My First 100 Mile Run Through the Rocks and Woods
Massanutten Mountain Trails 100

May 7-8, 2005

by Ed Cacciapaglia

It’s Thursday, 4 days after I finished the MMT-100 and I can finally walk down the stairs without holding the railing. The pain is subsiding, but the memory of my 30 plus hours on the trail is still fresh.

IN THE BEGINNING

I decided to attempt my first 100 mile run after observing the 2004 MMT-100 up close by being a volunteer and a pacer. Why MMT? Because it is conveniently located, is well managed and has a reputation, well earned, of being the hardest 100 Mile Run in the eastern U.S. As soon as the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC) put the race application for the 2005 run on its web-site in December 2004, I printed it out, grabbed my checkbook and sent my application.

Ed Cacciapaglia
Ed Cacciapaglia coming into Gap Creek the first time

TRAINING

My training for MMT began a year ago when I marked trail on the Powell Mountain section (Did I say “I HATE POWELL MOUNTAIN!”?) and paced a runner from California, Miles Welze, on a 37 mile, 17 hour walk to the finish from Gap Creek II. 5 weeks after MMT, I ran the Laurel Highlands Trail Run 70 miler. In September, along with 5 MMT veterans, including the famous VHTRC botanist Gary Knipling, the VHTRC scribe John Dodds, Ryan Henry, Keith Knipling and Ken Hubbard, we went Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon.

Between December and March I did 6 training runs on different parts of the MMT course, including one overnight run called the Chocolate Bunny 50-K, which started at mile 58.1 and covered parts of the MMT course (Short Mountain, Powell Mountain) that all but the MMT front runners usually run after dark. I joined the YMCA and did cross training workouts-stairmaster, stationary bicycle, treadmill, and weights-3 to 4 days per week. On the treadmill I did workouts such as 12 minutes of walking on a 15 degree incline at a 15 minute per mile pace and 12-15 minute intervals of high intensity running. By the end of March, it felt like I was in the best running condition in my adult life.

My original plan for the Bull Run Run 50 Mile (BRR) 4 weeks before MMT was to run it as a moderate training run. However, I got caught up in the moment and pushed it too hard. I ran the down hills especially fast, frequently over striding. At the Wolf Run Shoals aid station (mile 39.5), I felt intense pain in my lower right tibia area. Running was next to impossible, so I walked most of the remaining 10.5 miles. After the run, my lower leg ankle area swelled up significantly and my worst fears were that I had a stress fracture. It was the end of tax season (I’m a CPA.), so I waited 8 days before going to the doctor, since I knew I wasn’t doing any running on the injury.

A visit to Neil McLauglin, D.C., an accomplished marathoner, coach, and a sports doctor, revealed no stress fracture. Instead, I had tibialis anterior tendonitis. I told Neil about my plans to run MMT and he said it could still be possible. With less than 3 weeks before MMT, I scheduled and went to 7 sessions of ultrasound and electro-stimulation. Ice and heat were part of the self-treatment. I was able to walk/run relatively pain free, so I took some short, easy walks and/or runs over the week. By that weekend I was able to run the 10 mile Sunday course with the Reston Runners, but I made sure not to push too hard. That was my last “long” run before MMT. The following week I did shorter runs and a lot of rest. It was taper time and I figured my previous conditioning would save the day.

PREPARATION

After the 2004 MMT, I got the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club’s map of the trails in the MMT north area. I entered Catherine’s Big Butt and Catoctin 50-K to get more experience on rocky terrain. I read just about every story I could find written by finishers (and some who didn’t quite finish the journey) of MMT. I want to give a lot credit to Russ Evans, who helped me keep my head straight about things. During the run I carried a sheet with cut-off times and Russ’s splits as my optimal goal for finishing. Russ’s splits also served to remind me not to go out too fast.

I tried several different shoes on my training, 2 types of Adidas Supernova Trail Shoes (comfortable), Montrail Hardrocks (very sturdy), and Mizuno Wave Creations (not on these rocks!). I bought a 2nd 70 oz. Camelbak and a couple spare handheld water bottles. The biggest preparation job was the drop bags. I made a checklist of items I would or could need: long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, a couple changes of running shorts, multiple changes of socks, gloves, ponchos, YooHoo, Ensure, Succeed Caps, Ibuprofen, crackers, trail mix, Gu/Cliff Shot, blister pads, Body Glide, ginger crystals, plastic baggies and enough drop bags to cover 11 aid stations. All the drop bags contained Succeed, blister pads, crackers, YooHoo and Gu or Cliff Shot. Clothing items were planned based my best estimate of what the weather would be like when I got to that aid station and the section beyond. The Camp Roosevelt drop bag had hand held bottles and the Gap Creek drop bag had the second Camelbak. Each Camelbak was packed with Succeed tablets, ginger crystals, crackers, trail mix, Gu and toilet paper. I planned to run the first 33 miles with my original Camelbak.


