Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rise Up Race Day

The fearsome foursome - Keene, Cook, Valliant, and Shilliday, post-races, sporting handsome Rise Up Coffee shirts. Photo taken by a wooden-post fence, with Joel's camera.

Our 5 a.m. meeting scheme had a different theme on Saturday, April 26. We met on Laurel Street, piled into Mike Keene's Expedition, and headed to White Clay Creek State Park, outside Newark, Delaware. Now, Newark is a nice town, and home to tax-free shopping and the University of Delaware Blue Hens, but our reason for traveling was much more in line with our morning call to run: The Delaware Trail Dawgs "Triple Crown" trail races.

"It will probably be a lot like Tuckahoe, but with hills that are three times as long," surmised Landy Cook on the ride to the race. Correct in some cases, in others ten times as long might be more accurate.

The races on tap for the day were for Joel Shilliday, the trail 10K; for Landy and Mike Valliant, the trail marathon, and for the wardrobe-changing Keene, the full "triple crown"--half marathon, then 10K, then 5K, consecutively.

Joel modeling the race shirt he received for running the last 10K he ran, which took place circa 1973 ;)

One of the most interesting aspects of race day, in retrospect, is the fact that the races had different start times--namely Joel and Mike K.'s 10K didn't start until 2 hours and 3 minutes after the half-marathon. This triggered the wanderlust, creativity, and fastpacker in Joel, who loaded up his camera and hiked all the way to the creek crossings for the half and full marathons. The shots he took along the way of the course and of Wood Frog hopping across the creek are phenomenal. Perhaps he will post more than I put up here.

Can you spot the two Rise Up Runners in this starting line shot? Photo by Joel.

In addition to being the race day photographer, Joel also ran a 56 minute 10K on a course that is likely as tough as any 10K course around.

If you want some race report play by plays, you can check out the Wood Frog's race day on his blog. If you want to hear how two times around the same course can be so different when you don't eat enough during a marathon, you can check out Valliant's trail marathon report. I'd love to hear more from Landy and Joel as well--we'll see if they throw anything up.

For me, race day highlights include catching up to Landy and running together for 6 or 7 miles during the last part of the first and beginning of the second loops. Seeing Joel hiking up the hill as we hit the half-way point, as well as his photo perch at the start of the race. Also, learning that Joel went over and jumped in the creek during his race, even though there weren't any creek crossings in the 10K! Hearing that Keene completed the triple crown and lived to tell about it. And seeing the three other RUR runners cheering at the finish line after a long day of running for me.

Everyone finished their respective races. But how about some awards? The Ironman award goes to Landy, who didn't think he was going to be able to run as late as Thursday. Friday he was going to find out if he could just run the 10K or 5K. Come Saturday, he cranked out a full marathon. Landy may also be eligible for the Hold Up award, but I won't go there...;)

Landy coming out of the woods and onto the home stretch to finish the Delaware Trail Marathon. Photo by Joel.

The Multi-Tasker/Good Samaritan award goes to Joel for going above and beyond throughout the day. I was pretty well spent, chilling on the picnic blanket at the finish line, when Joel brought over hot dogs, burgers, and iced tea for all. Best damn hot dog I've ever eaten.

And the Boundless Energy award goes to Keene, who found time to stretch, refuel, and change into clean clothes between each grueling round of the triple crown, and then was still amped after, and drove our bunch of jokers home.

Michael "Wood Frog" Keene finishing one of three races on Saturday, on his way to completing the actual "Triple Crown" of trail races, for which the day is named. Photo by Joel.

So the first trail running adventure for the Rise Up Runners is in the books. I hope there are many more like it, to also include Charlie, who was missed; Dominic, who just joined the ranks; Don, who will wait until trails aren't involved :) ; Bardsley, who is rehabbing, but active on the blogs while he works back into race form; as well as others who haven't made it out to join us yet. We are taking nominations for the next RUR race road trip!


Runners on Trails said...

Tuckerman, your success as a runner is topped by your ability to bring fine people together in perfect settings. That is only surpassed by your talent for writing. You, my friend, would be my nomination for the Sophie Kerr Writing Award.
Truly, I don't know if the others realize the magnitude of your accompliments of late, but congratulations on running a respectable TRAIL marathon, and for having your first article published in a national magazine as the FEATURE item. You've set a standard, Tucks, time to get thinking on the next feature adventure. I think we need to think about something outside the 3 hour driving limit. There is momentum going and you've got a following; don't leave us hanging.

Michael Valliant said...

You are too kind, sir. I've got a few adventure ideas percolating, we'll just have to see what plays where. I am serious about nominations for the next RUR endeavors, as they are energizing, hilarious, and fun. I think there are plenty of great stories within and around this group of boondoggles...Many thanks, as always, for the nudge.