Thursday, October 14, 2010

WV Trilogy 2010 - Co-RD Report

The initial idea for this unique event came in early 2009 when Dan and I made a trip to Arkansas for the 3 Days of Syllamo.  On our trip to the race, we had been seriously brainstorming and hashing out details for a 100-mile race that we would take on and direct together.  After our experience in Arkansas though, our minds were changed.  Knowing how logistically difficult a 100-miler would be to pull off, we knew that a 3-day event would be equally (or more) special and require far less resources to accomplish.  Ultimately, there is something so very special about the unguarded camaraderie and unparalleled experience of racing multi-day events - we wanted to share this with our fellow runners in one of the most extraordinary places in all of West Virginia.

When Dan and I arrived at The Mountain Institute (TMI) on Tuesday evening, the weather was quite inhospitable and the forecast was not looking good for the next day or so.  Rainy days with highs around fifty and snow overnight was not the weather we were hoping for.  We awoke on Wednesday morning to snow flurries at TMI and nearly and inch on the ground at Spruce Knob where they were dropping me off for my trail marking duties.

Kat ceremoniously helping me hang the first ribbon Wed. morning (Lehmann photo)

Wednesday and Thursday were spent doing most of the preparatory duties (marking courses, clearing trail, weed-eating, setting up start/finish, etc.).  We stayed busy from daylight to dark and before we knew it was Thursday evening and the runners slowly starting filtering in to set-up camp and to pick-up their packets.  The weather really turned around on Thursday and we were optimistically awaiting what looked to be more of the same over the following race days.  Most of the runners tucked into their tents early on Thursday night - anxiously awaiting the daunting and unknown experience lying in front of them.

50K Starting Line (photo: Darcy Lallathin)
Friday could not have been a more perfect day.  We were truly blessed with magnificent weather.  Lehmann and I manned the first aid-station at Big Run trailhead, then drove down to catch the tail-end of the pack at the Bee Run aid station.  Everything went fairly smoothly - there are always some small issues to tend to when directing an ultra - and all the runners seemed to really enjoy the scenic course of Spruce Mtn single track that we had layed out.  At the end of the day, we had 21 finishers for the 50K.  Most could not stop raving about the beauty, but a few could only say, "That was hard!"  Gancho Slavov won the stage over John Logar by only eight minutes - suggesting that we may have a tight race for the Trilogy championship on our hands.  Kristen Krempasky won the stage a bit more convincingly over her Trilogy counterparts, but was shadowed most of the day by single-day 50K runner Katie Wolpert.

Day 2 was where the "real" race would begin.  There were some nervous faces at the 6:00 a.m. start - questioning how painful this venture might be after yesterday's run.  The runners were graced with a marvelously clear sky and an abundance of stars as they made their way up to the Knob and the highest point in WV (4,863 feet) as the sun peaked over the eastern sky.  We could not have planned a better morning.  After collecting headlamps and extra layers from the runners at the Spruce Knob aid station, Dan and I took a few minutes to enjoy the view from the summit.  What a view!

Dan at Spruce Knob

The runners were really in for a treat all three days, but the 50-mile day promised some extraordinarily amazing trails and views.  I'll admit, this was one day that I was jealous of the runners.  It just does not get any better than cruising beautiful single track trail in the mountains with the brilliant colors of fall all around.

Huckleberry Trail (photo: Darcy Lallathin)

Descending Judy Springs Trail (photo: Darcy Lallathin)

Upper Falls of Seneca Creek - runners passed these on the 50K and 50M (photo: Darcy Lallathin)
Darryl Smith (a single-day 50M runner) was first to cross the finish line in 8:47 - a fine time on a difficult course.  Gancho was able to finish 14 minutes ahead of Logar; all but solidifying his win for the Trilogy barring any unforeseen issues.  Kristen finished with Darcy Lallathin (running "only" the 50-mile) in a solid time of 12:40, further distancing herself from the other female competitors.  There were many folks that had tough days on the 50-mile day.  That was to be expected.  Running 50-miles is a long way, especially the day after a tough 50K.  I was very impressed with the tenacity and drive of each and every runner though.  The 50 miles gnawed hard on the runners with only 12 total finishers and several Trilogy runners losing in their bid of adding their name to the list of finishers at the inaugural Trilogy.
Logar, Slavov, Smith (photo: Lehmann)
The electricity was palpable at TMI on Saturday night.  Not only did we have the 50-mile finishers coming in after a long hard day, but the fresh enthusiasm of the half marathoners arriving for their pre-race meeting and meal added so much zeal to the event.  It was really a neat addition to the normal "old hand feel" of an ultra event, to add in the nervous energy of many novice half marathoners.  The grounds were buzzing and the weather forecast was predicting yet another beautiful day for Sunday.
Jay and Anita Finkle happily running with the "masses" during the Half Marathon
It was so cool to see our Trilogy runners on their "victory lap" mixed in with all the other runners - running in solidarity.  Gancho Slavov prevailed in dramatic fashion, coming in third overall in the half marthon - behind two very good and fresh runners in a time of 1:45 and 15:39 total.  John Logar finished impressively smoothly after all those miles to secure second overall in the Trilogy in 16:10, followed by Micah Scott in third in 17:47.  Kristen Krempasky was the lone female finisher of the inaugural Trilogy in a very remarkable time of 20:55.

