The race is upon us--TATUR's signature race, and Oklahoma's only 100 miler, and one of only a few 135 milers in the world. Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd. This race means a lot to me. It means lots of work packing and unpacking then packing and unpacking again after the race. It means up to 48 hours of no sleep. It means a fair amount of stress and grouchiness. But it also means pure joy in seeing people go far beyond their wildest dreams finishing 50K, 100K, and distances that most people don't even want to DRIVE! It's vacation tie for me, and I love it even with the few hours sleep for three days.
The course this year has changed due to the old Combs bridge being demolished and replaced by a boring new concrete bridge.This new bridge added 1.5 miles to the loop, so we went with that and eliminated the out and back that was repeated on the old course. To make the distance correct for each distance, a one-time out and back will be ran from the nature center on the far side of the course. It seems confusing, and maybe it will be. But it seemed the best solution for our dilemma.
The belt buckles and medals were another collaboration of creative minds. Stormy--fresh off a Western States finish, wanted to see a more traditional look for the buckles. I liked the idea of having the old Combs Bridge on the buckle. Stormy liked having an elk on the buckle because of the nickel preserve introducing elk back into the area. I still had the vulture thing going on in my head. Hasty Awards took my crude sketch and tossed it in the trash. stormy made a sketch with a layout much like what the buckles and medals look like, and hasty polished our ideas up and we ended up with the nicest buckle i have ever seen. I expected an antique brass, and it ended up more of a copper color. I was WOWed.
OK--this is a sneak peak of what awaits the conquerors of the Great Gourd Challenge. These are "like" Buffs, but they are not Buffs so we won't call them Buffs. Melon designed the fabric and sewed them into works of genius. They can be worn as a headband, a do-rag, ear warmers, neck gaiter, mouth guard, mask for holding up convenience stores, a nose hanky, a tourniquet, and in a pinch, TP. (I'll never use mine for that.)
It looks like we will have a record crowd again this year. The number of 100 milers is a little low, but the 135 mile is wy up. Other distances are at or above last year's level. The weather looks good--well maybe a little warm Saturday afternoon. Again, I am blown away and grateful for all the volunteers who seem to just love hanging out all weekend at this race. We are all blessed.
Dana is working her butt off pacing aid station kits. Wal Mart and Sams noticed a spike in sales due to our visits. We forgot Pringles!! I am practicing sleep deprivation right now--a few days before. And there's more than a days work to be done tomorrow, and it gets busier after that. But it's all worth it. To the runners signed up--get your rest, enjoy your taper, and run your heart out.