Several of our group were running long in the north country this past weekend. (Hey, Kansas is north!) And it could have just as well been the Arctic Circle as cold as it was. The race was Heartland Spirit of the Prairie, a 100 mile and 50 mile on gravel roads through the Flint Hills of central Kansas. The race started and finished in Cassoday, Kansas, a town with less population than 21st and Boulder has on a Saturday morning. Cassoday is the Prairie Chicken Capitol of the world, and lo and behold, Roman managed to capture a pic of a couple of the squawkers!
Kathy, TZ, Jason, Lisa, Roman, and Ken Saveth represented the RunnersWorld gang in the 10th running of this ultramarathon.Temps were low 30s. There was not a lot of wind at the start of the race, but boy did it ever pick up an hour or so later!Brian had a distinct interest in the outcome of this race. Seems a wager had materialized as to whether Jason, who was doing his 1st 100 miler, and Lisa and Roman, who were doing their 1st 50 milers, would finish their race. Brian was betting no, and his opposition was saying yes. The bet was, if they finished, Brian would have to wear a PINK TUTU AT THE TULSA RUN!!! OMG, this is gonna be fun! Do they make tutu's that big????(Pic courtesy of TZ's photoshop.)
The 1st hour was before dawn, and when the sun came up, it was quickly blanketed by clouds. Those of you running your early Saturday run, know this: We felt that cold wind hours before it reached Oklahoma! The Heartland course is ran across the Kansas prairie, but it is anything but flat.We were treated to hill after hill after rocky hill.
And, we had great aid stations every 6-8 miles with an occasional unmanned water drop where needed.
TZ, Ken Saveth, and Lisa turn into a fierce north wind at mile 16.
Lisa breezes through the 16.8 mile Lapland aid station. Bobby, Susan, and Dana were on crew babe duty, and kept us fueled up and revved to go.
Jason has a posse crewing him. Jason's parents Cindy and Brian, as well as his sister, uncle, and grandparents were on hand to crew, cheer, and pace. Other runners may have questioned, "Who is that guy? Some superstar?" The whole McGinnis posse waits in a tent at Matfield Green for their runner to come back through.
Roman makes the turn at Teterville, 25 miles into his race and heads back to the finish. Roman had a few aches and pains, but found himself on the way back and finished 12:54.
Lisa ran with Roman for most of the 1st half, and then pulled ahead and almost ran an even split, finishing in 12:27.
Kathy ran with happy feet most of the way....she always does. Despite dealing with some nausea, fatigue, sleep, and cold, she finished strong, 3rd woman and tied for 17th overall with Jason in a time of 24:23.
Jason and Kathy ran side by side all the way. Kathy is becoming a legend on pacing peeps in their 1st 100 miler. She's 2 for 2 doing this. Jason started in shorts, and ran with bare legs all day and all night. Crazy? Yup.
TZ and Ken Saveth ran fairly well for 43 miles, and then began to flirt with the time cutoffs. They managed to stay just ahead of the cutoffs for 5 checkpoints, and then missed a cutoff at mile 69 by 5 minutes. Ken S called it a night, and TZ with the pacing of Russell forged ahead, but failed to pick up the pace enough to make the next aid station and time and were picked up by the sag wagon. Tough night, guys. You'll get 'em next time.
One of the highlights of the event was the presence of the Crew Chicklettes. Head Crew Chicklette, Sandra has recruited Chicklettes Susan and Christin. Having people scream and cheer for you while trudging into the aid stations is so motivational. Makes me wanna run another mile....or maybe a half a mile. But the chief Crew Babe is Dana, aka TaturCakes.Dana could turn pro with her crewing abilities, and in renowned in 4 states. Crewing all night, staying awake and driving from aid stop to aid stop for 30-40 hours straight is almost as hard as running all day and night.
If you see any of these crazies, congratulate them. And think about joining in on some of the fun in the future!