The McNaughton Park Trail Runs 2007 – Reports

Still waiting for the results to be posted on the site. However Julie Berg and Margaret Westlake and Sherpa John Lacroix have posted accounts of their experiences. Margaret’s is posted below as I can’t see it on her site.. Julie Berg won the womens 100 mile event. Karl Meltzer is said to have set a new course record for the 100.

First in the 150 miler was Paul Someone (Martin or Stofko), second was David Goggins and 3rd was Ryan Dexter.

Will post a link to results when available.

Posted on the Ultralist:

Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 11:34:35 -0700
From: Margaret Westlake
Subject: My first 50 – a McNaughton “race” report

I sent emails to lots of friends/coworkers saying I as doing McNaughton figuring the more people I told, he less likely I would be to quit. Friday, I left Louisville and drove to the Indianapolis area to pick up fellow “ultrarunner” Nick Graner. We carpooled to save gas and to have someone to talk to on the drive back. I was running late and picked him up an hour late.

This resulted in us arriving at McNaughton Park less than an hour before the 6pm Friday start for the 150 milers and 5 100 milers who wanted extra time. Nick had signed up for the 100 miler months and months before and while he did not think he could finish, he wanted to go ahead and start that early and do what he could.

We signed in and set up the tent for naps and a dry place to store gear and change shoes in case it rained and then I went to watch the runners start. While we were waiting, a lone runner came through from her noon early start for the 150 mile race. She looked happy and ran on through the start finish without stopping for aid.

The runners took off and we went up on the grassy hill nearby to watch them run on through at about their one mile point. It was a bit of time before Nick came through, but he had planned to start very conservatively so I wasn’t worried. I then left and went to a hotel to get a nice warm night’s sleep before my start at 6am.

My alarm went off at 4am and I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed, packed everything up and headed for the park. I took the room keys as I had the room for another night, but took all my belongings in case I didn’t make it back.

When I arrived, I went to the tent to drop my “organized” drop backs with clothes and gear. Nick was in the tent with every blanket and sleeping bag over him trying to sleep. He said he had done 2 loops during the night.

With only minutes to go, I realized I had left my Garmin 305 on the dash. My car was “way way way” down the road so I jogged/speed walked to get it. Not the conservative start I had planned. Then I tried to hurry back and set up my brand new toy in the dark without falling over my own feet. Such an auspicious start to the morning.

I went out on my first loop and not far into it, it started to rain. It never came down hard, but the trail was already loaded with as much water as it could take, so it didn’t take long for it to completely bog down. Every hill side became a treacherous slippery mess. As the other runners starting at 6am began to lap me, it was getting worse and worse.

One young man came running past me going like crazy down every hill and laughing and laughing hysterically. He kept repeating, “we’re all insane” and then laughing. I don’t think I ever saw him again. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see a lot of the runners ever again. Many runners dropped after that loop (their second) or their next one.

I got a lot of reports saying Nick was 3 miles back or that someone had seen him at such and such spot so I figure he had left the tent about an hour after the start. He didn’t even get the time before the rain that I had so he ran into even more mess than I did. I finished my first 10 mile loop in about 4:15 and given the mud and such, I was pretty darn happy. I left a note for Nick in the tent (1 down 4 to go).

I changed socks and shoes and since I was struggling a bit though due to the discouraging mud so I grabbed my iPod for something to listen to. It turned out to be a good thing since I had so little company on that loop due to all the drops. It was amazing how much the trail had dried out though. I think that loop was the best one of the weekend in terms of conditions. Loop two was about 5 hours.

I stopped at the tent to change shoes and socks and pick up a headlamp knowing I would be out after dark the next loop. This was discouraging as I had intended to knock out 3 before dark. Nick had left a note that he had taken my car and gone to my hotel room for a shower and nap.

I had offered and really had no problem with that except emotionally it was just one more thing in a very difficult day and so I kept saying MY car and MY hotel room the whole 6 hour loop. I left a note saying this was 2 down and 3 to go and I was going to take a break after the next one.

The whole next loop was a struggle. Six hours and just plodding along whining to anyone that would listen or to myself when no one would. At Heavens Gate aid station, someone said they heard Nick dropped, but when I got back from the Heaven’s Gate loop someone said Nick was headed out on another loop. I was upset as that put him on his fourth loop and I had only 3. I wanted to stop and he wasn’t.

By the last few miles of loop 3 I had decided I was stopping. I came in and Andy, the race director told me I couldn’t stop and he started paging Nick to come to the RD tent. He said Nick was waiting on me to start another loop and I just couldn’t quit.

