More than anything, the Moose Mountain Marathon, the Superior Trail 50 and the Superior Sawtooth 100 miler are races that illustrate what I love most about Ultra-running: There are just as many amazing performances at the front of the race as there are right up to the cut-off for the last runner to finish. This year’s races illustrated that point well as we saw gutsy performances throughout.
All of the races featured a point to point format, maximizing the scenery and relentlessly tough terrain found on the Superior Trail. This year the races also all featured warm weather and humid conditions. While the air temperature was a moderate 74 degrees, the high humidity made hydration a significant challenge.
In the 100 mile, the DNF rate was unusually high early in the race with many runners having trouble getting to the night section as they struggled with cramping and nausea. Even those that made it to the night had trouble as slower times forced some to flirt with the cut-off times early on. The Superior Trail is a tough one to try to make up time on!
I ended up being the lone LPTR 100 mile finisher this year, working my way through a 28:19 in my Sawtooth debut. My time was good enough to hold on to 3rd place overall and 1st place in the Masers Division. Check out a video of the finish on Matt Patten's blog:
The casualties in the rest of the LPTR 100 mile contingency actually started before we even left. Ron Bero struggled with a 103 degree fever in the days leading up to the race and didn’t make the trip.
Brad Birkholz completed last year’s Sawtooth 100 mile a mere 2 weeks after knocking off the Lean Horse 100. This year he got caught off guard by the unexpected high humidity and stepped off at 34 miles. Brad spent the remainder of the weekend crewing selflessly and helping everyone else maximize their performances (thanks Brad!!).
Craig Swartwout, the only LPTR to complete the McNaughton 150 mile race, went into this year’s Sawtooth as damaged goods. He had been nursing an ankle sprain and some recent back problems going into the race. That, coupled with severe cramping and blisters midway through the race, had him calling it a day at 50.5 miles.
My brother Steve Grabowski, ran into some trouble early in the race as well, hitting a low spot around the 40 mile mark before regaining his composure and rallying for another 37 miles. He missed the cut-off time at the 77mile mark by 15 minutes and ended his day there.
The Lapham Peak Trail Runners had two entries in the Superior Trail 50 this year with both Deb Vomhof and Jeff Mallach entering the race. Deb and Jeff' have now completed five consecutive Superior 50's . Jim Blanchard also made the trip to Lutsen as he knocked out another trail run finish in the Moose Mountain Marathon.
Full results at: http://www.SuperiorTrailRace.com/fall/index.html