This weekend, while lots of my friends are at OKC running on pavement, I'll be in Independence KS on the trailz of the Elk City Reservoir watching my trail friends run 101K on one of the hardest trail races in this part of the states. FlatRock is the twisted brainchild on one Eric Steele.
Mr Steele has RD'd a 50K here for the past 19 years (and I am a proud and knighted 11 time finisher) and has put on two previous double crossings (100 and 101Ks). This will be the first year I have had to sit one out. :-( My knee is good enough to do it, but I'm trying to be smart.
As I said--this is no easy race. It is a grinder. Keep your eyes on the scenery, and you'll be thrown to the ground by an embedded rock put there since the beginning of time to flatten runners. Throw in some rain, and you'll be praying for more rocks to escape the relentless mud. This year, we will likely have mid to upper 80s to deal with. 49 brave souls are toeing the line. How many make the full 63ish miles--we shall see.
I'll be at an aid station made famous (I kid you not) by my beloved wife. The aid station formerly known as Oak Ridge is now known as Dana's Aid Station. These fine aid station volunteers will be RUNNERS this year. Jason and Melissa will not be any threat to the leaders in the race, but my monies on them to finish. Melissa has ran more miles on this course than probably anybody in the entire race, having once lived practically on the trail-head. Jason is just brain damaged enough to not quit. I really look forward to briefly hanging out with them as they pass through our oasis four times during their race.
Eric's EPIC ULTRA finish lines are amazing. Years ago, finishers were greeted by a train whistle, air horns, and people beating on trash can lids. The air horn still honks loudly and obnoxiously but the race has graduated to a laser light show at every one's finish line crossing. Knowing this is in store for every finisher, how could anyone DNF?