The Massanutten Mountain Trails 100
Last modified: 07/27/01 04:46:38 PM
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:
- 5 miles paved roads
- 10 miles gravel roads
- 5 miles dirt roads
- 80 miles of extremely rocky trails
- Saturday morning: hot
- Saturday afternoon: overcast
- Saturday night: partly cloudy
- Sunday morning: thunderstorms, heavy rain, hypothermia
- number who started: 59
- number who made it to the finish line: 31
- range of times: just under 24h to just under 35h
- typical range for a trail 100: 16h to 28h
estimated difficulty of this race among 100 milers:
- the consensus is either 2nd or 3rd.
- the Hardrock 100 is unquestionably
- The Wasatch Front 100 might be.
- (Barkley doesn't count.)
did I know that it was going to be this tough?
fate of LANL entrants:
- Blake: finished. 10th place, about 28h (don't remember)
- me: finished. 18th place, 30:48.
have i redeemed myself for DNFing at Old Dominion?
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
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...
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.
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
Speaking of the finish... was it Dave Horton who measured
the two miles down from Shawl?
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!