There were 60 total finisher in the half marathon.  This was not an easy course, but each and every one of them finished with a huge smile on their face and a deep sense of accomplishment.  It was such a joy to see the Trilogy runners finish their three day quest.  It was also special to watch my wife Kadra finish (on almost zero training I might add!), feeling good and even talking about how awesome of a time she had.  The most special moment of the day though was watching my friend Lori finish.  Lori had trained so amazingly consistent and hard for this particular race over the past six months.  I had watched her go from struggling to finish a 10K only a year ago, to pushing her limits daily in solitary training with one goal in mind: finishing the Run For The Hills Half Marathon.  I was glad to have sunglasses on because I'm sure I had tears welling up seeing her reach her well deserved goal.  This my friends is why I love directing races. 

This event truly is more about camaraderie than competition.  Yes, it is a race, but more than that it was and is a celebration of running.  A celebration of running, friendship, nature, challenges, and ultimately. . .Life.
Kim Love being attacked at the finish line (photo: Lehmann)

Mark Mckennett showing off his new hairdo

Jody Lehmann enjoying all the great food
It was an amazing time that we all had on Spruce Mountain last week - one that none will soon forget.  A special thanks goes out to all the volunteers, sponsors, and folks at TMI that all came together to help make this event a reality.  Normally I don't want to even think about directing another race the week after.  The mere thought of all the work makes me question my sanity for ever starting it in the first place.  This is not the case with the Trilogy.  I could plan, direct, and attend a race like this one every week of the year.  It is a very special race in an equally special place.  If you didn't join us this first year, make sure you put the WV Trilogy on your calendar for 2011.  This is a race full of experiences and people that you are sure to not want to miss!


  1. Adam, you guys are the best! You and Dan did an amazingly job with this race. Everything was perfect! Nice RD race report. I was really happy that Kadra felt well enough to run. I can only imagine how fast she'd be if she wasn't under the weather and had trained! Thanks again for a great weekend, the memories of the weekend have kept me going through several challenging days of work. All I need to do is picture the falls along Seneca Creek Trail or the foliage in the meadow leaving Judy Springs and I get a smile on my face. Thanks!

  2. Adam, I'd managed not to get too awfully teary-eyed thinking about Sunday until I read your report here. You are very kind. I have to say that despite a challenging day, I've never loved running or my running friends more than I did during Trilogy weekend and especially crossing the finish line at the half. It's an honor to know that my first stab at a trail race was at an event that had you and Dan (and Kat) as race directors. Without the support of great friends and an amazing coach (Thanks Carl!) it wouldn't have been the same. Looking forward to hitting the training hard and returning next year!

  3. Adam, I loved my first ultra... what a course and group of folks to break me in to the sport! I am hooked and will be back for the whole Trilogy next year! Hope to see you in Charleston at the Frozen Sasquatch in January.. see ya!

  4. Certainly sounds like a wonderful weekend. Adam, you, Dan and Kat certainly put on what sounds like a great weekend for all involved. Congratulations to Lori for achieving what she set out to do. I am sure she is hooked now more than ever. Congratulations also to Kadra for persevering and finishing the half in an under trained and under weather condition. Certainly sounds like a challenge was provided to all.

  5. Adam, great report! Sounds like a truly wonderful event. This one is on my list for the future.

  6. Thank you all for all the positive comments. It was a special time up there at TMI and I can't wait until next year to share the experience with even more people!

    - Adam

  7. Great event you have there, Adam! Stage racing is my absolute very favorite kind of races - the racing is fun, but like you said, the camaraderie is what makes them so special. The Trilogy is a definite possibility for this year!

  8. Sean - We'd love to have you come to WV and share in the fun!