Massanutten Mountain Trail 100


Sitting on a rock pouring water over my head was definitely not the place I wanted to be in with 30+ more miles to cover. Yet, there I was after slowly grinding to a halt as the climb steepened. I simply felt like I could not keep moving forward at this point. After several minutes Dan Rose (who was my pacer for the last 40 miles) told me that we were almost at the top of the climb and it was only about a mile downhill to the aid station from there. I think this was just his polite way of telling me I should get moving. Figuring it would be good to at least get to the aid station, I summoned the strength to grunt up the final stretches of the climb before slogging my way downhill to the aid station where I proceeded to head straight for a chair.


While rubbing ice on my head and drinking some iced coke I began to contemplate my fate. Having dropped out of MMT 100 several years ago, I was determined to finish, even if that did mean walking for the next 30 miles. As I was sitting there, Adam Lint soon passed quickly through the aid station. This was enough to spark my competitive fire, and provided some motivation to get moving again. Despite some questions from the aid station and my Mom (who was my crew for the day) as to whether or not I was OK to continue, Dan and I soon started our potentially very long walk toward the finish. Heading up the climb out of the aid station I took in a few gels and was slowly starting to feel some energy returning.


By the top of the climb, we caught and passed Adam who looked to be having a rough stretch of his own. Over the ensuing miles of alternating between hiking and running along an incredibly rocky ridge my energy was finally coming back. The possibility of a very long walk to the finish was diminishing, and thoughts of trying to chase down the leader, Jason Lantz, began to fill my head. By the next aid station (mile 77) I was finally feeling back to normal, and was ready for the final push to the finish. Here the aid station workers said that Jason was about 17 minutes ahead. Knowing that the next 9 miles were a fairly difficult section, and that anything can happen late in a 100 mile race, the chase was now on in full force.


As we headed down the road into the second to last aid station (mile 88) Dan and I both felt we had run the previous section at a good pace and likely took some time out of Jason's lead. We figured that if we were within 10 minutes it was worth making every effort possible to try to take the lead. Upon arriving at the aid station we were told Jason was now 30 minutes (!) ahead. With only 14 or so miles left I figured there was essentially no chance of catching Jason and was happy to just cruise into the finish from this point. No longer being in much of a hurry, I took plenty of time at the aid station, enjoying some noodle soup along with some other bits of food. While enjoying a nice break and some food, before long some lights were spotted coming down the road to the aid station. This reminded me that I did still have another several hours of running to go, and that, although Jason appeared to have a lock on first, there was still a race going on for second place.


Determined not to give up second place without a fight, I pushed hard for the next several miles to open up a fairly solid gap over third. Dan and I soon reached the final aid station. After a quick stop we were back on the trail for the final climb and descent. The final section of trail passed quickly, and we soon reached the final section of dirt road, where Dan mentioned something about it being roughly 2 miles (it was actually closer to 4) to the finish. A quick glance at my watch showed 19:43, and I figured a sub-20 hour finish might be possible if I really pushed the final 2 miles. After about 15 minutes of suffering, and the finish still no where in sight, I gave up any hope of finishing under 20 hours. Figuring there was no need to introduce any more suffering at this point in the race, I reduced the effort considerably and enjoyed a nice easy jog for the final miles. Several miles later I eventually reached the finish, where I crossed the line in 20:19. Jason Lantz had a fantastic run all day and finished well ahead in 19:33. A big congratulations to him on a great run. (see full results here)


Anyone looked for a difficult 100 miler should consider Massanutten. With its abundance of rocks it is certainly one of the harder 100 milers out there. The Virginia Happy Trails Running Club do an excellent job putting on the Massanutten 100. The entire course was well marked and the aid stations well stocked and run by friendly volunteers. A stellar post race barbecue all day Sunday capped off the weekends festivities. While I missed out on my pre-race goal of running under -20 hours, I greatly enjoyed the race and hope to return again in the future.

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