Monday, March 31, 2014

Prairie Spirit groupie report

The second running of the Prairie Spirit 100 (and 50) took place over the weekend. Epic Ultras served up god weather, great volunteers, and an awesome event--and this year even without epic weather was epic in the minds of most of the participants. This might be the easiest 100 miler in the USA with soft chat to run in for 98% of the way, and barely more than a thin dime's worth of elevation change. I was on the sidelines just being a fan. Ultrarunning IS a spectator sport and I had a great time just hanging out seeing my friends.

We drove up from Tulsa and got to the halfway point just before 5:00 pm--just in time to see my buddy Bill Ford. Dude hardly looked like he had ran 50 miles.

Dana and I were not the only fans out. Shelley and Lori were doing the groupie thing, while both crewing and pacing friends.

Bill and Michele refueled, and headed back north for 50 miles. We planned on following them--jumping from aid station to aid station.

More groupies--Cindy and Teresa were following and crewing Kathy and Roman.

Picture by Lindsy Wenz
My list of people I wanted to follow included several Oklahomans, a couple of Arkansans, a few from Kansas, and a herd of GOATz (Greater Omaha Area Trailrunnerz.)

My Kansas buddy and fellow Flat Rock Fool Zach Adams was doing well. He, Bill, sand Michelle were toe fastest ones I saw, although Earl Blewett and Brian Smith had hit the turnaround before I got there and were both enroute to good finishing times.

Jono looks tired, but he never seemed slow once he was running. He kept a steady pace throughout the race.

The Goatz had two groupies for each runner, or so it seemed.

Goat superstar Bobbie Ruhs rolled into the turnaround looking good.

A beautiful day was drawing to an end, giving way to colder temps. We left the turnaround at Iola,
got a bite to eat, and drove northward to Welda--some 19 miles down the trail.

We were ahead of most of the runners on my list, and we stayed here for around 3 hours.

The Trail Nerds ran this aid station. They were very well organized, and had two soup choices, and all kinds of aid station goodies. It was cold, but they had a propane space heater, and the warmth from the gas fired soup kettles made it pretty cozy.

Jason Dinkel waited for his runner. Jason and I will be running an aid station at FlatRock 101K later this month/

My buddy Tony Clak shows true grit and determination in finishing the race.

And while Tony was impersonation the incredible Hulk, Arnold impersonates an Eskimo.

69 miles, and Bill looks like he is merely out for an easy 6 on a Saturday morning.

Roman and Kathy roll into Welda looking good. Ok, Roman looks pretty sleepy.

We waited until all of my listees came in. Charlotte, Dennis, Ron, Bill C, Amanda, Bobbie, and Caroline. I had a few friends drop along the way, and Welda claimed a couple more. :-( From there, we leapfrogged two aid stations to get ahead of enough runners so we could catch a few winks. This plan worked, but I slept through seeing most of the faster runners. Kurt Egli, Jeff and Amelia Elbert, David Newman, Zach Adams, Earl Blewett, and Brian Smith buzzed through while I slept. I woke up just in time to seer Ken Saveth aka K2, and he had really came back to life. I bet he had close to a negative split, running a huge PR. HGis pacers Michelle Hancock and Travis Owen lit a fire under him and dug him out of cut-off-danger.

Next, Roman and Kathy strolled in and started grazing.

Roman had picked u a huge rock in his calf. Cindy and Dana teamed up on his poor legs, and rubbed out some of the knots in his lower legs.

With a mere 7.5 miles to go, Roman ran on in for a huge PR himself.

Again, we stayed until the last runners came through. I actually ran a couple miles waiting for the last runners. I really miss not getting to run this race.

Picture by Russell Bennett
The GOATz crew made in to the finish 30 minutes under final cutoff. Amanda nabbed her first 100 mile finish, as did Bill Colbert.; This was Ron's third, I think. Dana and I did not go on to the finish line though. We had to get home, and we were worried about falling asleep on the road.

It was tough for me to be on the sidelines--I wanted to run so bad! I think even despite a hampered knee (it is better every day) I could have ran. But I still loved being a groupie and I will go back next year to run this race--and run it well.

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