October 7, 2000
45.5 Miles on the W&OD Bike Path
Results | Pictures
The Ninth Andiamo run of the W&OD Bike path was held in nearly perfect weather--sunny, cool, and even a tail wind. Sixteen people started the run and 17 finished. Andy Peterson won handily but didn't come close to Harvey Hall's course record. Meanwhile, Mary McMurray, running her first ultra, won the woman's division. She also was no threat to the course record held by a 56 year-old Pat Botts.
This event is a celebration of the W&OD Regional Park. Everyone who finishes salutes the trail, a fantastic recreational resource in northern Virginia. The W&OD goes through Loudoun County's beautiful horse country, the backyards of Leesburg, the long straight stretch under the Dulles flight path, the high-tech suburbs of Herndon, Reston, and Vienna whose residents actually created the Internet, through the inside-the-Beltway suburbs of Falls Church and Arlington, and finishing on the median strip of Four Mile Run Drive where people come to hire laborers with questionable immigration status.
This event defines low-key. There is little fanfare and little aid. The first running of the event in 1990 had no entry fee. The 1991 event had a $10 entry fee. It has never been increased since. One of the reasons we can do this is the volunteer supporters who get up early to drive people to the start from the finish. This year, our drivers were Kathleen Cavanaugh and Valerie Meyer. (Brenda Davidson got up early to drive also, but she was not needed.) Additionally, Valerie worked two aid stations. Other individual support crews helped out. Paul Amman's wife Becky and son Matt set up an impromptu aid station in Vienna that had rave reviews.
So what did people get for their money? Not much. Just a 50-mile ride to the start, three aid stations, a finishers' patch, snacks at the end, and, thanks to Ed Schultze, a cool scarf. Hmmm. Maybe a better deal than $un Mart or Western $tates?
It is appropriate that this event should be held on Columbus Day weekend. Dave Moruzzi created this event and named it Andiamo --"Let's Go!" in Italian. This is, of course, the second Italian event that we have gotten involved in. (The first was the Washington version of the Del Passatorre 100k.) I don't know where Dave is now, but he would be proud that everyone had so much fun.
This is not really a "race" but that doesn't mean that people don't run hard. Andy Peterson ran the third fastest time ever. Only Harvey Hall and an unknown runner named Courtney Campbell have ran faster. Al Schumm and Bill Turrentine, who finished second, have both run the event before. Bill was third in 1994.
There was one controversial occurrence. Bob Coyne, James Moore, and Chris Kammler ran together. Unfortunately, they ran afoul of the rule about walking. Walking is ok, but you are not allowed to walk within sight of the finish line. (Ok, this is not written down anywhere, but everyone knows about this rule!) Anyway, the vast crowd at the finish saw these three walking over the last hill. They started running way too late. It is sad in sports to see a good performance ruined; but rules are rules. So these three aren't really finishers. They are listed, however, because they forced me to drink some beer and then write down their times on the finishers' list.
So what events have a 106% finishing rate? Andiamo did! Steve Gass was not on the starting line. The night before he celebrated his birthday. Naturally, he overslept. He rode his motorcycle to Purcellville and started about an hour and 15 minutes late. He crossed the finish line in 9:50:53, based on everyone else's start time. Steve is 25, which explains all of this.
Thanks to all who participated in this great event. We will see you again in 2002!
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