododendron then down a technical hill back to Six Mile Run and into a dark section of large and looming pines. I realized that my “stomach and nerves” seem to be gone. All summer I have been taking downhills so conservatively that I wondered if I have lost my nerve. Running down this section, my feet scrambled about to find the best spot to land. I’m back!
Like two impalas scampering over the savannah, we darted through the forest. Then there was a quick roller coaster which include a sudden uphill of about 75 feet then downhill again – but we still cranked it out. Then came one last uphill before “The Enchanted Forest”. I said to Rachel that coming up was my favorite section of the course but she was no longer behind me. She was just there a second ago… I ran through a beautiful section of pines called “The Enchanted Forest” but I today I had little time to take in the scenery. I saw up ahead two runners, one in a black shirt (Andrew) and the kid in a burgundy T-shirt (Kid Jonathan). I would catch glimpses of them every now and then through the forest – they are about 75 yards ahead. We were about to cross the powerline trail repeat the same section of the Allegheny Front Trail we ran at the beginning of the race. The two runners ahead stop on the powerline trail, not knowing to go forward or to turn. “Go straight”, I said.
Because of their hesitation I have caught up to within twenty yards of them as we ran up the trail toward Grand Central. We passed the volunteer and continued on the trail instead of making the left we did eariler. Flat and rocky at times, the kid picks up speed while the guy in black and I hang back. Kid Jonathan, a 15-year old old track runner from Clearfield, would run almost out of sight then slow down as we hit a more technical section. But between me and Kid Jonathan and Black Shirt Andrew and I am closing the gap. Down a winding downhill, we again run back toward Six Mile Run. I started to gain more ground on Andrew, I noticed he is wearing headphones and he has no idea I was behind him. I had to find the right place to get a burst of speed and pass. The trail makes an abrupt turn toward the left on a slight uphill bank. I know this was where I would make my move. I punched it, passing to his left just on the edge of the trail – thick blueberry bushes scratch at my ankles. I continued to ‘lay down the hammer’ trying to get as much distance away from Black Shirt Andrew as possible. Then up ahead, I saw Kid Jonathan. Cue the chase music!
We climb a short section of singletrack along what was once a logging road, but now covered with ferns except for a singletrack trail up the right-of-way. Around us looked like a old tree farm from the days of the Conservation Corps. Hearing me approach, Kid Jonathan pushed ahead. Giving as much effort I can, I can’t seem to catch him as he attempts to slip away. Then comes a straight downhill and I managed to gain on him once again. At one time he was as far as a hundred yards away but by the end of this section I am just 20 feet until me until we run out of trail as we finally reach Shields Dam Road. The kid turns right at the checkpoint for a quick drink, as make the left and finally ahead of him.
Next up ahead is a steady climb of 200 feet for two miles. Shields Dam Road is a silty forest road and then it will bear left onto a snowmobile trail. My plan prior to the race was to charge up this section but all I could muster was a moderately steady pace. I did not have my GPS app with me but it felt like I was running a mid-8 minute mile. Despite my pace, Kid Jonathan passed me within several hundred feet from the aid station where I passed him. I was okay with this but I was also damn sure I wasn’t going to let him get away. I was able to stay within 15 feet of him for the rest of the way. Running up the road, I looked down to my feet at the sand and silt and noticed that there were plenty of prints running down in the opposite direction but no shoe prints going in our direction. Then we came to where the trail yielded to the left and onto the snowmobile trail. There is a red sign on a tree which pointed up that said “Seneca”. The 50k route is called Seneca but the 20k was the “Hemlock” course. “Well, that is very confusing”, I thought. I wondered if everyone knows that in this section both courses use the same route… I even wondered if everyone else got lost and Kid Jonathan would end up being the first two runners to finish…

I turn around to wave “Hi” while chasing Kid Jonathan ahead in red.

