Oct 08 2008
The drive over to Churchville, VA Friday morning on Rt. 250 allowed some time to savor the early fall colors and appreciate the rugged beauty of the Appalachians. I stopped at Dowells Draft aid station where the course crosses 250 to run a short section and check out the aid station at mile point 22/79. I wondered how things might be at this quiet little woods road after running 79 miles.
The race start/finish was at Camp Shenandoah Boy Scout Camp. After lunch and a detailed race briefing by RD Clark Zealand there was time to rest and prepare. My crew of Bill Potts and Adam Casseday arrived in the afternoon full of plans and encouragement.
The course is an out and back with two short spurs to peaks where runners must punch their bib number. It is interesting how different the same course can be in light and dark. I almost never get off course on a run, but I managed to this time. Around mile 40 I turned right at a T instead of left and ran for 25 minutes before realizing I had not seen any markers…duh. I climbed back up the ridge to find the course markings. The stupidity and the 50 minute loss really got to me. With dawn things started looking better and finally reaching Bill and Adam at the turn-around at mile 52 meant I was on my way home. The legs were getting tired as I rolled in to the North River Gap aid station where Adam would join me for the last 34 miles. Bill helped me change socks, refuel and we were off. Adam and I ran well till I started to bonk around mile 75. I came into the Dowells Draft aid station feeling spent. Potts was there to fix me up with soup and sandwich and false words like “you look good Lehmann”. Next was a long slow climb at sunset up Crawford Mt. At the top the world started looking better and with the wind at my back and Adam’s excellent pacing the last 20 miles clicked by.
Seeing the lights across the lake a mile from the fiinsh was a welcome sight. I owe a great deal to Bill and Adam who hung with me for 28 hours.