Friday, June 15, 2007

My Mohican

I wish I had more time for this post but time has run out.

Tomorrow's Mohican Trail 100 Mile race marks the fourth year involved and the first as a racer.

I developed the marathon bug upon moving to Ohio four years ago. Soon thereafter I discovered the local ultramarathon races: Mohican Trail 100 and Buckeye Trail 50km. It was here in 2004 that I got my first taste of the outrageous endeavor that is called the ultramarathon. I feel extremely honored to now become a Mohican participant. With only hours until race I have a million thoughts to process. I had wanted to pen some of my feelings.

I have dozens of stories on how arrived at this day. I can't possibly recall, nor recognize, all the folks that helped me get here. I owe my gratitude to many running enthusists here in NE Ohio--volunteers, runners, store owners, and friends--that I've shared a few miles with over the years.

Here's a sampling of my Mohican experience:

After enduring my first Ohio winter and Cleveland Marathon, it did not take long for me to discover NE Ohio's local treasure: The trails of the Cleveland Metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Guided by the Sunday morning Vertical Runner trail runs, I quickly developed my affection for trail running. Dirt is good and mud even better.

My first encouter with an ultra race of any type was the 2004 Mohican 100. At the time, my ambition was next month's Buckeye Trail 50km. My interest in the ultra led me to Loudonville and the Mohican Wilderness. As a new member of the Cleveland West Road Runners, I volunteered for the South Park aid station (M15) and also as a pacer later in the night.

Although it was my first time going past the marathon distance, I accompanied Jody C., from Arizona, to her first 100 mile run. I was scared of the task and barely said a word for the 35 miles we shared. Jody finished strong just over 23 hours and 2nd woman overall.

Soon thereafter I completed my first ultramarathon at the BT50km and I've been fascinated ever since.

This year I came down to Mohican a day early to help mark the course. I wish I had time to list all the names, but these folks deserve much credit for the work they do to prepare the course. During the race, I returned to the South Park aid station to volunteer at M15. Later in the race, I joined my friend Dave P. and accompianied him for the last 40 miles to his first 100 mile run. We spent a lot of time with Mike H. from Texas. Dave and Mike finished together in 25 hours.

Last year, I continued the tradition and volunteered not only at South Park, but also at Landoll's Castle (M5.) In the hottest of weather (mid 90s by mid-afternoon) I spent the day crewing for Tonya B. before joining Tommy T. (from KY) for the last part of his race. The heat did not beat Tommy as he managed to best 24 hours on a brutally hot day.

The local ultra community has been very kind to me. I regret not having more time to go back and thank everyone who helped me as an ultrarunner. There is however, one special runner, whom I really admire for his continued excellence here. Its my honor to join TJ Hawk on his 10th Mohican this weekend. I've shared a few miles over the years with TJ at the various races. He's never hesitated to share his experience and wisdom. I will cherish sharing a few words with him, as well as the rest of the NE Ohioans, after the run is over.

Well, I'm out the door now. You can say that I've been looking forward to this day for some time now. Four years, I suppose.

This year is My Mohican.


Blogger TriSaraTops said...

Happy Trails, Lloyd! I hope you have a wonderful experience and race. Can't wait to hear all about it! Looks like the weather will be perfect for you!

4:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home