Date: Sat, 9 May 2009 20:36:14 -0500
From: Juli Aistars
Subject: Cornbelt 24 hour race report — the friendly Midwest
“Just you on a track–it doesn’t get any simpler.” Bonnie Busch
Bill Allen and Jamie Donaldson were very much on my mind as I circled the track last weekend at the Cornbelt Running Club 24 Hour Run at North Scott High School in Eldrige, Iowa. This was the 28th annual and my second running of the event. Last year, Bill and Jamie both ran so well and still found time to encourage others. This year, they were at the IAU 24 Hour World Challenge. Congratulations to our U.S. men’s and women’s teams who competed May 2nd to 3rd, with the women’s team winning a silver medal.
There were many events going on last weekend, including the conclusion of the Self-Transcendence 6 and 10 day. Some of the great performances have been mentioned already, such as Pam Reed’s 490 miles, Pete Stringer’s 319 miles, and Dipali’s new world record of 513 miles.
Congratulations to all!
Cornbelt is a very well organized event brought to us by the Cornbelt Running Club, Race Director Karl Ungurean, and all those who help with the event, including Bonnie, Bob, and the lap counters who are the highlight for the runners. Not only do they take their jobs seriously, but they call out our names and laps completed with a smile and encouraging words every time we make the circuit. They are a great cheering section, especially in the middle of the night and the final morning. Bob single-handedly mans the single aid station and there is nothing he won’t do, taking orders and even running out on the track to deliver! Typical of ultra events, all crew and families were willing to help any runner, not just who they were there for, whether they met you before or not. What I love about the timed events is the college-like atmosphere and the chance to socialize with almost everyone present, runners, friends, and family members alike.
A few runners, like Rich Breaux, were there to run the marathon, the 50K or the 100K, but most stayed for the day. George, RD of the Virginia 24 Hour Run for Cancer held two weeks prior raising a record $7,000, ran well until he had some problems that caused him to take a prolonged break away from the track.
Though it had to be difficult to return and run again, George rejoined us, with a positive attitude and encouraging words for the rest of us.
When I was slowing down at night, taking a few naps at trackside, Bonnie again came through, just like last year, with good suggestions on how to keep going. Nothing like hot food or coffee to get through the wee hours. Thanks for your kindness in so many ways, once again, Bonnie. I hope you recover quickly and return to clicking off those 100+ 24 hour events…
Of note, Candace was participating as a walker after a few years away from ultra events because of her fibromyalgia, logging 42 miles! I enjoyed talking with her and her husband on those final laps and hearing his pride in her accomplishment and the pure joy in her voice. Eight runners hit or surpassed the 100 mile mark.
A few of the outstanding performances were overall winner Patrick McCartney with 116.65 miles, Michael Adams who ran the fastest 50 mile time of 7:11 and ended up 3rd overall, Ron Grimes who has run Cornbelt 17 times, is 62 years old and finished 2nd overall with close to 107 miles, Marv, 70 years old and the oldest runner out there who ran 71 miles. He was great company, especially when it was a stuggle to keep up the pace. David and Joe were brothers running their first 24 hour event, with Joe finishing 5th overall, even though he stopped running when he hit 100 miles at 21 hours. Cindy, who I met at Cornbelt last year, and didn’t recognize until the awards ceremony, ran a good race, staying very consistent, and Lisa, who ran conservatively early on but wowed us with her fast pace on the track in the hours just before morning.
What I love about this event is the friendly atmosphere, the kindness and caring everyone shows for each other, the great conversations, and the fun we have together. I thought of the brief time we spend here on this Earth and what is really important, and there was no place I would have rather been in those hours than on that track with some of the kindest, most fun-loving and good-natured souls in the ultrarunning community.
Hope to see you next year!
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