Yesterday’s Cruisers’ W&OD Trail 45-Miler Ultra Marathon was a huge success and I’m pretty sure that everyone who participated had a good time!  I’m sending out a huge thank you to everyone who helped me pull off this event with such great success!

Here’s a little history that I haven’t shared with you on why I decided to put this event together and in such a short amount of time.  If you remember, one Saturday in May my oldest son, Joseph, went out for a long run and ended up running 26.2 miles by himself.  He set a goal to run an ultramarathon this year, but by that time all of the spring ultras had passed and he didn’t want to wait until fall to run it.  As we were sitting around the dinner table discussing his conundrum, I said, “Why don’t I create a 45-mile point-to-point ultra on the W&OD Trial?” and an event was born!  What a mother will do for her child!  πŸ™‚

July is pretty hot in Virginia and one would have thought that I would want to have the Cruisers running in the shade during the hot afternoon sun if at all possible.  The western half of the W&OD Trail is shaded, and eastern half is not.  It would have made the most sense to start on the eastern end of the trail at mile zero in the cooler early morning and run west toward the shaded part of the trail in the afternoon; however, as you can see on the elevation map below, we would have been running uphill the majority of the time.  I opted with a west to east “downhill” run starting at mile marker 45 (actually 44.82).

WODTrailElevationChart
I took a gazillion pictures along the run yesterday.  If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I run my long runs “fartlek style.”  I often stop to take pictures, and then have to sprint ahead to catch the other runners…  And that pretty much sums up my run yesterday!  πŸ™‚

Bill dropped Joseph and me off in Purcellville at the start, and we took off for Shirlington in a humid mess of foggy soup without remembering to take a picture.  Bill took off in the SUV to crew for us along the way.  We ran at a pretty good pace (maybe 9:30’s) and forced ourselves to take a short walk break every ten minutes or so.  I tweeted our progress along the way using #CruisersUltra.

W&ODTrailUltraJosephRunning
In the middle of nowhere, this little American flag just made me smile..

W&ODTrailUltraFlag

The horses came out to cheer us on…

W&ODTrailUltraHorses

Kim and Amanda were the first Cruisers to join us.  We met them coming toward us at Mile Marker 40, and I took this photo a couple of miles later at Clarks Gap at my favorite stone bridge!

W&ODTrailUltraKimAmanda

I had the “Cruisermobile” stocked full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut bars, bananas, grapes, Shot Blox, Swedish fish, water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, towels, paper towels, cold packs, Body Glide, sun screen, changes of clothes, and the list goes on…  Bill and I took turns driving it to crew for the other runners; and when we weren’t driving, we were running alongside Joseph.

W&ODTrailUltraTailgateFood

As you can see, the western part of the trail is very rural, wooded, and has a lot of wildlife.  This deer just watched us as we passed her.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the fox that went running by a little bit later.

W&ODTrailUltraDeer

Here’s one of the many farms that we ran by…

W&ODTrailUltraFarm

And a grown-over silo and barn…

W&ODTrailUltraSiloBarn

After Kim and Amanda left us, Joseph and I continued to run alone and Bill snapped this picture of us when we stopped for a sandwich and drinks near Mile Marker 32.5.

W&ODTrailUltraDebJoseh

We meet Cruiser Bob and his wife Bobbie on the bridge over Goose Creek.  They came out on their bikes to support the runners, and we saw them two different times.

W&ODTrailUltraBobBobbie

Just as I finished my first 15.5 mile leg at Mile Marker 29.5, Vamshi and Amit were waiting to join Joseph to run a short leg with him.  Bill and I crewed together to the next stop for the only time all day.

W&ODTrailUltraJoeVamshiAmitBill

My BRF Susan had this sign waiting for Joseph around Mile Marker 28.  Isn’t she the BEST, and don’t you just love the shorts she’s rocking?

W&ODTrailUltraSusanSign

After the sign presentation and some wild cheering, Susan and her hubby Larry ran with Joseph for several miles…

W&ODTrailUltraLarrySusanJoseph

Bill jumped on the trail with them at Mile Marker 27.5 at Carolina Brother’s BBQ.  Boy did that place smell good!  Julie joined us at that point and crewed with me for a while before she jumped on the trail.

W&ODTrailUltraPartlowsGroup

Cruiser Beth and her hubby Tom met us at Mile Marker 17.  Beth brought cold wet towels for the runners, and chocolate chip cookies for me!  She hopped on the trail and Tom crewed with me for two stops.

W&ODTrailUltraWetTowels

Tom and I got to chill in the shade of my hatch for several minutes until the runners arrived.

W&ODTrailUltraTomCrew

At Mile Marker 11.5 Meagan’s dad Roger joined us on his bike to crew and stayed with the runners for about four miles.  He took the following two pictures for me.

W&ODTrailUltraMM10

Joseph is looking good with ten miles to go, and Bill is just starting a walk break…

W&ODTrailUltraBillJoseph

I jumped back on the trail at Mile Marker 5 and finished the rest of the course.  I got this picture of Joseph and Julie on a walk break with only four miles to go.

W&ODTrailUltraFourMiles

The W&OD (Washington and Old Dominion) Trail is built on an old railroad bed and there are various train related signs and items along the trail.  This is Bluemont Station near the eastern end of the trail.

W&ODTrailUltraBluemontStation

My friend Skippy from MilesRun Group joined us on her bike at Mile Marker 5 and finished with us.  Skippy rode ahead and turned to take these pictures of us finishing.

W&ODTrailUltraGroupRunningFinish

A well deserved high five low five as Joseph finishes 45 miles, his first ultra!

W&ODTrailUltraFinishHighFive

Happy Cruisers at the end of a very long day!

W&ODTrailUltraGroupFinishSign

Here’s my Joseph right after he finished.  I couldn’t be prouder!

W&ODTrailUltraJoesphFinish

Joseph was lucky enough to have someone running with him the entire distance.  Here are the total miles run by each of the Cruisers who joined in on the fun:

Joseph – 45 miles
Bill – 26.5 miles
Deb – 20.5 miles
Julie – 18.5 miles
Beth – 15 miles
Kim – 11.5 miles
Amanda – 11.5 miles
Susan – 10 miles
Larry – 6 miles
Janet – 6 miles
Vamshi – 3 mile
Amit – 3 mile

 

  • Questions:
  • Who’s coming to run it with us if we do an ultra again next year?
  • Would you rather run in the heat and humidity or freezing cold and windy?

 

Happy Running! ~ Deb