A lot of prep work goes into the Six/Three Hour Snake Run. There is course marking, gathering aid station food stuff, ordering porta-potties, getting permits and insurance, ordering shirts, trophies, medals, and designing them as well, setting up the start/finish, setting up aid stations, rustling up volunteers, coordinating the timing, and of course, snake removal. But despite a race like this being a lot of work, it is still a great deal of fun when everything goes well--and this year it was nearly flawless--but there is a reason for that. This year, I have had more help than ever before. Friends went way beyond what I had even hoped for in running the aid stations and helping set up and tear down. I actually had a nearly stress-free day Saturday, and even ran a few miles with some of my friends.
Dana made a few extended shopping trips gathering food stuff, and stayed up late the night before the race making 25 lbs of potatoes. (good ultra food) Kathy also did her share of goodie shopping.Janine made this artistic cake, and it was good! I have heard of people eating snake, and I had no problem eating some of this one.
Big thanks to Marcy Ellis, who ran the kitchen so to speak--keeping all the BBQ heated, and serving sandwiches from 11:00 to 3:30. She was a life saver.
My wonderful friend and part time crew babe Candice was the gopher for the day. Candice made trip after trip to the store for more ice, beer, bread, chips, and other snacks. We would have been in trouble without her. Thank you Candice. (Can't wait to have you back running with us!!)
My nepher Jeff also showed up and filled and refilled water jugs, and toted a bunch of heavy stuff back and forth to the aid stations. Many thanks!!
This post could be a super duper long post since I have over 60 pictures that I WANNA post, but I think I'll try to condense it, and then I'll post another batch of pictures with a little less of my rambling. The reward for running the furthest in six or three hours, again, was one of these vicious looking rattlers.
But new this year--we also had finisher's medals!!Brian designed these big honkin medals, as well as the cool shirts. Brian also spent some time every day promoting this race with Facebook posts and emails. For a race that we were concerned with having enough runners to break even, we exceeded that number and ran out of shirt and almost ran out of medals. Brian makes some announcements. We did not have the megaphone, but Brian's loud mouth was more than sufficient. The crowd lines up a few minutes before 9:00 am.One of my favorite things to do--firing the starting gun.
With nearly 250 runners, it was a little crowded at the start. The first .2 of a mile was on a wider trail, and people got spaced out somewhat before hitting the single track.
After the start and a quick porta-potty check, I sprinted to the first aid station. I took a short cut, as I wanted to get there before the front runners so I could take pictures. I came up short though, and only got butt shots of the first group.
I still got there in time to take pix of some amazing runners. This rocky section is right before the first aid station, and most of the runners blew right by it. Some actually seemed to fly.
After several fast trains of runners sped by, eventually some of the runners more in tune with the trail stopped for refreshments.
This aid stop is at approximately mile one, and runners hit the turnaround at mile two--the same aid stop, but from the other side. It's an out-and-back course, and they retrace their steps, which means all day long, you see runners coming the other way. The competitive sorts can keep track on their competition, and runners can keep tabs on their friends who are also running. Thanks to all the runners who put 17,332 little cups in the trash bags instead of throwing them on the ground. It was like Grand Central Station when wave after wave of runners hit the turn-around, but the super-crew of Amelia, Susan, Laurie and Hayden handled it in stride. They had rock-n-roll blaring and several inspirational signs. WWCSD commanded the most attention. What Would Charlie Sheen Do?
Later, Sandra (awesome super aid station goddess extraordinaire) along with the ambitious and witty Pat and his better half Paula took over and serviced the remaining 6 hour runners. Sandra and company kept track of the last runners, and when they were through, they took down the tent, table, and packed up all the misc aid station stuff. Tatur-of-the-Month Amelia and hew three hour runner hubby Jeff loaded up all the stuff in their truck and packed it out of the woods. I am extremely thankful for all the great help, as getting this aid station picked up, as by the end of race day, Brian and I are beat. Several of the out of state folks commented on how great this aid stop was. It was an all day party.
