When one sets out to run 100 miles, the distance — although daunting — is not the major concern; rather, it is the terrain.
Traversing 100 miles up and down mountains is a much different beast than covering 100 miles on a flat path. However, that doesn’t mean the mountain run is “harder” than the “flat” run.
Every 100-mile run is tough, just like every 1-mile run or 5K on up if you do it right, give it your all and use what the course gives you to the best effect.
Someone who did it right is Annapolis ultra-runner veteran Casey Rayburg, who is the current president of the Annapolis Striders and a coach with the Naval Academy marathon team.
Rayburg took on the challenge of the Long Haul 100 in Land O’Lakes, Florida, on Jan. 14-15 and ran away with second place overall with a most impressive time of 15 hours, 38 minutes and 32 seconds. That was only 20 minutes behind the winner, Kalo Axsom of Jacksonville, and nearly 90 minutes faster than third-place finisher Eric Kallina of Boca Raton.
Two other runners from Maryland accepted the Long Haul 100 challenge and finished — Brian Cummings of Columbia (29:34:51) and Tammie Massie of Gaithersburg (30:46:01).
The LH100 is a “flat” race, but that is deceptive as this area of Florida is known for heat and humidity, which can lull a northern runner into going out too fast and blowing up. Added to that mix is the race course itself, which is a mixture of double track, single track and sand with the sand sneaking up on you and wearing you down much quicker than asphalt.
Runners must complete 10, 10-mile loops (think about running the Annapolis 10-Mile Run 10 times), with one “loop” being made up of three spurs that stem from the main hub/crew area. Although getting lost is difficult, with such a format one is always passing by their gear and a place to stop for the day.
Rayburg started out strong and remained within minutes of the leader for most of the early parts of the race. As the race progressed, the 29-year-old Axsom started to open up a larger lead. Rayburg, 42, was “concerned that Axsom was going to lap me earlier in the race, but I felt strong as the sun went down.”
At dusk, Rayburg came storming back over the last 30 miles or so and closed the gap, cutting Axsom’s lead from 5 to 2 miles. However, in the dark, Rayburg saw Axsom finishing his last 2-mile spur just as Rayburg was beginning his. That is when Rayburg “knew I just had to finish out the race without injuring myself through the palms, mud, rootsand wildlife.”
With first place out of touch, Rayburg reflected over the last 2 miles about the “countless training runs with so many different people that kept me running at times when I didn’t want to get out of bed or just wanted to go home and sit on the couch after work.”
It is quite the motivator knowing that your competition is only a few miles ahead of you, especially when you can see the leader a few times each lap. But it is a special run when you can use the last few miles to reflect on how you got to be where you are in life and in the race.
Congratulations to all of the Maryland runners for taking on the Long Haul 100, and a special kudos to Rayburg for finishing a strong second and also placing first overall among Master’s (40 and above) competitors with a consistent and fast 100-mile effort. He averaged 9:23 minutes per mile while taking on the challenge of a “flat” course with speed, perseverance and determination.
A new race is coming to Annapolis on March 11. The Annapolis Running Festival, organzied by Corrigan Sports Enterprises, will start and finish at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium and offers three distances — half marathon, 10K and 5K.
Although the details of the race course are being finalized, all three races will be run in downtown Annapolis, with the half marathon going into Anne Arundel County.
“This is a brand new event and we intend to create a stable and quality race that everyone involved can be proud of and count on for years to come,” stated Lee Corrigan, president of Corrigan Sports Enterprises.
The featured charity will be the Annapolis Police Foundation, which supports the Annapolis Police Department in increasing the capacity and improving the effectiveness of police programs and police outreach in the community.
Corrigan Sports will create the “Charity Chaser,” which will feature an Annapolis police officer running in the event. The Annapolis Running Festival will make a donation for every runner that the “Charity Chaser” passes along the course.
Annapolis Police Foundation chairman Brian Finan said “we are excited to be involved with the event and look forward to having the ‘charity chaser’ promotion raise some funds for the foundation and shine a light on the good works that our officers and foundation do in the community.”
Registration starts at $100 for the half marathon, $75 for the 10K and $50 for the 5K, then goes up Feb. 28. It is open now at annapolisrunfest.com.
Jan. 29 (8 a.m.): Eternal Winter 6-Hour Run, Greenbury Point. Information: annapolisstriders.org
Feb. 11 (8 a.m.): Valentine’s Day 5K, Kinder Farm Park. Information: annapolisstriders.com
Feb. 26 (8 a.m.): RRCA Club 10 Mile Challenge, Howard Community College. Information: striders.net/rrca-club-challenge
March 25 (9 a.m.): Hat Run 50K, Susquehanna State Park. Information: www.hatrun.com
March 26 (7:30 a.m.): B&A Full and Half Marathon, Severna Park High School. Information: annapolisstriders.org