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6:37 AM

16.5 mi


11:20 mi


36 F

Race Result

13 / 72 (18.1%)
1 / 17 (5.9%)

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We pulled into the Royal Oaks Resort, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, at approximately 5:50 AM on race day and I got in line to pick up my race packet for the race that was to begin at 6:30 AM. After picking up my packet, I made a quick bathroom stop and went back to my truck to drop clothing off with my wife and daughter before making my way back to the starting area. Since the temperature was in the low 30s, all of us racers were standing around shivering uncontrollably as the pre-race briefing was given. After a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon, the races started and we all took off. 25K, 50K and 50 Mile races all started together, with approximately 250 people running combined.

I started near the front of the starting chute and made my way down the Blue Ridge Parkway for about two miles before stepping onto the trails. The first two miles were largely down hill, which was a welcoming start, but also sobering once I realized I'd have to come back up the hill for the last two miles of the race on the pavement. After entering the trail, we descended gradually for a mile or two until we came to the first crossing of the White Rock Creek. By this point I was following about 25-30 yards behind a girl who made it apparent that the best way to get across the creek was to just step right in and go for it. The water was COLD and went to just below my knees. After a quick cool off of my feet, ankles and calves, it was back to the trail to start climbing.

Approximately 4.3 miles into the run, I crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway and passed the Slacks Overlook aid station (water only) with a wave. Sometime after the aid station, it began to hit me that I really needed to pee. However, I had maintained a following distance of between 20-40 yards behind the girl in front of me who appeared to be running a pretty solid first portion of the race, and I didn't want to drop off that pace. At about 5 miles, it became obvious that a full bladder was going to slow me down, so I found a place to hop of the trail and peed as quickly as I could before I returned to the trail without losing my place. I continued on, running along the rocky and uneven ridge of Bald Mountain until I came to Camp Marty – the aid station located at 6.9 miles prior to the nearly 1,050 ft, 7 switchback descent to the 25K turnaround. Sometime within about a half mile of Camp Marty, I saw the first place 25Ker going the other way, and then a few more as I approached Camp Marty, where I grabbed a few gummy bears for the big descent.

After flying down the switchbacks, I quickly realized this was really going to suck to coming back up. Beginning with the first place 25Ker, I had counted that I was now in approximately 15th position in the 25K race, and the positions didn't change much during the power hiking climb back up to Camp Marty. Once we arrived at Camp Marty for the second time, I quickly downed two small cups of the electrolyte drink, refilled my water bottle and ate a quarter of a turkey sandwich and grabbed some gummy bears for the trail. Leaving the aid station, I picked up one position, moving to 13th while another runner hung out at the aid station and another was moving pretty slowly heading up the fire road.

Sometime later, at approximately 8 to 9 miles, the runner I'd passed on the fire road passed me as he was flying down hill, and I was back to 14th. After that, I still had sight of he and a small group of approximately 3-4 other 25K runners ahead of me when it suddenly hit me that I REALLY needed to stop to use the facilities at approximately 10 miles. With a fairly comfortable gap between the runner behind me, I quickly scouted a place to hop off the trail to do my business. After a quick stop on some rocks and some dead leaves to wipe, I was back in business on the trail. Since I'd lost some time behind the group in front of me when I stopped, it became a pretty lonely run for the final 6ish miles, as I was just occasionally coming across runners still heading out from the longer races.

At approximately 12 miles, I saw Gil (race Director) heading out along the course and he greeted me with a "good job" and continued on his way. Then it was back down to the White Rock Creek for the second crossing. Along the way, I had to almost stop a couple of times to look for orange flags denoting the trail to verify I hadn't gotten off the trail and gone the wrong way since I didn't have anybody within sight distance in front of me. Eventually, I left the trail for the final 2ish miles back up the Blue Ridge Parkway (which had been mostly down hill at the start). I then spotted a lone runner about a 1/4 mile ahead of me further up the hill on the road.

I decided that I really wanted to pass him, so I picked up the pace and ran most of the final 2 mile climb up the road, passing him about 3/4 of a mile from Royal Oaks resort. Prior to passing him, a deer bounded across the road about 25-30 yards in front of him.

At this point, I was up to 13th place and figured that was where I was going to finish the race, so I just pushed on until Royal Oaks came into view and I saw the finish line and heard the cowbell. I pushed the pace up and ran through the finish with a time of 3:07:06, which was good for 13th place overall out of 72 runners and a 1st place age group finish!

This was my second timed trail run event (1st was the Trail Nerds Psycho Wyco 10 miler in KC in Feb, 2013), and the Inov8 Trailroc 245s proved again to be perfect, even with their first submersion running through a creek.

Great 25K trail run!

Training Plan Entry


15.5 mi

Bel Monte Endurance 25K Trail Run