Bull Run Run 2000
Both the male and female course records fell as the North invaded the South in the Eighth Battle of the Bull Run Run 50 Miler. Courtney Campbell won the event and took over two minutes off of Scott Jurek's course record. Courtney only claimed the victory at the top of the last hill, where he passed Clark Zealand who had been ahead of him for most of the day. Meanwhile, Christy Cosgrove lowered Debbie Berner's course record by over 11 minutes. The day was marked by an assult by the G.A.C. Ultra Team that brought 25 Yankees to invade the South. G.A.C. won the team competion over the RAT team from Pennsylvannia. There were 247 finishers out of 275 starters.
Enjoy the run? Have a comment? Tell Scott Mills at ILkRunn@aol.com.
by Valerie Meyer and Ed Demoney
* = Course Record
|77||Bill Van Antwerp||09:48:20||54||VA|
|99||Peter Bonaccorsi, Jr.||10:00:29||55||MA|
|126||Denise Kelly Yoder||10:35:59||38F||PA|
|John Sheets, Jr.||12:24:12||55||WV|
|M. Robert Saraniero||12:43:57||25||VA|
Steven A. Simon
Dawn broke ominously for the eighth annual Battle of Bull Run with gray, thick cloud cover denying the blue sky any chance of making even a cameo appearance. The cool temperatures (55 degrees at the 6:15 start) helped the competitors, but made things uncomfortable for the crews, aid station workers and other volunteers. Compounding the problem, a light rain fell intermittently throughout the thirteen-hour race period. The slippery trail took down many of the 275 starters, who stoically wore the "brown badge of courage" on their arms and legs for the rest of the day. The challenging conditions, however, failed to dampen the enthusiasm of anyone involved in the event, and may have helped a record 247 determined competitors cross the finish line.
The end of the men's division produced stunned gasps from the folks at the finish line, and surprised even the two runners involved. Clark Zealand led almost from the start, cruising comfortably and building up a lead as large as twelve minutes late in the race. Courtney Campbell, who had won the November 1999 JFK 50 by catching Zealand in the final miles, did his best to stay close, complaining of tiredness throughout the middle section of the race. To observers, the real battle among the men's elite seemed to be whether or not he would be able to hold off 1994 Winner Barry Lewis, who was running third all day.
In the final stages of the event, however, Campbell seemed to gain momentum and Zealand eased off slightly. Still, neither thought it would matter. Campbell said after the race he had conceded first place, but was hoping to better the course record of 6:30:05 set last year by Scott Jurek. Zealand, confident it would take a course record to beat him, thought he'd put enough space between himself and both his adversary and the JFK nightmare.
History repeated itself, however, as, in the push up the final hill to the finish line (put there by the sadistic organizers), Campbell surged into the lead and won going away, lowering the course record by two minutes, to 6:27:50. Zealand gained some small consolation by also breaking the old course record with a sterling 6:29:05 time.
The women's race lacked the drama, but not the astonishing athleticism and drive, of the men's division. Without the benefit of close competition to push her, Christy Cosgrove led virtually wire-to-wire, breaking Debbie Berner's existing course record with a phenomenal time of 7:47:35. She took 12th place overall and finished a remarkable 43 minutes ahead of her closest competitors, Courtney Fenstermacher and Debbie Berner.
Among the other winners was David Horton, who broke the day's third record, this the Senior time, with a 7:57:03, good for 13th place overall. Joe Dabes set a super senior record that may be tough to ever equal, as the 60 year old posted a phenomenal 9:24:58. The north, in the form of the Gilley's Athletic Club (GAC), which rallied the troops from Massachusetts and descended on the event en masse, took home the team trophy. Winning team members were Moe Pratt, Dave Mahan, Christy Cosgrove, Christopher Pierce, and David Chechik who finished in a combined time of 40 hours and 22 minutes, minutes, well ahead of RATSí second place time of 43:24. VHTRC Scouts finished third this year, only three minutes behind the RATS. The men's and women's Clydesdale winners, Kevin Budd and Coleen Dulin respectively, also set records.
While the leaders struggled with each other and the record-holding ghosts of the past, the real battles were being waged throughout the park. Each of these individuals fought against the elements, the deceptively difficult course, and their own self-doubts. Almost half of the runners who toed the chalk start line in the dim morning light were new to the Bull Run Run, and a significant number of those were attempting their first fifty-miler. That so many negotiated the mud, the stream crossings, and the cumulative pain of the undulating hills is a testament to their determination and fortitude. By design, however, competitors who finished in the final hour received special tribute. Runners and volunteers assembled near the finish line for the awards ceremony showed their respect for these late finishers by rising and cheering as each one approached the line. These folks who, on a cost-per-hour rate, got their money's worth for the entry fee, seemed to revel in the acknowledgment.
Which is not to say that everyone didn't get his or her money's worth. BRR has gained the well-deserved reputation as a first-class event, with well-marked and challenging trails, quality aid stations, and great "loot." This year, each entrant received an embroidered shirt and a large race logo screened Brooks athletic bag. Finishers needed the bag to hold a beautiful fleece vest, which was adorned with a Civil War-like pin complete with one star for every battle they'd completed.
Competitors were effusive in their praise of the course, the staff, the volunteers, and even the other competitors. One runner told how he'd requested a sandwich at an aid station, but didn't want to wait for it to be made. He took off, only to be run down a few minutes later by an aid station worker who delivered the sandwich. Courtney Campbell said how much he appreciated the cheers from the pack on the double out-and-back course. Those mid-packers returned the complement, expressing gratitude that leaders were cheering them on as they passed.
Although this was the wettest Bull Run Run, it was, by all accounts, among the most successful. If all of the runners who pledged to return next year follow through, the 300-runner limit will be reached quickly. The race's growing reputation will ensure a full field for years to come. On behalf of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, thanks again to all our stalwart volunteers and congrats to all those who came to engage in another battle of Bull Run.
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