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Stone Cats 50 Mile Trail Run 8th November 2003


Marathon and 50 Mile trail Race


8th November 2003


Ipswich State Park, Massettussettes


This is a 50 mile Trail race in Massachusetts in a place called Ipswich just 30 miles from where  I now live. The course is 4 laps around trails in a forest state park for the 50 mile course which is rolling with areas of swamp. The trails were very rough in sections running on large loose stony trail, most of the trail obviously meant roots of all sizes and shapes under foot and the trails were combination of single and double file The course was well marked and combined with the Marathon runners who do just 2 laps meant there were approx 160 starters at 6am on a freezing cold clear November morning :-)

Info on training / lack of..!!

After relocating to USA in August and buying an 8 week old Malamute that needed constant attention as all babies do, I found I was unable to pare time to go training at all... things to buy, places to see and a baby needing lots of TLC. Then a week later  succumbed to an infection which turned into a lump and was put on antibiotics whilst loads of tests taken to see what was the cause...!! Although the lump did go away after 6 weeks of antibiotics I was subjected to CT scans and X-Rays as all blood tests had come back normal... On Friday 7th, after 2 months since first detecting problem, I had the results and all was good... They were looking to see if the lump was associated with cancer and I am 100% fine, no signs of anything bad in my system and given the all clear to resume normal exercise.... just my luck seeing an advert for a 50 mile trail race decided to enter and have a go..!!

In anticipation, I had bought a new pair of shoes called "icebugs MR2" ... they are amazing..!!  With 17 steel carbide pins in the sole which after approx 100lbs pressure then become engulfed in the rubber sole provide the most awesome grip ever experienced.. they are designed for running in ice and slippery conditions and are awesome. After receiving them on the 5th, I tested insoles and found a good pair to complement my feet to provide cushioning and support and decided to wear them on race day with just 1 mile on the clock..!! Training has been very light, literally just jogging with Natasha and she started by doing just 1 mile twice a week and is no 50 pounds and able to run 5 to 15 miles a day..!!  recently we run a 5 , 8 or 11    mile loop around back lanes through the dense forest and peaked at 40 miles for last week... so not quality or quantity training..!!

My girlfriend Chance decided to come along for the day and went shopping 9pm Friday night for supplies for the race so had to settle for lots of new foods / drinks never tried before and hope they work. Plan was to run the first 2 laps of the forest / swamp in sub 4 hours and pick up Natasha to continue for the remaining 2 laps. There was a Marathon and a 50 mile race, all started together, Marathon does 2 laps and the rest do 4,, absolutely no road at all, and lots of rolling single file trail so Tasha was not allowed for the first 2 laps.

The Race

The weather was clear skies and cold.. a bit windy with the max day temperature of 3 degrees centigrade.. much better than snow or Rain..!! and at 6:30 the race director decided it was light enough to start and we were off..!! All 200 of us started on the trail which had sections of rough stones and most of the course was running on tree roots...!! so I decided to jog at steady pace in near the front. Much of the first Lap I felt I was going much too slow and the surface although rough and jarring was not having an impact on my legs so I overtook the lady I had been running with as she was slowing down and ran on my own completing the first lap in 1H 45 mins and feeling very very comfortable.... dropped off my fuel belt as it was useless today and started on the second lap which I maintained the same speed, holding back and walking up the couple of steep climbs to complete the 25 miles in 3H 48mins and without any sore or stiff legs.. but I did need to crap which I did and then needed to take on food.

The new food did not go down well... the rice puddings and tapioca were all sauce and no rice or tapioca and one mouthfull was just sickly.. as people were passing I opted for some cans of "Boost" which is a high energy nutrition drink.. slim fast with extra calories and drank 2 of the small tins before jogging off with Tasha.... and less than 1 mile later I was dizzy and faint and then puking my guts up... my stomach completely rejected the boost and after 3 pukes I had emptied my stomach and felt much better walking slowly around the course. Tasha was eager to run and pulling to chase after people as she could smell the trail but every time I tried jogging my stomach would curdle and cramp so decided to walk the food station 4 miles further... then had a beer and continued to walk the rest of the lap...but my feet and my legs were 100% fine... loads of energy and still supple as the goretex trousers had kept them warm protecting against the cold weather.

So after walking back to the start giving Tasha a 13 mile hike, I was asked if I wanted to continue as I was still within the cut off time for starting the last lap.. but with a time of 7H 50 mins I decided to call it a day and go home as Chance had been hanging around in the cold all day. If I had dropped out and settled for the Marathon then I would have been in 8th place for Marathon whilst holding back for the Ultra... not bad out of 80 but the ground was rough and very rolling. ( I think I was in 3rd place in the Ultra after 2nd lap... it really is  Nutrition.. Nutrition... Nutrition..!!




So learn't many things...!!

  1.  Don't try new foods during race that have never eaten before.

  2. The Icebug MR2 shoes worked superbly (Very lucky to get away with no blisters whilst running in Brand new design shoes)

  3. Tasha needs a new adjustable / retractable leash.. the fixed 6ft leash was clumber some and easily tangled on her legs, being tired and ill it was hard work controlling the fixed leash... the retractable leash is good as there is never any slack line to tangle in legs.

  4. I have no tightness or cramps after this race.... may be going at this pace is the right approach and next time will continue at same pace through to the finish..!!   So Tasha can still have her walks :-)

  5. The Ultra running scene  is large and very friendly... Most of the support crews / aid station workers were very happy working their way through the sponsors beer and Sambucco and vodka and anything alcoholic..!! And Why not... it was sunny and very cold and what else can you do for 12 hours in the woods??

Many runners dropped out of the race after just 1 lap as they were not used to the rough ground under foot with a couple of sprained ankles but I guess sometimes you have to accept miss-haps, learn, move on and try not to fall into the same trap again.

Tasha is now 50 pounds and is going to be an awesome companion for trail running...  need to get her a doggie rucksack so she can carry her food and drink.. you can also get doggie shoes for long rough journeys :-)






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