Ed with Helen at Gap Creek II

SKYLINE RANCH

Helen and I arrived at 3 P.M. Friday afternoon and checked into our “luxurious” motor home, which would be our accommodations (well Helen’s on Saturday night) for the weekend. I went over to the ranch, got my runners bag, and put my multiple drop bags in the appropriate bins. (Bill Sublett did a great job of delivering the drop bags and returning them to Skyline Ranch after the run.) At 4 P.M. race director, Stan Duobinis gave us the trail briefing and reminded us to keep the forest and trails litter free. The forest service ranger mentioned that “people do live out here, so don’t expose yourself in someone’s front yard.” Scott Mills told us how the trail was marked: follow the yellow ribbons, don’t step over the red ribbons, some spots had only flour arrows on the pavement, glow sticks would help us find the way after dark. Stan mentioned that the start would be on the side near the hole in the fence. Last year some runners were confused about the starting point, while others took off ahead of them, so Stan made it clear where this years’ start was located.

After the briefing we ate our pasta dinner and went back to the motor home to catch some sleep, knowing that the 4 a.m. wakeup time would come too soon. Naturally, I did not sleep well, getting less than 2 hours of actual sleep between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Wakeup time arrived, so I washed up, ate my banana, drank some water and Gatorade, swallowed 2 Succeed capsules, brushed my teeth, put on my body lubrication, running clothes, shoes and socks, carried my Camelbak and LED flashlight, and headed over to the Ranch for my coffee and donut. I checked in with the runner accountability official, aka Bill Van Animal aka Grim Reaper. I told Bill I didn’t want to see him until after 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon. He said I’d see him at the early aid stations, but hopefully none of the later ones.

THE START

At 4:55 we assembled outside in the cold. Race director Stan gave the traditional blessing and at 5 a.m. with flashlights in hand, we scurried through the hole in the fence and on down the road to the trail head 2.4 miles away. I looked forward and behind and saw a stream of lights leading and trailing me. The road was mostly downhill or flat and I was intent on taking my time knowing that I had almost 100 miles to cover once we entered the trail. I was running with 2 of my Reston Furbutt friends, David Yeakel and Bill Turrentine. I saw Sophie Speidel, Quattro Hubbard, and several other familiar faces in this section. There was an aid station (AS) at the trailhead, but most of us just ran on by, heading into the woods for our first climb of the day. In this section we got our first exposure to the rocks that make Massanutten famous and infamous. This climb seemed easier than what we would face later in this run. After a mile or so climbing we reached the top of the ridge. Soon daylight came, so I turned off my light. The trail was still going up to a peak but it wasn’t all that steep. After 2 or 3 miles on the ridge top, we reached Shawl Gap, where the ribbons directed us to turn left and head down the mountain to AS#2. This aid station was 8.7 miles into the run. Some of the familiar VHTRC suspects were there: Tom Corris, Grim Reaper, Anstr Davidson and others. My wife, Helen, was waiting with my small drop bag. I stopped, ate some crackers, drank some electrolyte fluid and some Ensure, took a couple of Succeed Capsules and moved on.

The next 3.1 miles was road, the first mile and a half paved, then dirt and gravel. Most of this section was either flat or downhill except when we got near to the aid station. Most runners were walking up the hill, but a couple of them were actually running. I thought to myself “they will probably need the energy they are using now later in the run.” In this section, I walked some with Kerry Owens. She said she wasn’t awake yet. I asked her if she slept o.k. last night, she said “no” and I said, “I didn’t either.” Soon we arrived at AS#3. I said “hi, Jaret” grabbed a pancake, a couple of potato chips and some electrolyte drink and then headed up the mountain to Milford Gap. My climbing legs were doing o.k. Near the top of the climb I caught up to Bob Combs and we talked for a spell as we reached the ridge top. Along the ridge top some of the trail can be run, while at other times we had to walk through boulders and other obstacles. We could see the Valley below, but the Virginia haze had already settled in, so the views were not nearly as spectacular as they were when I did my February training run on this section.

