Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shots, Banged Up Fingers, Friends and Loads of Fun: Race Report - Stone Cat 50 Mile

I had heard a lot about the Stone Cat 50 Mile Race in Ipswich, Massachusetts, put on by "That Bunch of Runners In Topsfield" known as Gil's Athletic Club ("G.A.C.").  This group claims that they "have been known to drink a beer on occasion......but mostly we run......any distance, any time, any season, any place on earth."  Now, I happen to know several members of this storied club, an there is one thing that I'm certain of - "known to drink a beer on occasion" is the understatement of the year.  These folks know how to have a good time.  They are an absolute blast.  So, it was no surprise when I was sent the following picture and note from the amazing 2009 Grand Slam of Ultrarunning finisher Lori Turner Wetzel, which was clearly a sign of things to come :

4 loops, 4 shots - choose your order now....
The course is all trails, a mix of double track and single track trail, all in Willowdale Forest on a 12.5 mile loop. The course is very runnable but has a lot of rocks and some sections contain many roots. The terrain is rolling.  There was also a few sections with quite a bit of icy cold water, enough to leave your toes and ankles a bit on the chilly side.  Three aid stations - the Start/Finish, Al Cat's Lounge (at mile 4.2), and Fast Freddie's Cafe (at mile 7.5) - are "well stocked with water, gator, soda, munchies, sandwiches, GACers, malt beverages, advice, etc." (emphasis added).

True to its reputation, Stone Cat 50 Mile was an absolute blast, a must-do event to experience if you have the opportunity to do so.  G.A.C. - some of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting - major thanks to Chris, Susan, Lori, Cheryl, Paula, Roger, Al Cat, Randy, Marty....there are just too many to name....for making it so much fun.

How was my race?  Great!  It is probably best described by the pictures that follow, but in a nutshell, I spent the first and second loop running with Elena, (fell twice, rolled well, but banged up a finger a bit) the third loop helping a nice guy who was running his first 50-miler (struggling through loop 3, he pulled it together to nail his goal time of sub 10:30; I think his name was Ryan, but those 4 shots may have had an impact on my memory), and hung with Elena and Jenn for the first 7.5 miles of the fourth loop before heading ahead for a 9:39:04 finish.  The old legs certainly felt a bit of fatigue as the race progressed due to running Javelina Jundred just 2 weeks ago, but it was nice to go into this one with no plans or expectations, and emerge from it with a few flesh wounds, a banged up finger, and a big smile.  Also, despite wet feet for just about 45 miles, as usual, blister free - this time using Drymax Lite Trail Running Socks.

Also, kudos to Elena for finishing her first 50-miler, and to Wayne for nailing this 50-miler on such limited training.  Now if only Wayne survives the bit from the Brown Recluse Spider he sustained on the trip home (note: inside joke).

Ok, picture time (captions courtesy of Lori):

The Lounge
Tony... 2nd loop, 2nd shot... some kind of sweet tea vodka, or something.

Loop 3, shot 3... some kind of licorice stuff...

Don't let the face fool you... he LOVED it!!

loop 4, shot 4... mango rum, I think... poor Tony! He was a good sport!

He looks a little sad that he won't be back around for another drink... doesn't he??


  1. Crap, how much was in a shot? And boy, good time for a finish on 100M legs and 4 shots!

  2. It is Ryan. Thanks so much for getting me through a tough lap three. It was great running with you. I think I'm going to sign up for the VT 100. How many shots do you think I'll need for that one?

  3. those are some classic photos! LOL