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The Slithering

Posted Mar 27 2012 1:03am
For five years now, TATUR has put on Tulsa's only Six Hour (and Three Hour) timed trail run. This event is not a set distance, although it is ran on a set course--the Snake Trail on Turkey Mountain. How long is the race? How far can you run in Six or Three hours? Finish in the top three, and you get to have this grumpy serpent setting on your trophy shelf! This is my favorite race, from a race director's standpoint for quite a few reasons.
1. It is easy to set up. The course is 2.1 miles of trail that is ran out, and then back. Not a lot of marking involved, although great pains are taken to make sure no one goes off track. There is also a half mile finishing lap that you can tack on extra mileage when time is too short for another 4.2 mile circuit. Other than the start/finish, there is just one aid station.
2. The race is over when it's over. Those slower runners (like ME) know exactly what their finish time will be, and after six hours, everyone is done.
3. Everyone seems to love the race. Since there are so few races of this variety, a PR is almost a sure bet.
4. This race has the most awesome trophies. Scary ones! And the medals have been great the past two years too, thanks to the artistic abilities of Brian Hoover.
5. I always have the most amazing volunteers!!!
My friend Randy Ellis and his lovely bride Marcy came early and stayed late, working the start/finish aid station, keeping the hot stuff hot, the cold stuff cold, and the runners watered and fed. Thank you Randy and Marcy. I never have any worries when I have you at the helm.

Venus (on the left) worked non-stop for all of the three hour event, signing people up, passing out packets, passing out water and Gatorade, and cheer leading. She is fascinated with trail running, and I can't wait to get her on the trails. Susan also helped out with packet pickup, and then went to the turnaround aid station for the day. Thanks Susan!!

MVP Mitch Drummond timed the race again. This is one stressful job, counting laps as each runner zipped in and out. Mitch has nerves of steel, and brains of Einstein. It's as if he remembers every runner who passes through. He would no doubt be great at counting cards at the casinos in Vegas. Amazing job, Mitch. Kirk (on the left) was Mitch's right hand man for much of the day before he assumed the search and rescue mode later in the day.

Ken Saveth helped out some before the race, and then got a nice three hour run in. Thanks, my friend. (My bad--I don't remember the name of the volunteer on the left. Sorry.)

Random pic of an old buddy. Tom Robinson and his nephew get focused before the start of their three hour run.

A trio of runners get their game face on. Stormy is studying me to try to determine if I'm taking pictures or a video. Christy is rocking the pink arm panties. Pat is rocking pink panties too.

I found my place on a mound of dirt. King of the mountain, with a megaphone to boot! I LOVE THIS JOB!!!! I gave a quick rundown on how the race works, and some trail conditions.

The dust was not a problem on this day. Five inches of rain earlier in the week had left quite a few muddy patches. No one finished with clean shoes. Or socks.

230 runners took off at 9:00 sharp. The first .2 was on slightly wider trailz, and then it was narrow single track for a half mile before widening out again.

Single file trailz--lap one had a bit of a traffic jam. I will probably have a staggered time next year, separating the six and three hour races by 15 minutes.

Meanwhile the aid station on the course was getting ready. The runners hit this stop at mile .95, and then again at mile 2.1 where they turn around and go back the way they came. Russell manned this stop, with a lot of help. Russell also worked with me all day Friday, toting stuff out to the race site, setting up aid stations, setting up the starting line, delivering barrels of water, marking the course, etc. He was also an MVP. Dana opted out of running, and worked all day serving water, food, and Gatorade, as well as fetching more food, water, and cheering runners on. The day(s) before the race, she was the one who went to Sam's and Wal-Mart to buy supplies for the aid stations. Could not do this race without her.

And here the runners come! Jeff and Amelia are on a mission, going for a marathon on sloppy trailz in six hours. They made it.

Kathy, often one to place in an ultra, ran the three hour this day. She ran with her RunnersWorld group before the race, and with her 12.6 miles at the Snake (and 2nd in her age group) finished with 20+ miles for the day.

Did I mention that it was muddy? A lot of the runners tried to step around the puddles, but actually the best plan of attack was to plow right through the mud. Usually, the footing was solid in the puddles, but sketchy around the edges.

Waiting at the Turnaround was Kurt and Brynna. Brynna ran a couple laps in the three hour, and then worked the rest of the day at the turnaround. Thank you Brynna!! Kurt, whose wife Shelley was scorching the course, had the best seat in the house, seeing her come by 24 times (since runners come by this aid station three times per loop.) Thanks, Kurt for helping out.

Another Dana pic--well just because!! We got OUR trail miles the next day. Thanks, Babe!

After 180 minutes of running and seeing this arch for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time, the race was over for the Three Hour runners. All runners who completed at least one 4.2 mile loop received their finishers medal, and the awarding of the Snake Trophies commenced.

Elaine Palmquist ran 17,8 miles, and took the 1st place trophy.

Lisa Pivec, a Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd finisher, took 2nd in the 3-Hour Snake Run, with 17.3 miles.

Jeanette Luevanos took 3rd with 17.1 miles.

Speedy Tom Brennan, a two-time Arkansas Traveller winner, had an easy time this day, running 22.5 miles for 1st place.

Nick Seymour was one finisher lap behind Tom, and took home the 2nd place trophy.

Christian Loeshel was the lone trophy nabber from Arkansas this year. I "gripe" about the Arkansans mopping up at this race, but actually I like it that they do so well here. I heard that they don't take to mud-swimming though. We missed you guys this year!!

Now, on to the Six Hour division, where course records fell. Shelley Egli hit it hard and never let up, besting the women's course record by 1.6 miles. Shelley ran 35.6 miles for the win.

Lori Enlow ran steady for much of the race, falling back just a little near the end. Lori (the winner of the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd) also passed the previous course record (which was 34 miles) running 34.1 miles, good enough for 2nd place.

Amber Lane moved up to the Six Hour just before race time, and won the 3rd place trophy.

Troy Albright smashed the previous course record of 42 miles, running 43.5 miles and taking home the 1st place snake. I thought 42 miles would never be broken, but it Troy runs this race again and we have better trail conditions, he could easily surpass his own record.

Mark Denherder narrowly took second, running 38.8 miles and finishing a half mile ahead of his closest competitor earning 2nd place.

Dann Fisher ran 38.3 miles and won the 3rd place trophy.

Congratulations to all who came out and battled the muddy sections to finish a good run. You are way ahead of those who stayed home and watched infomercials.

A few more words of thanks.... Cassy Russell worked the start/finish, wrangling runners, serving food, and she worked like an elf picking things up after the race. Thank you so much, Cassy! Cheryl finished 4th women in the Six Hour, just a couple miles away from a snake trophy.

Troy and Kathy Moore, along with Rachel Runfola helped Friday marking the course, and also in pulling ribbons and caution tape after the race.

Arnold Begay showed up near the end of the race to hang out, and help. Arnold is like that. I can always count on him for pulling ribbons.

Remember I said one of the reasons I love this race: I always have great volunteers? Thank each and every one of you. You make putting on races so easy.
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