Soon we came to AS#4 at the intersection of the Milford Gap Trail. The people tending the Aid Station asked if I needed anything, I said just some water and some more water. The woman tending the aid station said we would see her again. I drank up and moved on. Soon I had to divert off the trail and do what that VHTRC wild bear does in those woods. Feeling relieved I started moving more quickly. After a couple more miles we came to the Indian Graves Trail where we turned left and headed back down into the valley. I tried to control my downhill running, knowing that my Bull Run injury was probably caused by my intense downhill running style. I still managed to pass a couple of runners on this section. Gradually the trail flattened out and before too long we were running down another gravel/dirt road. I tried to keep my running somewhat slow, but I figured I needed to make relentless forward motion (RFM).

MIDRACE PROBLEMS, ERRORS AND PROBLEM SOLVING

I checked my run schedule and determined I was right on my planned pace. But I was feeling a couple of hot spots on my right foot. I ran into AS#5 and asked for my drop bag. I took off my shoes and socks and found a blister on my 2nd (long) right toe. Mike Broderick took off one of the safety pins holding my number onto my cap and sterilized it with Bactine. I pierced the blister and put on a blister pad, some body glide, and new socks. Around this time Bill Van Animal yells out to me, “Get your butt out of here!” I tell him “necessary first aid”. I made a stupid mistake here, I didn’t top off my Camelbak. Leaving AS#5, I came across Jay Finkle moving up the mountain towards the ridge. Jay asked me what time I was shooting for today and I told him 28 hours would be nice, but I’ll be o.k. with 35:59 as long as I finish. Jay said he would be happy with 28 hours also. Jay would make it through in a very respectable 28:26.

The climb is actually the largest climb of the course, gaining around 1,600 feet in elevation, including the rise after reaching the ridge top. I moved up the mountain quite well, leaving Jay behind and passing several people who had left the aid station before me. I got to the top and began running along the ridge before coming to the Stephens Trail. The Stephens Trail is nice trail easy to run and mostly tending downhill. As I started down the Stephens Trail I ate some Gu and took a drink of water. Unfortunately, my decision to not top off my Camelbak at AS#5 came back to haunt me. Soon I discovered I was out of water. I saw Bob Combs, who I had passed going up and he offered me a swig of his water, which I accepted. He told me it was about an hour to Camp Roosevelt and hopefully others would be able to help me if I needed it. I told him I would just slow down some and try not to let it affect me too much. Jay Finkle came past me and I was able to get a sip of his water. I ran at a slower pace, figuring I would conserve energy. Other than having no water, I had no significant problems on this stretch.

I got to Camp Roosevelt, AS#6. Helen was there to greet me. Feeling slightly dehydrated, I drank at least 3 cups of water, some Ensure and some YooHoo. I lubricated my feet and changed my socks and shoes, because I decided the Montrail Hardrocks I was using were too hard on my feet. I switched to the Adidas 04 Supernova Trail Shoes which were in my drop bag. I swapped my Camelbak for my handheld bottles and told Helen to refill the Camelbak so I could put it on at AS#8, where Helen would work later in the day. Leaving Camp Roosevelt, my stomach felt bloated and I moved more slowly. It felt like I needed to make another deep woods visit, but the underbrush in these woods had no cover. Also, I had no paper, but I was able to procure some from another runner, who asked me “What’s worth to you?” “A sh-t,” I responded. “Good answer”, he said. So I went off and did the wild bear thing for the second time of the day and it wasn’t even 1 o’clock. Once that was done, I felt good and resumed moving along at a comfortable clip climbing over the mountain then down to AS#7, Gap Creek, where the colorfully dressed Chris Scott was snapping photos and Michelle Harmon and the rest of the Gap Creek were keeping the runners in food and drink. A check of my split information indicated that I was several minutes behind Russ’s split, but almost 3 hours ahead of the cut-off, so I was satisfied with my progress so far. I drank a YooHoo, ate a potato, took in some liquid and swapped my hand held bottles for my other Camelbak before heading across the road and up Jawbone to Kern Mountain.

My legs were moving just a little bit slower on the climb up Jawbone and traverse over Kern Mountain, but I was still making good RFM. Someone was doing trail work for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and he said it was around 3 miles to the road and next 2 miles were a bit rough. Randy Dietz passed me on this section. I find Kern Mountain similar to Short Mountain except we run in daylight so it seems a bit easier. After several miles of ridge top running/hiking/scrambling I came to the section that could be run, so I took advantage. Soon the trail began its descent to Crisman Hollow Road. On Crisman, I picked up my running pace especially as we came to the paved section that descends to the Visitors Canter, AS#8. I caught and briefly passed Randy Dietz, but he took off from the Visitors Center before me.

When I got to the Visitors Center I saw Helen, Rayna Matsuno (my pacer), and Sean Welliver (my overnight crew person who would pace me from 211 East to Gap Creek). I took off my shoes and socks and was somewhat dismayed to find another blister, this one on my big right toe. I did the needle and cover treatment, then re-lubricated my feet and put on fresh socks. Dave Yeakel and Joyce Fendley arrived at the AS while I was tending to my feet. I switched Camelbaks and headed on up to Bird Knob.

The first runner I saw coming down from Bird Knob was Donna Utakis, who said she was doing well and running in 3rd in the women’s race. A half hour further up Sophie Speidel was descending as I was still going up to the knob. Next were Stuart and Kris Kern who said they were going well so far. I expected to have a few more runners come by me going the other way, but none materialized. I did see Marty Lindemann and 2 young girls, hiking along the ridge. Soon I entered the loop and got to the aid station where Carolyn Gernand, Gloria Allie, and Harry Smith were serving up Gatorade, sodas, water and snacks. They had a chalk board indicating when the front runners came through. I was amazed that the first 5 runners had gotten to Bird Knob in less than 9 hours and that Sue Johnston and Bethany Patterson had taken only 10:18 to get to that point. I headed out of the loop and proceeded on down to the 211 East aid station, passing several runners who were going up Bird Knob. I really like this section of the course because you get to see many of the other runners coming the other way.

DUSK

I arrived at 211 East, AS#9, at 7:36 p.m. and picked up my flashlight and headlamp, drank some Ensure and electrolyte drink, and met up with my night crew, Rayna and Sean. Sean was ready to do his pacing for 6.4 miles. Rayna would drive Sean’s Explorer up to Gap Creek, where she would later meet me and commence her pacing duties. Sean needed to borrow Rayna’s headlamp and flashlight, since he had never run at night. I decided to have Sean pace me in this section because I wanted to make sure Rayna had fresh legs for Short Mountain. I switched Camelbaks again.

Sean and I crossed Rt. 211 and headed up the trail towards Gap Creek. Daylight was dwindling as we headed up the road and I was mostly walking, but when we came to a flat section, I’d start running. Sean had never done any trail running before, but I figured he would be good for this section, since he typically runs 20-25 miles per week often at 7 to 8 minute per mile pace. I told Sean that as a pacer he should stay behind me according to the general rules of pacing. As we walked up the old fire road it started to rain some. I discovered that someone had taken the poncho I had strapped to the Camelbak off, but it was not a problem as it never rained hard. It was good having Sean to make conversation with because for most of the journey from the start to 211 East I was running alone. I turned my lights on before we came to the junction with the Massanutten Ring Trail. We mostly walked up the trail past the Waterfall Mountain Trail, crisscrossing a stream and then going straight up the dry streambed until we reached the Scothorn Gap Trail. When we came to a flat or downhill section I would run. Once we turned onto the Scothorn Gap Trail I began to run more consistently. We passed several other runners as we descended down towards Crisman Hollow. We continued running down the road picking up the pace a bit. It was easy to run here as the road was slightly downhill. Soon we were at AS#11, Gap Creek 2.

Rayna and Ed at Gap Creek II
Rayna and Ed at Gap Creek II

Rayna and Helen were there to meet us. I changed socks, re-lubricated my feet and put on a long sleeved shirt. In addition to Helen and Rayna, Michelle Harmon was there attending to my needs like a professional handler applying the body glide between my toes and on the bottom of my feet. Rayna swapped places with Sean and became my pacer. I decided to get rid of my Camelbak for the short jaunt over Jawbone to Moreland Gap and instructed Sean to meet us at Moreland in 50 minutes so I could use Camelbak going over Short Mountain. Michelle estimated it would take us an hour and 15 minutes, but we actually covered that section in less than an hour and Sean was nowhere to be found when we got there. So I decided we needed to move on through and use the handheld bottles instead of the Camelbak for the run over Short Mountain. I ate some food, took in some liquid, and refilled my bottles before Rayna and I headed on.

DARK IS THE NIGHT

By this time the clouds had all cleared and the air was getting cooler. You could see lots of stars and very few lights, as this is a desolate area and with the new moon there was no additional light in the clear night sky. I led the way as we moved over the rock fields they call the trail leading up to the top of Short Mountain. Once we reached the summit, I started running whenever the rocks didn’t impair my ability to run. We were making good progress, passing a few runners and moving on across the mountain. Once in a while I veered off course, but each time I would quickly determine that I was going up the rock the wrong way or Rayna would point it out to me. In a couple of hours we came to the end of the ridge and began our descent to Edinburg Gap. A couple of the runners we had passed earlier passed us again. Further down the trail we saw a runner by the side of the trail, taking care of business. We discovered it was Gary Knipling, said hi to him and kept moving. We passed 2 more runners before we made it to the bottom of the mountain.

Soon we were at Brenda’s Famous Potato Soup Kitchen so I ordered up a cup. I said it was good but it wasn’t quite salty enough. They gave me some salt which I sprinkled in and now the soup tasted very good. A check of my watch indicated it was 1:30 a.m. and I was now 4 ½ hours ahead of cut-off so I felt very good about my chances of finishing this run, though I knew it would take me at least another 8 or 9 hours. Again Sean was nowhere to be found. I wanted to change into my tights and put on some gloves as I was getting chilled and both of these items were in Sean’s Explorer. I grabbed my drop bag, changed shirts again, dry is good, and borrowed a pair of gloves from Jim Cavanaugh. I thanked Jim, refilled the water bottles and started to move on when Rayna figured out that Sean’s car was parked in the parking area. We checked and, sure enough, Sean was sleeping in the car along Toks, a pacer for another runner. I woke Sean and told him I wanted my tights. After putting on the tights, we finally left AS#13 and headed up Powell Mountain, having spent a half hour at the stop.

“I HATE POWELL MOUNTAIN”

The climb up Powell Mountain went o.k. But once I got to the top I got confused. I didn’t remember the trail going down the Woodstock side of the mountain so soon. And to add to my confusion, Woodstock was on my right, not my left. So I told Rayna, “this doesn’t seem right. We need to turn around and go back up and make sure we’re still on the right trail.” I had this weird idea that someone had messed around with the trail markings. I was looking for Orange trail marks on the trees but none were marked. The yellow ribbons and a glow stick were visible, so after commiserating with Rayna we headed back in the right direction. Around this time the tiredness and soreness of my legs was becoming apparent. Also, I was getting physically tired. I was veering off course and having to correct frequently. I probably could have made my life easier by letting Rayna take the lead, but I was determined to be in the lead and not violate the ‘pacer’s code”. Still, Rayna was great help. She would let me know I was heading off the wrong way. I probably would have needed to fall asleep beside the trail for a few minutes if Rayna had not been accompanying me. We were making good RFM but the trail was empty. We neither passed nor were passed by anyone the entire time we were on Powell Mountain. After a long trek which seemed to take forever, we saw a picture of Elvis attached to tree. Then a little further up the trail we spotted another picture of Elvis. Then we saw the sign that Aid Station 1 mile, then one that said Aid Station ½ mile. Finally, at 5:20 a.m. we arrived at the Woodstock Aid Station.

“WAKE UP, SOPHIE, OR I’M GONNA BEAT YOU…

and I’m not even moving that well right now” I yelled out as I was a bit surprised to see Sophie Speidel sleeping in a chair. Mike Broderick, Sophie’s pacer, said he was trying to get her to wake up and get moving again. Sophie continued to sleep, but she had opened her eyes by time I was leaving. I had previously told Rayna I did not want to stay long at AS#14, because last year I remembered 7 or 8 people sleeping at the aid station and a lot of people had dropped there. Besides, breakfast was waiting for us at Powell’s Fort. So I had a few snacks a Succeed Capsule, an Ensure and some water. Then we moved on. We looked down to the left and could see the snaking Shenandoah River in the morning light. This is a pretty part of the course, but I wasn’t enjoying it. By this time it was hurting to run, so I was reduced to doing my “ultra shuffle”. I knew I was going slowly, because Rayna was able to walk behind and still keep up with me. At this point my stomach was telling me I would need to take care of business and I had no paper. But the daylight was coming and my senses were returning, so after suffering for a few minutes, I figured out that leaves would do the trick.

