Posted on the Ultralist:
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 11:07:33 +0000
From: Pete Stringer
Subject: Ted Corbitt 24 recap
I’m always complaining about old guys not writing race reports so promises to keep even when my running sucks.
Ted Corbitt was one of my main influences, not just for his astonishing running, but for the kindness and vision he offered to wannabees like me. And he really was humble, unlike the feigned and practiced humility of more than one “great” or famous runner that I have met. I don’t pretend to have known him well, but it was easy to see he was not impressed by himself. When the Ted Corbitt Memorial was announced to be held last weekend, I thought it would be good to go down and pay my respect to this great man and run on the sidewalks of NY despite really training for the mountain trail NE200.
Driving is not my best event, so figured out how i could do it without losing my cool. Smoked a couple cigars as pacifiers on the 220 miles from Cape Cod to my buddy Carl Asker’s manse in New Canaan, and arranged to go in next day with my Sri Chinmoy 6-day friend Andy Cable from his nearby Monroe, Conn. home. Carl is my NE200 pard who I share all with except age. He is me, and i is him, as we have discovered over the past six months. His family and my family have become true chums with his charming wife Maria and three cutey-pie tots joining the welcoming party and making me feel totally welcome. They visited a week on Cape Cod this summer and so it was old friends and ice cream Uncle Pete and all tjhings as usual in this wonderful sport ultraland, best reps of any sport i have ever done.
Andy picks me up at appointed hour and does the drive into NY like its nothing, pointing out tour spots on the way, like where we did the 6-day race, where geographical points of interest are, etc. I leave cigars at home, no need to quiet nerves when someone else does the driving and path-finding. (’tis my age, I suspect, never had this problem when i was a youth)
We arrive at Juniper Valley Park, which is in Queens but about three miles from Corona Park, where they hold the 6-day. I see mr. Richie Innaramoto (sp?) who I have much respect for directing all these races all these years and best friewnd of Mr. Corbitt. It is cloudy. I put on the front and back number, wish all these races had the runners’ names on the back like ATY because i know there are all these legends around me that I do not recognize but would like to meet, like Mr. Ed Dodd and Mr.Neil Weygandt, who has run something over 40 plus Bostons, etc. and Mr. Stikis and Mr. Jakelaitis and Mr. Prawda, etc. I recognize my idol Ray the K, and he obliges my request to have photo taken with me (got duplicates Ray, so sending yours to Pontiac, they are a bit fuzzy, which makes us both look handsomer).
See old friends Lee Dickey, who ends up finishing a great 7th with a p.r. of 108 miles or so, and Dr. Rios and the warrior Roman Dzierlatka, always handy wit his transistor radio with the sport scores to share, and muscle man Bob Oberkehr who finished great third place, and friendly David Luljak who looks sounder now.
Richie says “go!” and off we chug on the 1.2 mile loops through the overcast. I start with 15 minute loops that mathmatician Andy tells me is 12:30 pace, and hold that for a few hours, noticing that so many guys give a little hello as they pass on by, the signature wave in a sport where we all seem tied together. I feel great but am moving slowly. I like packed dirt for a surface, with grass my next favorite. I am no good on these hard sidewalk type surfaces. A course like ATY is perfect for me. The format of a multiloop race is great, however, so you get to see the ongoing strategies of all these different runners and sort their personalities, at least when it comes to running. I have run Western Satates many years Mr. Jurek has won, but never had the pleasure of watching him. Leadville gives you a fleeting glimpse as the front-runners whiz back on their return.
I get slower and slower. Andy is doing great, so is Lee. Ray is doing his second 24 hour in a week, and looks fresh as a daisy (he ends up finishing eighth with over 100 miles), the woman Jody-Lynn Reicher whizzes by effortlessly, reminds me of the great Pam Reed, very slim and just skipping along like a zephyr. She ends up finishing third, but didn’t use many hours, so either had some trouble or decided enough was enough in the cold rain.
I decide to do 100K for training purposes and respect for Mr. Corbitt, but even that total i must walk the last four hours. (I better get in better shape if I’m to do 200 miles in three weeks) I haven’t seen Andy for a while, but find him sleeping in front seat of his car. Wake him up, and he has done a lap more than me. We decide to forego waiting around for awards in five hours so I can go have some sleep (I admit i twice stopped and dozed in the chair til the frosties woke me).
Andy recounts his race and I mine on drive back to Carl’s house (Carl has done his 41 mile training run wth good results), and again Andy points out scenic spots on highway right and left. he cracks me up.
Carl and Maria treat me like royalty , give me TLC and jacuzzi special and terrific gourmet lamb dinner before Patriots game. Plus the kids think I did great. Young two year old Fredrik asks dad if uncle Pete can stay “all the time.”
Carl plots NE200 strategy to me while i watch replacement quarterback Cassels come through and notch one up for our side. I call Jane and announce total. Life is good.
Next morning about 3AM I wake and decide to split, road will be safe early morning hours and i will not have the Hartford and Providence traffic to negotiate. Do it without need of cigars this time, must clear lungs for big race in three weeks. Plan to do Bay State and Cape Cod marathons as training runs.