Yesterday race director Terri Hayes hosted The Enoree Passage 40 Mile Run which was the 2nd race in her five part S.C. Ultra Trail Series for 2010. The weather was incredible with starting temps in the 50's and a forecasted day of sun and a high of 70 degrees.
Sorry, I didn't bother lugging the camera along on this 20 mile out-n-back course, but I will try to break the terrain down for you.
The race began at The Brickhouse Recreation Campground Area near Union, S.C. This is the same spot where the Buncombe 34 mile race takes place, except this route takes you North instead of South.
I'm guessing about 60 runners showed up to start the race. It was to see new & old friends before the run. I'm always amazed at the diversity of runners before a race. Some are out to "race" and even win the event, while others are just out for a stroll in the woods. I always find myself more as a "stroller". I'm often stressed out at work & home to finish, get stuff done, be here, be there at a certain time. I refuse to let that spill over into my love of running. Thats just the way I look at it. I know that everyone is different.
This would be my 14th ultra run and I still found myself with butterflies at the start line. I hope that I always feel like that before a race. Terri started us off running at 7:30 AM and the herd hit the trail moving.
This is what a lot of the single track looked like along the trail. During the first 5 miles we traveled through lush green forests, across a few roads and even ran for a small bit on asphalt.
Terri had the aid stations placed about five miles apart so I never went long without having a cold drink. I did carry two handheld bottles. One bottle had water, the other had either Heed or Clip2. I worked in some Hammer Gels and a few light snacks every hour to keep strong.
The course took us over three swamp bridges, a few river bridges, and numerous other water crossings. We even had the privilege of running across two earthen lake dams that were beautiful.
The 20 mile turn around point seemed to come quick at about 4:20. The turn around point was on a peninsula that went out into a lake with a big gazebo. The cool wind felt so good through this section. I thought about sitting down for a minute, but decided to keep moving.
I knew from prior runs on the trail that the 20 miles going back was going to be tougher than the first half. There are several moderate climbs heading back and I was a little fatigued from the first 20. Just don't think about it and run to the next aid station - that is what I thought during the 2nd half.
It was a pleasure to meet & run with Psyche. She is an experienced runner and was taking her first shot at the ultra distance. She said that she was nervous, but it never showed! Sam was also taking her first shot at a 40 miler. She finished strong and did great! It was fun to run with fellow GUTS runner Charles R. and a few others who's name I can't recall. I was finally able to meet Cheri at the start as well.
There were several runners getting off course during the day and I noticed that nearly all of the trail markings had been pulled down. I was fortunate enough to stay on course the entire run. I think that is a first for me!
I ended up finishing around 9:10 and I was very pleased with my race and time. I ran more in this ultra that I ever have before. I would break it down to about 80% running and 20% walking.
Thank you again to Terri and all of the great volunteers who made the race a success!