Back at race central, the three hour race finished in a swarm. Most all of the runners took full advantage of the half mile finishing loop to tack on as much mileage as possible.
Mitch had a great timing program that kept track of the laps, and also the finishing laps--even though there were 6-hour runners still doing their 4 mile laps while 170 3-hour runners were hammering out half mile laps. Makes my head swim.Then, like clockwork (a small pun), he produced the results along with age groups. I suppose that is maybe not such a feat, except that most races results are simply a listing of the correct order and time that someone crosses the finish line. In this format, actual distances ran in addition to the time taken, and how many big laps and small laps are ran, and which race were you in?? My head is still swimming. Thank you, Mitch. You're a genius.
After each race was complete, we gave away the snakes. Maggie Nelson from Tulsa won the ladies 3-hour competition and set a new course record with 21 miles. She got away without getting her trophy, and I also missed getting her picture. Maggie, you can pick up your rattler at RunnersWorld if you have not done so already. Second place went to Marilyn Caulfield from Rogers AR for running 20.4 miles.
Third place in the 3-hour event went to Olivia Eves from Arkansas KS for running 19.9 miles.
In the men's division, Steve Shepherd from Roy UT came close to running a marathon--running 24.6 miles on trails in a little under 3 hours. This is the new course record for the 3-hour race. WOW!
Jack Morris from Tulsa ran 21.5 miles, and took second place.
John Noble from Tulsa ran 20.5 miles, and took third place.Sorry for the fuzzy picture. :-(
In the 6-hour event, no course records were set, but a lot of miles were ran! Stephen O'Neal from Bentonville AR ran 39.4 relentless miles and took first prize.
Tulsan Shannon McFarland ran 37.9 miles for second place.
Christian Moore from Bentonville AR took third place running 37.4 miles.
For the women, a girl from West Sacremento, CA took home first prize. Crystal Whitlow was visiting her grandmother in McAlister OK and decided to drive up and run our race. 32.2 miles later, she won the 6 hour event.
A Tulsan and T-TOT regular Shannon Ijams ran 30.7 miles--good enough for second place.
Another Arkansas runner, Jody Lingbeck from Rogers took third by running 28.1 miles.
I am impressed by the out-of-start runners--Utah, California, and even Arkansas running our race. That Arkansas bunch has been giving us a clinic for the past couple of years.
A cool thing happened during the awards ceremony. Stephen O'Neal was so impressed with a duo of runners--none other than Brandon and Cameron Plate aka Thing 2 and TrailGoat, and Stephen gave them his first place trophy. The Plate brothers ran a whopping 30.2 miles at the ages of 9 and 10. (Now hear me out on this--we need to encourage these boys and help them train, feed them right, and then maybe we can send them to Arkansas to WIN some of THEIR races--ya think??) Seriously, thank you, Stephen, for your kindness.
So, as promised, here are several pictures I took with my Canon (and a couple I swiped from blogs and Facebook.)
This group is a bunch of SnakeRun regulars. Cindy, Carmie, and Teresa are no strangers to the Snake Run. Mary, Linda, and Meg are a bit newer to the field, but they looked primed and ready to go.
Arena is looking to better her performance last year when she outlasted all but two of the women in the six hour event, and took home the third place trophy. This year, she ran more miles, and finished with more miles than either of her competitors last year. But this year, we did not have snow, and the field never dwindled. Still, she has improved and increased her endurance and will tackle the Lake McMurtry 50K in two weeks.
Here's a couple of characters. K2 is goofing around with his watch. Tom is just goofy.
Fellow geocacher and joke writing genius Catherine is looking to do her longest race ever!! Rumor has it that she is not only tossing her hat in the ring for LMTR 25K, but is also considering a 50K at Pumpkin Holler.
Another geocacher, and blogger, my friend Alan. He has slowly been pulled into the cult of trail running. So much so that he will most likely find his way to Stillwater to run in maybe the 25K at LMTR. It's a sickness.
