The Snake Run seemed to slither in quietly this year, getting here a few weeks sooner than I wish. I felt like I was behind schedule, short on volunteers, and possibly a bit overwhelmed. I was up at 5:00 am, and by 6:00 am, it seemed unlikely that we would have the aid stations in place by race time. Mitch and I set up the TATUR arch in the cold predawn blackness. Shorty arrived right at 6:30, and I put her in change of setting up the tables for registration, and headed out to deliver aid station stuff on the course. One trip to the house, and I was greeted by Scott Moore who was there to help with whatever. I snagged him and we got the turnaround tent and tables set up, and the supplies delivered.By the time I got back to the start/finish, several more volunteers were there, and everything was moving along smoothly--with a good 30 minutes to spare. Maybe my stupor was just that--a sleep deprived under-decaffeinate stupor.
A Facebook friend Muki Meme and I chatted a bit before the race, She came from Wichita, and had signed up last year but was not able to make the trip due to an injury. She was gearing for a marathon this day, but slipped in a slick muddy patch, and badly stretched her hamstring and had to drop after a lap and a half. Still--it was good to meet a Facebook friend.
At 9:00 am sharp, we sent the 6-hour runners off. 36 signed up, and 34 started.. All 34 completed at least one lap.
The 3-Hour race was better attended, with 92 registered and 85 starters. The 3-hour race started promptly at 9:15.
The format of the race is not how fast you can run a certain distance, but how far you can run in a set amount of time--in this case, 3 or 6 hours. The race is run on the Snake Trail, which gets it's name because it winds and twists and turns, and might from an aerial view resemble a snake. (At least that's what we tell prospective runners who are iffy about signing up because of their morbid fear of snakes!)
The course is 3.75 mile loops, which are really modified out-and-backs. The trailz have a few rocks and roots, but is virtually flat with very little ascent and descent.
Runners hit the aid station on the course at one mile, 2.1 miles, 3.1 miles, and then they hit the start/finish at 3.75--and then do it all over again. We were blessed this year with awesome volunteers. Susan Melon Westmoreland, Bryan Carpenter, Geoff Simpson, and Justin Franklin manned this station on the course. I heard a few reports of people hitting the aid station at mile 1, and then the other side of the station at 2.1 and were confused, thinking they were at a different aid spot, yet the workers were the same ones. Then they reversed directions and hit it again from the other side. It must have seemed like the Twilight Zone. It's kind of fun to see delirious runners so perplexed.
The highlight of the out and back aid station and the start/finish were Dana's bacon chocolate chip cookies. Tammy Cryer thought so, and I swiped her picture. There were about 3 dozen cookies left after the race. They are almost gone now. I need to buy a new belt. Dana again stocked all the aid station kits, and ran the start/finish aid station. It would be super hard to put on this race without her.
When the runners had ran a few laps, and had more time but not enough to run 3.75 more miles, there was a half mile short loop where runners could tack on some additional mileage. There was a bit of strategy here. Tackling a 3.75 mile loop, and finishing even a couple seconds past the end of the time period, and the whole lap would not count. But if you executed your last lap well, you might actually gain a bit more ground on a competitor doing the short loops. It's a gamble. Counting the short loops gets hectic. I was on short loop counting duty, and the new numbers were much more visible than in years past. That coupled with fewer runners than in years past made for flawless results.
The 3-Hour race winners: Katie Kramer Ochoa (left) won first, running 21.25 miles. Katie Whelan (center) was second, running 19.25 miles. Sharon James (right) took third with 18.75 miles.
The trophies--these intensely scary rattlesnakes. My taxidermist did a great job on them.
But there was still a race going on. The 6-hour runners ran until 3:00.
Did I mention that there were TWO aid stations? This year, a BANDIT aid station cropped up. Jason Bement and family were serving up real moonshine, home made bourbon, Fireball, Jack Daniels, homemade wine, several craft beers, lime-a-ritas, and some cheap beer, Not every runner stopped at the Bandit aid station, but those who did often stayed a while.
I'll have to say, the bourbon was the best I've ever had.
Some trail angels had preformed some trail maintenance in the past few days, making rock bridges over some of the boggy areas on the west side of the Snake Loop.
More than one person told me about the NEW Oklahoma rock. Thank you Michelle Bates for taking it's pic.
Candi Paulin (left)from Kansas was second until near the end of her last full lap, but she made a move and caught up about a mile to Eventual second place finisher Melena Mayes. Candi tacked on a couple more short loops, and almost scored another lap, but missed the buzzer for the last lap. She finished with 34.75 miles. A half mile behind her, Melena Mayes (center) nailed down 2nd place, Any Arnstrong (right) finished third with 31.5 miles.
This years shirts were a throwback to the first Snake Run in 2008. My sister-in-law Sharon Childress designed this. It's Dana's favorite shirt. The medal doubles as a bottle opener.
Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition friends Erin and Colon Tawney helped all day long, not even thinking about leaving. They helped pack things up, and were awesome. Also Laurie Biby, who spent her birthday weekend taking pictures for us was once again brilliant with her photography skills. Wes Rupell and Michelle Bates helped out at the start/finish too, Mike Rives helped out too, but migrated out to the bandit aid station where he felt like he fit in better.
Mitch Drummond timed our race again this year, and did a great job. Brian Hoover showed up and selflessly volunteered his time helping Mitch and I with the timing. Thanks to all my awesome volunteers, ones who give up their day so their friends can have a good race. And congrats to all my friends who ran and had fun with us.