After a while, he located Nick and between them, they talked me into not officially quitting right then and there. I did the usual bargaining and said okay, but I wasn’t sleeping in the tent, I was going to the hotel. Since I only had a king bed, I offered Nick the floor if he brought his air mattress from the tent. We drove back there and he was asleep as soon as he crawled on the mattress. I took a long back trying to dislodge the mud from my feet. It took a while. Then I went to sleep.

I thought I should set an alarm, but played with not bothering hoping Nick hadn’t either. Finally I decided I would, but not at 4am like the day before, but 5am. When the alarm went off, I turned it off really fast and tried hard to fall back to sleep before Nick woke. Unfortunately, my bladder wouldn’t allow it and that woke Nick up.

At about 5:30 as I lay there in the dark listening to Nick move around a bit slowly waking up, I said I thought we should just go back and tell Andy we were done and pack up our tent and gear and leave. Nick was quiet for a long while and then he said “I think we should go for it”. I really did not want to hear that.

After I got dressed and we drove out and got prepared and as we started the next loop I thought it wasn’t so bad and 20 more miles was going to be a piece of cake. After all, I’d had quite a long nap (I won’t call it a night’s sleep since then I would have to say to myself I didn’t do a 50 miler) and ate and felt pretty good.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last. My about 4 miles in, I was still huffing and puffing up the hills and pain was etched on my face. I had stopped to use the restroom just past the Totem Pole aid station and Nick was long gone. I had hoped to catch him by Heaven’s Gate. The only problem was that Jeff had come past and Nick decided to talk to him and figured I would catch up, not realizing that if Jeff passed me, I probably couldn’t catch up.

I guess my grumbling at Heaven’s Gate going out caused Gregg Rose to feel sorry for me and he picked up and walked the 5k in from there with me. I was glad to have him there and was actually surprised at how quickly the stream crossing came. Gregg showed me a bushwhacking route around the mud bog that comes a bit after that (longer distance and time to the tree ducking, etc. so I felt it was fair to take the route) and I came in much faster than expected (4 something) and without muddy shoes.

My feet were wet though so I changed shoes and socks again (this was the 5th set) and got prepared to go out again. At this point I knew I had plenty of time and I knew I would do it, but I was in pain. My feet and ankles hurt and it was all I could do to stumble on. I told Nick I really needed him not to leave me this loop and thankfully he mostly stayed with me.

I was really amazed at how few people were out on the trails and really impressed with the 100 and 150 milers who stuck it out after the nasty loops. I struggled through the last 10 miles and out of desperation at some point starting asking Nick questions about his ultras and DNF’s. I heard again about Ice Age and his interesting day at Barkley and other adventures as the miles crawled by. He kept trying to edge ahead and I would ask him another question so he would stay close.

He really struggled as people would pass us and he would want to pick up the pace and go on. After we started out on the Heavens Gate loop, he really seemed to feel the pull of the finish line and would edge ahead again. Finally about 1/2 mile from the finish line, I felt the pull. Suddenly I was walking quickly and finally about .05 miles from the finish, I broke into a very slow jog to the finish line.

Life was good. I was sitting on a bench and had no more distance left to go on the trail. Andy’s daughter handed me the 50 mile buckle. There I was turning to the people around and saying, well I have a 30 buckle from here and a 50, I guess I should start training more so next year I can do 100. Of course, not an hour before I had been telling Nick that I wasn’t going to be so stupid as to say I’d never do another ultra, but I sure felt like it. I just didn’t expect my thoughts to change just 5 minutes after crossing the finish.

The drive home was difficult as I had to drop Nick off and drive here for a total of about 6 hours not counting our Ruby Tuesday stop. About 1 hour out, I called my poor husband and kept him awake talking to him so I could drive home. Today, I’m sitting here at my computer, my legs and feet look like sausages due to puffiness and I am stiff and have one good size blister, but I’m happy. I’ve sent emails to coworkers and friends. My friends have responded and my boss, but my coworkers are speechless. I’m so glad I finished to I could get that response.

Nick says he thinks I had the longest official 50 mile time in recorded history, but I don’t care. McNaughton is awesome and I still look back to a few months ago at a race where a woman told me I was crazy to think I could do McNaughton as my first 50 and did I know how hard it was. The race director is wonderful, the volunteers are great. I don’t care how hard it is or how nasty when it rains. I will be back.


Whatever you can do or think you can, begin it. Boldness has power, and genius, and magic in it. — Goethe The home of multiday running news and events.


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