Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Otter Creek

The 2007 version of The Otter Creek Trail Runs were alot of fun. A few athletes had way to much fun a the pasta dinner. Fun that hungover into the race.

We had a cabin that slept 30 people and dining facilities for the dinner. Cynthia had made her homemade pasta sauces for the evening. It seemed that almost everyone who walked in was carrying some type of adult beverage. All of this made for a night of good friends, good drink and some of the best prerace food you will ever eat. We had a few more show up to stay the night in the cabin than expected so Cynthia and I ended up sleeping on the floor in the nature center. Let this show what I will go through for you athletes. I camp quite a bit, but never in places where I know there a poisionous snakes just a few feet away.

On race morning everything was looking good. There was a slight drizzle, but it was very warm for December. Great running weather if you don't mind the mud. We did have the threat of more serious rain latter in the day. I thought this might hinder day of registration, but it seems I put to much faith in the sanity of runners (I should know better by now). Around 60 people signed up that morning. So we started with around 250.

The course is an 8 mile loop. As far as trail runs go this loop is not too bad. Most of it is very runnable. The views are breathtaking in several areas along Otter Creek and The Ohio River. The mud had made the course much more challenging. Take a moderate hill add wet leaves and mud and things get interesting. Everything I said about the course not being too bad does not apply to the first 2.something miles the marathoners have to run. This small loop sucks on a good day. The best part of the course may be the aid station at the Blue Hole. This station is stocked with all the normal fare plus homemade cookies and other treats. Staffed by my parents Mary Janet and Jim Heady many athletes find themselves loosing time eating and socializing. Most find it is time well spent.

The race got started on time or there abouts anyway. The 16 milers started and the marathoners went their own way. The 8 milers started 10 minutes later.

The winner of the 8 miler came through in less than an hour. Jason Crosby and Tracy Lightfoot were the male and female winners. Each received a certificate for a free pair of shoes provided by Ken Combs Running Store. Winners of the 16 mile and marathlon also received free shoes as did the last runner of the day.

The 16 miler was won by Mark Morgan and Erin Harper. For the complete results check back on the website.

Things started getting fun for the marathon. Dave Arnold was the winner. After spending most of the day locked in battle with eventual second place runner Tim Barnes, Dave finished in 3:44:16 a great time for a muddy trail run. Mary Siegel was the first female. The drizzle we had started the race with kept up until about the time the fourth place finnisher crossed the line. Then it all cut loose thunder and lightning with sheets of rain. The trails quickly became creeks with spots in them in some places knee deep. That fourth place finisher happened to be Larry Holt the owner of Ken Combs Running Store, who makes this race a possibility. Things do work out well like that somedays. The photo above taken by Brian Keller shows one of the hazzards added due to the rain. Some say this photos was doctored. I was not present when it was taken and can therefore make no assumptions.

After the race all athletes were treated to an increadible meal. Homemade soups of all kinds. Chilli, bean, tomato, and red lentill. There were also homade muffins as well as cheese, peanut butter and all the usuall fruits etc. Cynthia spends weeks leading up to the race in the kitchen making the food for the weekend with her own little hands. The food itself makes this race worth the entry fee.

I would like to express how impressed with the runners I was this year. In running the trail removing all the markers and signs I found almost no trash. Each year I find myself upset with you guys the day after the race for being so inconsiderate of the trail. That was not the case this year. I was very pleased. Thank you very much. The one of you that trashed the drink containers out there please clean up your act or stick to the roads.

Since the race on Sunday we have gotten many emails praising us for a great race. We do appreciate it. Even though we do take special pride in this race and tend to go a little overboard with the food etc we are still basically just doing our jobs as race dierctors. There are others who should be given way more credit. Larry Holt and Ken Combs Running Store which I have mentioned. Larry gave the shoes to the winners as well as all the socks each marathoner received. With out this support we would have to cut corners in other areas and the race would not be the same.

Jack West and the staff at Otter Creek Park provide us with a great location and wonderful hospitality. Jack is around from the dinner of Saturday evening till clean up is over on Sunday night. He even came in on Monday, his day off, to help finish the clean up.

Hammer Nutrition is with Headfirst Performance at all of our events and we could not do it without them. They provided the gels and heed.

These are the people that support you. Please retun the favor. Purchase from them whenever possible and don't feel shy about dropping them a note to say thanks.

We also had great volunteers. My Parents, who I have already mentioned ran the aid staion. Bobby Carey and Chase Wininger were out on the course helping with traffic and keeping the aid stations stocked. Grant Wininger took photos out on the course. Brenda Gutmann handled parking before she ran herself. Stacy Jensen and Thomas Watts helped with registration and getting all the food out for the finishers, and Kim Rauen who did everything all weekend.

My special thanks to Cynthia. She takes a special pride in this event and it shows in the event that everyone sees as well as the weeks of preperation leading up to that point.