The leader of the TOTs. A group of ladies who really need to remain nameless, wanted to rip the jersey off of Stormy's back. Not that he is sexy or anything--they just wanted the jersey.
My friend Chrissy. I am so glad to have her back running, and she ran the whole 6 hours with my lovely wife. She is expecting again, and Dana made sure she took it easy and ate and drank enough to keep her fueled.
More good friends--Rob and his daughter Katie. Rob brought me an ULTRA sticker, which I like, and several pairs of socks which I love!! Rob is a pleasure to run a few dozen miles with. He keeps a spirited conversation going and is a great encourager. A pep talk personified.
A couple of fast girls--Shannon and Brynna. Shannon took 2nd in the 6 hour race. Might have prevented an out-of-towner sweep.
K2 invited the 5-Hour Energy folks to our race, and they set up a booth and gave out a lot of their product. I use 5-Hour at most of my races. I am now wondering if they'd like to be at ALL of our races. maybe some sponsorship agreements??
Brynna floats across the rocks.
Thing 2 and TrailGoat lead a train of runners. Give it up, guys. You can't keep up with them.
Janine and Karrie set the pace for the next wave of trail runners.
Go Tom go!! Tom has matching bandanas and gaiters.
Jen, on the right, seems to be enjoying this trail-running thing. I hear she is jumping up to the 25K at lake McMurtry. Doing the 25K rather than the 12K means she will have to cross the Leap O' Doom.
K2 does some high stepping. He is leaving on a long out of the country trip again. :-( We'll miss you, Ken.
Rock Star and supermodel Kate come cruising through.
Next is Alan, who is probably thinking this would be a good area for a geocache.
It's early. Arena is smiling. After 5 hours and even six hours she was still smiling. I like that.
Dana and Chrissy come through steady. They maintained a sub 15 minute mile for much of the day.
After the three hour event, and after the medals were distributed, I visited with my friends Mike and Rod. Mike is semi-new to trail running and has it bad. He has this passion--and I understand that.
Talk about minimalist shoes!! He runs in aqua shoes--shoes that make VFFs seem like hiking boots. Then, for his finishing laps, he puts on these home-made looking sandals and ran a few FAST half mile loops. I know--I ran a loop with him and barely kept up!
Here's a couple of boo boo pix. A little dirt, a little blood. It's all good.
A nice blood shot. This is Dirty Guy, who now is aka Bloody Guy.
Brandon and Cameron as they are being recognized for running over 30 miles. Their furthest run before this run was 15.5 miles for Cameron and 13.1 for Brandon.
Not sure what the story behind this picture is. Lyle is on a tear right now, going for 10 stars in Marathon Maniacs. He will achieve this level in the next few months.
Here's a man with a belly full of BBQ and beer. Observe the big grin on his face. He just ran 24 miles. He should be in pain. That just goes to show that good food and beer can fix anything.
Kirk ran his butt off--and today was his birthday. That's exactly what I want for my birthday--to just run.
Ok ok. I have to post it. Here is the Arkansas contingent. They all took home trophies. Congratulations. Do you have any slow runners in Arkansas???
"CAKE CAKE!!! I WANT CAKE!!!"
Jeff and Amelia huddle out of the rain. We had a brief shower right as the 6-hour event ended. Amelia, the Rhinestone runner, customized her snake shirt. It has to be the coolkest shirt ever.
I feel bad that I don't have a better picture of Candice. I'll work on that next time. Nothing to worry about here--she is picking up empty cups and helping clean up. Thank you again.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This actually is not Candice, but is Kate. I guess I don't have a picture of Candice :-(
I need to schedule a photo-shoot and get a collection of pics for later blog posts.
My aid station crew-second shift. Sandra, Paula, and Pat ran the show from noon to 3:00.
Not sure what is tickling this bunch. I hope I am not the brunt of the joke. :-)
These are about half of the pics I have. I will probably do a Facebook album in the next week--if I have time. Thanks again to all who helped, and to all who ran. Let's do it again next year, shall we?