Saturday, February 15, 2014

2014 John Dick Memorial 50k

Race Report from RD and LPTRunner Robert Wehner... 

On February 1st we had the 26th running of the John Dick Memorial 50K, named after a long-time Badgerland Strider member.  This winter ultra is held on the trails in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest.  While we’ve been able to use the same layout the past few years, the weather and trail conditions have varied greatly, so the challenge is never the same.

This year has been one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record for southeastern Wisconsin.  It certainly has made recent training more difficult, and contributed to the tougher conditions runners faced on race day.  125 runners headed out on the course, in single digit temps, and 3” of fresh snow on the ground.  Our multi-loop course brought everyone back to the start/finish area 4 times during the race, before heading out on the final out-n-back segment.  There, a great group of volunteers attended to their needs (and the door to a heated shelter awaited those finished for the day).

The deeper packed snow, with the fresh on top, made conditions harder than usual; it was evident early on that it was not going to be a PR day.  We could take some solace though in the fact that it was nowhere near as bad as 2011; a blizzard a few days before the race that year resulted in the TOUGHEST CONDITIONS EVER.  So the mantra became: Hey, it’s much better than 2011!

As he did last year, Kevin Grabowski took the lead from the start, and repeated as our champion with a time of 4:34:38; Gardiner Rynne was not too far behind in second, in 4:41:35.  For the women, Jessica Garcia ran steady and won in 5:27:30, with Jennifer Rolfing a close second in 5:31:00.  Overall, we had 77 runners complete the full 50k, so it had to be much better than 2011; the finish percentage of 61.6% far exceeded the 32.4% of that year!

Despite how tough the race, and this winter has been, there was nothing but smiles and good cheer all around for the day.  Many runners stayed long afterwards, enjoying the post-race spread and the warm shelter.  Thanks to all the great volunteers who helped with the race.  Now all we need is to make it through the rest of this winter, to the warm spring that has to come eventually (it will come, won’t it?). 

Robert Wehner, RD

Full results available at the race web-page: