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VHTRC Womens Distance Half Marathon
This page has an eclectic collection of items from the VHTRC News page that don't fit well into the year-by-year news archives. You may find something of interest here.
Picture Sent in by Steve Pero from the Frozen North: Picture in the Woods
Tragedy on the Tuscarora Trail: Our resident observer of nature, Gary Knipling, reports on a stark sight on the Tuscarora Trail. A must read. Tragedy on the Tuscarora by Gary Knipling
A Flash from the Past: Chris Scott sent four floppy disks with a treasure trove of VHTRC history. Here is an example -- the May 1995 VHTRC newsletter. Wallow in nostalgia! [Warning. Chris's writing style is colorful and creative, but requires some effort to translate from the Chris to English.]
The amusement itself is healthful; it is innocent; it does nobody harm; let them enjoy it.
A Poem for the Woods: The following struck me as a good description of nightfall in the woods with the whipper wills and darkness hiding the fatigue and pain:
Waldesnacht, du wunderkühle,
--Paul Heyse (1830-1914) Rest of the poem and a translation
Save the Nash Rambler--UPDATE We have heard a lot of talk about "Save Our Nash Rambler Please" (SONRAP), the VHTRC's crusade to save this piece of Americana, but little action (i. e. bucks). But one group has stepped to the plate. The GAC'ers from Massachusetts came to Bull Run Run with a very generous check for SONRAP and a license plate for the car. We hope that others will follow suit. (Hey, Gilley, I am having a bit of a problem cashing this check. Can you call me?) Save Our Nash Rambler Please.
On the Dead Run: Steve Simon has written a murder mystery about ultrarunning. Set in Washington, D.C., On the Dead Run tells the story of Julie Davidson (no relation), a young Congressional staffer who trains for a 100 mile run and solves a murder at the same time. Though the VHTRC is not mentioned in the book, the club and the MMT were inspirations for the story. The VHTRC lawyers are working on the lawsuit right now, though they have not actually read the book. They hope that Steve will send them a free copy so they can have a factual basis for the suit. But if he doesn't, well what the heck, sue anyway! Steve Simon is Scott Mills's chief assistant for the Bull Run Run each year. He is retired from the Air Force and lives in Florida. You can buy the book if you know how to read. I regret to say that the steamy sex scene with Julie, her scantily clad sister, and the club web guy was cut by the censors.
VHTRC Celebrity: Club member King Jordan, who also happens to be the president of Gallaudet University, was a guest on WAMU's Public Interest on Thursday, May 18, 2000. You can hear a recording of the interview on the WAMU web site
Madbomber.com: You knew it had to happen! Brendt "the Mad Bomber" Reynolds now has his own website. It includes Brendt's life story (the expurgated version). Club members will want to view that special picture of Brendt on the Nickerson Hollow Trail. (ID and password needed to view this picture.) Newer club members may not know Brendt. Just ask an old timer to regale you with Brendt stories!
Pennsylvania Ultra Records: Be sure and check out the list by Don Davis and Nick Marshall of ultra records by age for Pennsylvania residents. Note that VHTRC member John DeWalt holds many records. Records are also held by Dale Weitzel, Margaret Schlundt, and former members Shelley Wunsch and Gerry Wales.
Winter Reading: If you liked The Perfect Storm or Into Thin Air, you might want to try Lost at Sea : An American Tragedy, by Patrick Dillon. This is the story of the loss of two crab fishing boats in the waters off Alaska. You might want to check it out at Amazon.comBull Run Run from Above: The Microsoft TerraServer is a great resource. It has satellite imagery from the U.S. Geological Survey and from the Russians. You can search by place name or by longitude and latitude. The USGS pictures are free to download, you have to pay for the Russian ones. By putting "Clifton, VA, USA" in the search, I found Bull Run Trail. Go check out the picturesand tell me if I have described them right. It took awhile with a map to figure them out. There is a great shot of the Do Loop. Also, I just added pictures of Rock Creek Park--the north sectionand the south section.
Unfortunately, they don't have coverage of all of the earth. So I can't find as much on the Massanutten course and what I did find, belongs to the Russians and costs money to download. (There is some irony here that our capitalist government gives this stuff away for free while the Commies charge for it!) You can see the south end of the MMT course by doing a latitude/longitude search and putting in 38.735 and -78.48. (Don't forget the minus sign (-) or you will be on the other side of the world!) You should see Route 211, the Visitors Center, Chrisman Hollow Road, and the 211 East aid station.
Summer Reading: What if Mark Twain wrote Roughing It in 1998? It would be A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. This is a great story about the Appalachian Trail and a lot more. I strongly recommend this book. It's an uneven, tour of the Appalachian Trail and eastern America. Like Travels with Charlie, it varies its pace over a broken, inconsistent search for discovery. You will enjoy this book. I especially recommend it as a counter balance to David Horton's A Quest for Adventure. David's book is good, I have recommended it before, and I recommend it now. But David's story is driven and, in the end, pointless. The beauty of David's book is that it does not mask either the futility of the trek or the raw David who makes it. After David's relentless assault of the Appalachian Trail and the Race Across America, you need a break. Bryson gives you that break. He finds out sooner than David that the finish is not important; it's the trek itself. Bryson seems to speak for both David and him when he says:
"I had come to realize that I didn't have any feelings towards the AT that weren't confused and contradictory. I was weary of the trail, but still strangely in its thrall; found the endless slog tedious but irresistible; grew tired of the boundless woods but admired their boundlessness; enjoyed the escape from civilization and ached for its comforts. I wanted to quit and to do this forever, sleep in a bed and in a tent, see what was over the next hill and never see a hill again. All of this all at once, every moment, on the trail or off."Take your break with A Walk in the Woods. Reading David and then Bryson is sort of like getting out of the sauna in Sweden and jumping in the snow. You might try Amazon.com to order A Walk in the Woods. Of course, you can obtain David's book on his web site.
Joel Zucker: We were saddened to learn of the death of Joel Zucker who was stricken after finishing his third Hardrock 100. Joel was best known as the guru of the ULTRA listserv. He did ultras in many parts of the country and participated in the first MMT. We will miss him. More information is available on the web about Joel's death. David Blaikie's Ultramarathon World site contains a report and a collection of tributes. There is one memorial to Joel on the web and another very good one, with good pictures from Hardrock by Brick Robbins. Here is a picture of Joel (on the right) with Doug Freeze. The club has made a donation to the Joel Zucker Memorial Fund which will promote running activities in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.
VHTRC member and grand slam finisher King Jordan is in the news again. March is the tenth anniversary of the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University. DPN is a major part of the culture of the deaf community and King was, of course, right in the middle of it. Visit the Galluadet web site for a very interesting discussion of the DPN movement, the people who were involved in it, and what it means today. You will really enjoy this site!