The Massanutten Mountain Trails 100

http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~sws/fun/runtales/mmt.shtml     Last modified: 07/27/01 04:46:38 PM

1st Annual
May 13, 1995
more than 16000 feet of climbing
loop course in Massanutten Mountains of Western Virginia
(between the North and South Forks of the Shenendoah River)
(start/finish at a campground near Front Royal)

approximate course breakdown:

Weather:

Numbers

estimated difficulty of this race among 100 milers:

did I know that it was going to be this tough?

fate of LANL entrants:

have i redeemed myself for DNFing at Old Dominion?

More comments...

ROCKS.

Folklore says that Eskimos have a hundred words for snow, in order to distinguish the myriad varieties of snow they encounter intimately in daily life. I predict that, similarly, MMT100 runners will develop a hundred words for "rocky trails." We had large rocks, small rocks, medium rocks covered with leaves, steep rock "steps" slick with rain, rocks with water running across them, rocks with water running down them, suitcase-sized rocks, rocks in mud... Not to mention the varieties introduced by steep uphills, steep downhills, and night.

One of my personal favorites were the rocks leading through the stream crossings. Joe Clapper may have been able to cross on these rocks, but when I got there they were six inches under water....

I also suspect that on parts of the course (like coming into Edinburg Gap), the organizers abandoned trails altogether and just marked rocky streams instead.

CLIMATE.

The organizers very thoughtfully arranged a diversity of climates to accomodate runners from all over. I recall climbing up out of Hebron Gap in Saturday's heat with water bottles full of ice, and getting a big kick out of empirically determining where on my head and neck this ice was most effective.

In Sunday's Goretex-drenching downpours, I tried another technique: filling the water bottles with chicken soup, and carrying them inside my coat...

Speaking of downpours: previous posters discussed two hours of rain. It should be pointed out that these were Horton hours -- the Old Testament weather started right after sunrise, and continued until about 11 AM...

PARASITES.

The organizers also thoughtfully provided a diversity of parasites. The deer flies weren't as prominent as on past runs in the area, but ticks provided some excitement. Runners on the way to Kennedy Peak also got dive-bombed by hopeful buzzards.

INTERNAL SOUNDTRACK.

This was my first hundred finish. (Two years ago, I DNF'd at OD at 75 miles.) For a long time, I used to think about the appropriate music for my mental soundtrack when finishing those last few miles. Pink Floyd came to mind: the "pre-sunrise" part of "Echoes," or maybe part 3 of "Saurcerful of Secrets."

When my dream of finishing the last few miles became a reality on Sunday, the music was different, and not merely internal: I was sloshing down Shawl Gap in rain, torrents of water, mud, more torrents... belting out "Singing in the Rain."

I should have realized the a serious tone would be inappropriate. Ultrarunning, especially on trails, is not a serious activity. The first big mistake is showing up at the starting line, and then it goes down from there :)

HORTON MILES.

Speaking of the finish... was it Dave Horton who measured the two miles down from Shawl?

OVERALL.

A very tough race on a very scenic and well-marked course. Had I known it was going to be so tough, I wouldn't have run it -- since I would have presumed I wasn't ready for it. But I guess I was! Next up: one of the easy 100 milers :)

The VHTRC (and numerous volunteers, like Lady G) did an excellent job!





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