WE REACH THE VOLUNTEER AT Grand Central Station and made a right onto the Allegheny Front Trail but this time running in the OPPOSITE direction we did twice earlier. I had a sense we were going to run into some runners approaching us in the other direction. First I saw a female runner who looked somewhat familiar with a white and orange hat. Then low and behold, I see the Sheehans. Tim grabbed his camera as I pass and takes a pic when I turned around, still chasing after Kid Jonathan. I didn’t even slow down. As we approach the powerline, I thought to myself that I should let this kid blow by the right turn on the powerline and to have him to continue going straight on the trail. But my conscience won out and I yelled to him to turn right just before he made it to the powerline. On the powerline trail we climbed a grassy hill, crossed a field and onto the service road around the runway as Kid Jonathan and I would constantly increase and decrease the distance between the two of us like we were attached to each other with an invisible bungie cord. He would sprint ahead trying to get way, only to have me sprint and catch up. Like I mentioned, I did not have my GPS Runkeeper with me but I’d guess we both were doing about a high six to seven minute mile.

This could have been the last picture taken of Donnie Rhodes. After passing the Sheehan’s after this picture was taken, Donnie, Sarah from Franklin, PA, and Grey Man Dan in Grey, would miss the turn toward the finish.

WHILE I PLAYED A GAME OF yo-yo with Kid Jonathan, three to five minutes behind me, Donnie and his new friends would pass The Sheehans right when Donnie would start onto the singletrack of the AFT near Shields Dam Trail. Running down the hill toward the powerline trail, Donnie and his group did exactly what I thought Kid Jonathan was going to do — Donnie and friends charged past the turn onto the powerline trail and continued on the AFT toward the Enchanted Forest and Six Mile Run!

TWO MILES AWAY TOWARD THE southeast and about 50 yards from the finish, I kicked into overdrive trying to pass Kid Jonathan, but he had as much in the tank as I did and he laid down the rubber. He finishes two seconds ahead of me.
I finished the 12.7 miles in 1:51:36 at pace of 8:47. It was 10:11AM. I congratulated Kid Jonathan for being a great rabbit and a good race with him for the last five miles. Thirty seconds later, black-shirt Andrew makes it past the line. Just a minute after I finish, a familiar face from State College, Meira, finished. Immediately, I thought this was odd. I have seen her at so many races in the region and I know she is an exceptional runner. Then I realized that she was part of the pack that was ahead at me at the beginning of the race. “I got lost! I ran for about a mile down the wrong path!”, said said.

Donnie’s comment on this photo: “Things to Do Today – Get Donnie Rhodes Lost. CHECK!”

Soon another runner comes in saying the same thing. A few minutes later, Pink Skirt Rachel hinted she continued on Shields Dam Road, missing the turn onto the snowmobile trail. “Oh no!”, I said to myself. Donnie was running strong, he should have been behind me by several minutes and soon I knew something was wrong.

DONNIE WAS RUNNING FURTHER and further from the start. His words from his race report:

I planned on 12.5 miles and rationed water and food for that distance. The extra 3.5-4 miles directly up a mountainside paved highway my group had to scale to get back may not sound like a great distance, but anyone that runs a race to leave it all out on the course knows what an extra unexpected 4 miles tacked at the end would do to your mind and body, not to mention the obvious safety / health concerns of it all.

Donnie and the group he was with ended up not too far from the beginning of the second portion of the race (the second half) after the bridge on Route 504. They had to flag down a vehicle and asked for directions. Then they had to climb out of the Six Mile Run Valley on a dangerous section of hard road (Route 504) to the airport. “There are more people in this car than there were volunteers on the course!”, he said during the trip back to Altoona.

BACK AT THE FINISH LINE, I grew more concerned. 23 minutes after I finished, Dan Detrich appeared. “Wow! What a run? I have a new found respect for you guys who run the trail”, he said. He had a great time and I think he might have stayed on course. Dan did a awesome job for his first trail race. We talked for a little until he went back to the terminal to change. Still…tick tick tick… no Donnie Rhodes. I waited and waited. I grew more concerned as the minutes ticked by. I began to pace back and forth up and down Airport Road, trying to find place where I can see as much

Donnie and Grey Man Dean arrive at the finish.

down the road as possible. Then almost 30 minutes after Dan finished (who already left to drive back to Hollidaysburg), and 52 minutes since I crossed the line, Donnie along with the Grey Guy Dean crossed the finish line. As he crossed, he had a quiet, blank expression on his face. Not knowing Donnie that well, I couldn’t read him until I realized he was at the point where you are so mad that you don’t dare say a word. He was livid. “This race simply should have been cancelled due to lack of volunteers and organization and the $35 registration fee should have been refunded” he would say later. To add insult to injury, he went back to the terminal for food only to fight over a single banana and some non-descript ‘powder’ (protein, I assume) in a baggie.
While Donnie was at the terminal fighting over the banana like a jackal, I waited for Tim and Colleen. While waiting, I saw the woman I passed just before seeing the Sheehans on the AFT. She looked so familiar. Then she walked up to me and said “you look familiar”. Then it hit me! She (Jo Kappus) was the woman from New Jersey that I sat beside on the bus when I did the Laurel Highlands Ultra back in early June! Small world, eh?!

