Report, results and photos will be published in UltraRunning Magazine following the event - go to www.ultrarunning.com to subscribe.
March 19, 2011
The day started clear and cold with pre-race temperatures in the mid 30's. And there it stayed, seemingly getting colder as the sun came up due mainly to the wind. So with the sunshine to their back and the wind to their face the largest field of runners were about to start on the 50K trek that would take them around North Park Lake six times. There were 60 UltraRunners who toed the starting line, ranging in age from 21 to 69, who had come from as far away as California and as close as just over the hill from North Park. They represented 5 states and a wide range of expectations for the day.
We got the morning started with a few brief announcements and the introduction of Lt JC Stone's brother and sister. JCs family is wonderfully supportive of the event and our fund-raising efforts. Then we had the playing of the National Anthem. It was time to start! Runners Ready. GO!!!
A lead was established by Andrew Bartle and the discussion became focused on whether the winner from last year hold his pace and keep the lead. Chaz Connolly, Doug Basinski (winner of 2009 JC Stone 50K) and Benjamin English were running strong and fast in order to seize any opportunity that Andrew may offer. But Andrew was having a good day and staying very strong, opening up a larger and larger lead through four laps. He then went on to a repeat victory and took 7 minutes off of his last year's winning time in the process. He set a new course record of 3:21:56. Chaz Connolly was the 2nd place finisher running an outstanding time of 3:32. Doug Basinski finished in 3rd place and Benjamin English in 4th. Dan Nephin, claiming to be coming back slowly, finished 5th in his 2nd fastest JC Stone 50k. I pronounce his comeback complete :)
Meanwhile the ladies were busy getting this race going and at the 6.1 mark it looked like three-time winner Connie Gardner had her sight set on victory number 4. Stacy Kopchak (who ran 4:16:25 in 2010) was running very strong and putting in consistent laps. If Connie gave her an opening Stacy was in good position to take advantage of it. Stacy began to close the gap on her 5th lap, making up some time, but Connie had found her pace and went on to a 3:59:24 finish. Making this her 4th consecutive win and 4th consecutive sub-4:00 Lt. JC Stone 50K.
The UltraMarathon is not just about winning but rather it is about the opportunity to challenge yourself to a running event that few attempt. Each of our 59 finishers represents their own unique and individual story. Every one of them testimony to the dedication and hard work that it takes to set a goal of a 50k and to run across that finish line. This year we had a visit from Jim Simpson age 69 who finished his 786th Marathon or Ultra with us, he has done a marathon in all 50 states......11 times. Yep. You read that correctly. He was heading to Virginia Beach for the VB Marathon on Sunday, March 19. We had an ex-military runner who is planning a run-across-America as a fundraiser for The Wounded Warrior Project. A couple of 21 year old Penn State students who picked one heck of a way to spend a Saturday. Brother and Sister runners - LuAnn and Chris. Father and Daughter runners - Terry & Laura. A former Miss Pennsylvania! A nervous husband whose wife is due with their baby in two weeks! My friend, Chris Gibson, who was the Race Director for the GNC Road Ultra Series that was held at North Park for years was in the field, and two guys who are training to run Badwater in July. Yes, there were a lot of interesting and amazing stories out there on the course today.
Thank you all very much for choosing to run the Lt. JC Stone 50K. The Rotary Club of Hampton Township enjoys the opportunity to provide you with a fun race experience. Come back and run with us again one of these days.