Saturday, July 31, 2010

Speedgoat 50K Report

I’m a bit ashamed to admit, I’ve never watched an ultra or volunteered at a race. Today at the Speedgoat 50K at Snowbird, UT, I got to do both.

My first assignment of the day was handing out socks at registration with Brian Kamm. I must admit, a task that was rather well suited for my groggy state at 5:30 am – pretty simple, “small, medium or large for you?”

At 6:30 the racers were off. From the starting line I could see Luke Nelson pulling the lead group of runners up the Gad access road. I wasn’t yet sure what my volunteer assignment would be, and was told I would be assigned as needed at the top of the tram. While most of the volunteers took the 7:00 am tram up to Hidden Peak, I wanted to run up to the top. So I set off for Hidden Peak via a more direct route than the runners were taking so I could watch the race unfold from the top.

About 100 family, friends and running enthusiasts were at the top waiting for the lead runners. As I reached the summit an eager aid station volunteer congratulated me on being in first place. Yeah – I wish… First to the top was Luke Nelson, passing Nick Clark in the final yards, with Kevin Schilling close behind. As I ran with Kevin to the top he remarked about Luke, “he’s bustin it…”

There was a considerable gap before the other lead runners started coming in. It was great fun watching my MRC friends and other favorite runners come up the Little Cloud traverse and on up to the tram; Erik Storheim, Greg Norrander, Rich McDonald, Jared Campbell, Jared Inouye (who has finally decided he looks good in plaid) Glen Merrill, Pat McMurtry (who by the way – looks great in tie-dye), Chuck Konopa, and Jeff Bertot.

It was then suggested that the Larry’s Hole aid station might be in need of assistance. So I ran backwards down the course to Larry’s Hole. There I met Kevin Lawlor who was captain of the station and put me to work. At Larry’s Hole I got to see and meet many of the middle of the pack runners. I was surprised at how many were already somewhat wrecked at mile 10?? Yeah – Speedgoat 50K is a definitely a tough course. And Kevin – good luck at Katcina Mosa next weekend!

Almost as much fun as watching the race was listening to Karl Meltzer and Missy Berkel on the radio. Can I just say – the Speedgoat 50K is not enough race for the both of you. And, I’m glad the two of you are good friends – but anything more than that would be DISATEROUS!

Once volunteer reinforcements arrived I ran up to the tunnel so I could watch the runners climb out of Mineral Basin. What a treat watching the distance between Kevin and Nick ebb and flow from a few feet to 50 or so yards. Both looked strong on the climb and looked good at the tunnel aid station. By this time, Luke was about 15 minutes behind. I was impressed to see how Greg Norrander had climbed the hill. He was now in 6th place. He had moved up approximately 20 places since I had seen him at Larry’s Hole. When I asked him how he was feeling he simply replied, “I feel great. This is the race I wanted to run.”

I then ran up to the top of the tram hoping to see the lead runners summit Hidden Peak a second time. Just as I got to the ridge I saw Kevin coming up the trail and ran with him to the aid station. He looked great and said that he was feeling strong. When I inquired if he felt he could keep his lead on the downhill, he said, “I think so.”

After watching Nick go through the aid station I knew I needed to get scooting if I wanted to see the finish. I began following Kevin and Nick down Little Cloud absolutely amazed at how easy they made the descent look and how quickly they gapped me. Good thing I was able to cut the course and make a beeline for the finish in time to see Kevin cross the line.

Kevin finished in a record time of 5:43. Nick was just four minutes behind. As a comparison, last year’s winning time by Erik Storheim was 6:12 (although people who ran both this year and last year, felt that last year’s course route and conditions were more difficult). Luke finished in third place. Greg Norrander finished 5th in 6:28 and Erik Storheim and Rich McDonald fished in 8:38

So watch for Speedgoat the long version at Wasatch – where Kevin, Nick and Luke will be duking it out again. I think the goats will be racing...


FastED said...

You did it all! With a speedy report to boot. Good to hear Kevin, Nick, and Luke rubbing elbows. They don't come any faster downhill than ol Kevin. And Nick is no slouch either. Wish I could be at Wasatch to watch this year.

Erik said...

It sounds like you ran your own version of the Speedgoat. What was your time? Thanks for all the help!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Those are some seriously short shorts that Erik's wearing. He'd look just like Tony Krupicka if he was running shirt-less.

Erik said...

They're pretty sweet, huh? If you're interested, you could probably talk to this guy about getting something similar.

MOCKBA said...

OK, I gotta get the shorts for some future run. Since I was already going shirtless anyway, and really wished I could get rid of the rest of the "layers". At least getting the shorts to the bare minimum ... ahem

Thanks for your super quick report Erik! I did miss those socks :( but didn't miss the great camaraderie spirit of the day

Erik said...


Credit for the race report goes to Jay, not me.
Nice to see you out there yesterday

peter said...

Wish I had stuck around to see the Speedos.

Missy B. said...

uhm--not sure what you mean by it being "not enough race for us..." hope that means we would do well with the challenge of managing an even bigger race. the backcountry aid stations definitely lend some challenge to organizing this one, and we are lucky to have the nice folks at Snowbird to help us out. Butch has provided our radios for the last 3 years, and i've gotta say we wouldn't be as functional without them. this is the second year that i've been "allowed" to carry a radio, and i've killed batteries both years and had to switch out to a new radio half-way through the day because of all my yammering. we had a great group of volunteers this year, and thanks for being one of the very early risers to hand out the socks! see you next year.

Chuck said...

Thanks for helping out at the aid stations and cheering us on. By the time I reached the tunnel, I couldn't run any uphills without cramps coming on. the shade the tunnel offers!

Glen said...

Thanks for the aid support, Jay! Had a kick watching you sprint down to Larry's hole. You were definitely moving faster than the crowd at that point!