The Sheehans finish the race.

Then not to long afterward, Tim and Colleen finish. It isn’t clear that if they got lost but it did sound like that when they came to the powerline, they almost went straight if it it wasn’t for the two runners ahead of them, cresting the hill on the powerline trail. Several minutes after, a young woman made it to the finish. Later, she mentioned that she realized she was lost when she saw Black Moshannon Lake. There are many racers, like Donnie, that went straight on the AFT. A few continued on Shield Dam Road and missed the turn onto the snowmobile trail. Others climbed the powerline and accidently took Old Huckleberry Trail only a mile from the finish. But how this woman ended up on on the other side of the airport and near the lake is just frickin’ unbelievable.
We talked at the finish line for a bit as Donnie brought the Sheehans’ Honda to the finish line. We debated whether to wait for Todd Lewis to finish. All this time, I kept overhearing broadcasts over the radios that such and such runner was lost, or another ended up off-course. Then someone wait through the walkie-talke, “we got runners lost in the next county!” We had no way of knowing if Todd was on-course or not. Based on that, we made the decision to bail and headed out of Dodge.

Group shot of us post race.

MEANWHILE TODD WAS NOT OUT OF THE WOODS as the was on the trail toward home. Todd wrote:

“The next section takes you through the Moss Hanne Trail which some of it are treated lumber walkways. This is where my day came to an abrupt halt. I did not see a rock sticking out of the ground and slammed my left foot right into it. This sent a shock wave through my entire body that stopped me in my tracks. I thought I broke my toe. I ended up walking it off for about two hundred yards or so. Then I heard the steps of an approaching runner. He asked if I was ok and kept going. I started to follow but my legs decided to start cramping with every step. I managed to catch up to him at the next aid station I stopped and stretched had a Coke and moved on. He was about a quarter mile away but I could still see him.

WE WENT TO THE TERMINAL TO get directions to the Avondale Hotel. The Avondale promised blueberry beer and chili as a post-race meal. By the time we drove the car, we convinced ourselves that:
1 – Chili doesn’t sound like a good thing to eat post-race
2 – The Avondale is eight miles in the opposite direction from home
3 – Considering the day we had we did not trust the directions we were given and worried that we would end up lost.
We made the decision to go to State College and had a far better time on the outdoor patio of the American Ale House. We compared stories as we all had very great meals, I had a four-beer sampler and Donnie had the two best Bloody Mary’s he ever had.

AS WE WERE GETTING SOME FOOD and toasting to some good cheer, Todd wasn’t having much fun as he made the grind to the finish:

“We were back on the Clay Mine Road and the shade was gone and the sun was hot. These 3.5 miles lasted forever being I was not able to run hardly any of it. I finally made it to the last aid station.. The gentleman that passed me was having trouble of his own. The last section of the race was pretty much an uphill battle to get you back on the AFT. This is where he stopped and I asked him if he needed help. He told me to go on and he would be fine. I managed to get back on the AFT and heard the sounds of footsteps. It kind of surprised me [when a guy] and his pacer flew by me like I was standing still. Back out to the main road, it was a very long and steep climb. I made it to the hard road and could see the finish line. Cramps and all (I must have look like something else) I crossed the finish line.”

Now is the real disappointment. NO POST RUN FOOD!!!! I just ran 31 miles paid 50 dollars and had nothing to refill my body. I was told by the timer that I was 5th overall so I assumed I won an age group medal. Yes!! Too bad… so sad… no finishing medal… no age group awards… no food. So to sum it up: I paid 50 dollars for a tee shirt and went on a 31 mile trail run on a Sunday morning.”

This was a hard blog post to write. The race directors are actually extremely nice and wonderful people. But of course in hindsight, the should have not cancelled the race. Have just a month or so before such an endeavor is an incredible stuff. They did not have the volunteers to pull it off.

Donnie’s world-class Bloddy Mary at the Ale House made by Neil the bartender.