After getting back on the trail I tried to run again, but my legs wouldn’t respond. This part of the course seemed to go on forever, even though it is only 5.2 miles from Woodstock to Powell’s Fort mostly flat or downhill. The first 4 miles follows along the top of the ridge. Then the trail drops somewhat steeply into Powell’s Fort. Normally I’d run down the trail to Powell’s Fort but at mile 88, my legs were burning so I took my time. I walked it into AS#15, knowing that I still had 12.5 miles to go, but I had plenty of time to make it. After greeting Rebecca, James and the Margies I was served a wonderful breakfast of bacon eggs and juices. I asked James if the dreaded trees that were fallen on the road leaving Powell’s Fort were still there and James said, “No, we cut them down and got them out of the way.” I thanked him for that.

IBUPROFEN

I finished up my breakfast, refilled my bottles, and Rayna and I took off heading down the dirt road out of Powell’s Fort. I tried to run but it was too painful. Finally I decided to take 2 ibuprofens tablets. I still couldn’t run, as it would take a while for the ibuprofen to kick in. The sun was starting to rise in the sky and I knew those tights would have to come off before too long. So we came to a stump as we turned onto the Bear Wallow Trail and I changed out of my tights. Suddenly, one runner appeared and passed through. Then Sophie and Mike passed me by. I followed them up the mountain. Sophie was climbing very well as she and Mike caught the other runner. I caught him, too, but Sophie was still going faster than me up this mountain. I decided to pop 2 more ibuprofen. We reached the summit and I was able to run again, though I was going slower than earlier in the run. Still, I caught and passed Sophie and Mike, as they were walking. I was able to run this whole section leading down to Elizabeth’s Furnace. Near the bottom we actually passed another runner, Andy Kumeda, from California. I told Andy to come with us, he trailed behind but was making good progress.

After 4 miles, we came to the road and crossed over. Helen and Sean are waiting for us. I went into the last aid station, Elizabeth’s Furnace, ordered my pizza, took another Succeed Capsule and got my bottles refilled. I told Rayna we needed to press on. It was 10:30 and I wanted to finish before noon. So we took off for the final climb. I didn’t attempt any running on the climb up, even though it flattens out in several places. But my climbing legs were working and by 11:25 we reach the gap. Now we had 3 miles to go, all flat or downhill.

THE FINISH

I started running, slowly at first, but picking up speed as I went. The legs weren’t hurting so badly now as medicine seemed to be doing the trick. Some 29½ hours earlier, I was on the same trail, 7 miles into the run. Now I was 99 miles into it and I would finish. I kept moving and Rayna was trailing close behind. After a mile or so, the trail went off into the woods and crossed a creek. My feet got wet but I was not going to take the time to keep them dry. On the other side the trail continued to go downhill, but was no longer steep. Soon we crossed the creek again. Finally I needed to take a walk break as the trail went up hill slightly up for spell. Then I saw the gravel road, so I knew we were getting close. My watch read 11:47 and I figured we had about a mile to go. I started to run again, determined to get in before Noon. The gravel road went on for what seems to be a half mile. Then we came to a flour marking and a paved road. I ran a little faster. We had to cross this road to get to another road before we came to the passage way between the horse pen and someone else’s property. I could see the Skyline Ranch and there was less than 0.4 miles to go. I turned on the speed amazed that I actually had some speed left in me. I ran through the woods behind the fence and onto the field which I had to cross to get to the finish. I ran fast and I can see the clock saying 30:56, so I knew I had made it in before noon with a couple minutes to spare. I grabbed Rayna’s hand and we went across the finish line together. The race was done, now the recovery must begin. I was congratulated by earlier finishers and Chris Scott and Bunny Runyan. Andy Kumeda came in 4 minutes later at 31 hours and I congratulate him. I sit down take off my shoes and try to get comfortable, secure in the fact that I actually was able to accomplish my goal of successfully completing my first 100 mile run. Rayna congratulated me and I thanked her for being a great pacer.

Thanks to VHTRC and all the volunteers and runners for making my first MMT a most enjoyable experience. I’ll be back here next year either running or volunteering.

Happy trails!

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