The running of the 2016 Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd is now in the history books. What a a stellar event. It is a weekend long party with your Ultra Running family. Ken Childress (aka TrailZombie).
Choices for distances were 135 miles, 100 miles, 50k, 25k & a 10 miler (I think). In the past, the weather is generally typical, cool October weather however THIS WEEKEND, Mother Nature brought in unseasonably warm weather! It might have been close to 90 at one point. Like all ultras, the sought after prize, is a beautiful belt buckle!
In addition to the challenges already there from the race distances, dehydration & over heating brought on additional needs on which all off the runners needed to be aware of.
Indeed, the race was not without casualties. Several of the runners dropped due to dehydration & heat exhaustion. Some even worried TZ & his wife; Dana; who HAPPENS to be a nurse.
As the OLD Combs bridge has been demolished, the race course needed to be changed a bit. Starting off at the same place (Eagle Bluff), the course headed out onto Hwy 10, but shortly turned back in to cross the new bridge & eventually meet up with the original course. The 135 runners did a slightly different out & back making their way up & through JT Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve (only once) & then back, followed by 4 loops. The 100 & 50 mile runners, did not do the old Out & Back, but made their loops inclusive of a portion of the Preserve route.
Back at the Start/Finish, runners went back out & followed the original route. First stop - Mad Dog, ran by none other than Kevin Remaster, his wife Ashley, their children & of course, the infamous Pumpkin, the Wonder Dog!
Where the old Out n’ Back aid station was, Them Idiots took over & made a great run at Mad Dog for one of the best aid stations (although Mad Dog still has the lead for now).
From here, runners make their way to Savanah Corner where John Nobles & his gang provided stellar service to all of the runners. Then it was off to East of Eden. At this point, runners had an option of doing the Great Gourd Challenge (practically a climb STRAIGHT UP) for approximately 1/4 mile. Susan Westmoreland was waiting at the top to great runners with a smile & a sweet Sweaty Band from Mile Junkie. Before making their way to their next rest haven, runners (except those running the 135 miler) made a bit of an Out & Back loop into the JT Kickel Preserve from the other side, before continuing along the usual route.
All along the course, it seemed to be one big party as you can see here by Chrissy Whitten’s, Christine Fischer’s & Friends’ expressions.
After Hard Up Ahead, runners had a bit of reprieve from the gravel roads & had about 3 miles of pavement (whew!) before making their way to Bathtub Rocks. Here, Ed Snow & Company served up great grub & plenty of liquids to stay hydrated. (Well at least SOME hydrated enough!)
Despite being busy running the race, TZ had a few minutes to get some work done in his “office”.
By the time runners got to Last Gasp, there was about 3.1 miles before reaching the Start/Finish. It is here though, that the FIRST PHH Bandit Aid Station was - - Meego’s Cantina; complete with blender & almost a full bar! Can you say Watermelon Margherita?
One GREAT MOMENT was Russell Bennet winning the Men’s 100 mile race! This was Russell’s 3rd consecutive 100 miler in the same number of weekends.
And if this wasn’t enough excitement, Kathy Hoover (of Runner’s World Tulsa)& Arnold Begay completed (4) consecutive 100 milers in the same number of weekends.
All three of them inspire me (& plenty of others) beyond measure!
And lest I forget, I want to thank Sprouts Farmers Market (in Owasso, OK) & Natural Grocers (in Tulsa) for donating several cases of delicious fruit for the runners. Please be sure to shop there as they support us & what we do.
Until next time - - -
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