Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Moonlight Madness 50 Mile Run

Last Friday night I traveled to Tulsa with Tony Clark, Wichita Ultrarunner who is quite accomplished and leading his own fundraiser 224 mile run across Kansas in September for wounded veterans, to run the Tulsa’s (TATUR, Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners) first ever Moonlight Madness 50 mile run on paved bike and running trails. The run started at exactly midnight on Friday night. Each loop was 10.3 miles so the total was actually 51.5 miles. The loops were run clockwise three times and counter-clockwise twice. The loops were almost totally flat minus about 2 miles but the “hills” weren’t really that big of a deal – and I’m from Kansas!!

It was a hot and humid and still night in Tulsa. I doubt the temperature ever got below 80 degrees before sunrise. I finished the first loop pretty fast, 1:43. The second loop was quite a bit slower – I added an ice bandana around my neck to keep me cool for the rest of the way. The second loop including a couple minutes of resupplying at the end was about 2:00. Loop 3 and 4 were pretty much identical as I came in about exactly at 2 hours and then jumped in a horse trough filled with ice water to cool down my core temperature for a few minutes and then left by 2:10. I left loop 4, which was about 41.2 miles at 8:10 am (which was also the elapsed time as well) and set off for the final lap. By this time the sun had come up, but clouds covered it and the breeze picked up and the mist and rain began, thankfully. The whole night I wanted to finish under 10 hours and with and hour and 50 minutes left to finish the last loop, I knew it’d be tough but I was determined to give it my best effort.

I had run with a couple different people throughout the night. One was the Tulsa Triathalon Club’s president who had never done a stand-alone marathon and certainly not an ultramarathons, but finished the whole race 10 minutes a head of me. The other guy I ran with for 20 or more miles but I never knew his name until close to the end (Sam, I think). He was a former youth pastor at a Southern Baptist Church. The last 10 miles we were joined by Sam’s pastor who paced us almost to the end (but he couldn’t keep up the last 3 miles because we were running too fast!). He was really encouraging and friendly!

Anyway, during this loop we really hurried. We passed a lot of people! Towards the end of the loop it started raining hard and it was so refreshing. With about 3.1 miles left we only had like 27 or less minutes to finish under 10 hours so we pushed and ran hard! 9 minutes miles the last several miles and the last mile I flew – finished in 9:59:13. Out of 90 male finishers I finished 17th. Only 4 female finishers finished ahead of me. Overall there were 130 finishers out of about 180 starters so I heard.

Race Results:

Video and article Tulsa area:

The course was really well organized and put on and a lot of fun. Definitely something I’d love to do again. My first non-trail ultra. (I must admit how much I liked it!) I never even turned on my head lamp once and only carried it the first loop.

Moonlight Madness website: