Wickham Park 2009 Race Report – Rich Nuzzi

Posted on the Ultralist:

Date:    Tue, 26 May 2009 09:01:31 -0400
From:    Rich Nuzzi
Subject: Short Wickham Park race report

The Wickham Park ultra is a no shirt, no fee, no whining 200 mile, 4 day stage race held on Memorial Day weekend. This twisted little creation was the doing of Florida’s own Matt Mahoney. Take note that living and training in the heat and humidity of Florida does some crazy things to ones brain!
The course is on a 3.75 mile trail in Wickham Park. It is mainly single track with some small sections of fire road and a few yards of road in and out of the main start/finish area. There is very little elevation gain. I think that I saw that the gain/loss was 17-20 feet per lap. It is all in one hill. The hill was pretty much straight up, run a few little ups and downs
of 5-7 feet and then straight down the backside of the hill.

I drove in one hour from Lake Mary and got to the park at about 7 AM. I mulled around getting myself all set up. Matt arrived about 15 minutes before race start and informed everyone to sign in on the lap sheet, which would be on the hood of his car. A short time later 52 brave souls took off into the woods. The course was marked with flour arrows and paper plates on metal posts in the ground. The course marking was not that difficult to follow. On the first lap, the group that I was with needed to stop once or twice to be sure that we were on the correct trail, but after
that, it was no problem. After all, it was 14 laps around the same 3.75 miles.

We were able to run large sections of the course, but fallen trees and water crossings broke up the flow. Due to some pretty nasty storms in the area, we had some above average rainfall. It rained for almost a week straight in Central Florida just before the weekend. This created 5 water crossings (5 times 13 full laps equals 65 water crossings!) that are not normally on the course. 3 of them were more like large puddles with some mud and the other two were steams that would be there except in the dry seasons.
These were all in a one mile stretch of the course. For the most part, your feet were always wet. The funny thing is, this did not cause a problem for me. I came out with only one blister in between the ball of my foot and the big toe.

After the first lap, I signed in and just headed back out for the second lap. I was feeling pretty good and stuck to my plan of 25 minutes running and 5 minutes walking. I was hydrating well, switching off between bottles of water and Cytomax. I was taking on S-cap after every lap and one more if I felt and sloshing or stomach issues. After a few laps, the Sun was staring to play a factor for most of us. You could see people pulling out the bandanas and sun hats. I was starting to feel somewhat drained after about 18-20 mile so I decided to walk in a recovery lap. This did wonders for me. I was able to keep up a steady pace for the rest of the race.

I ticked off lap after lap. At about mile 35 or so, I caught some kid blocking off the trail with large logs. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was making “obstacles” for us! I told him that there was a 200 mile race happening on this trail and that we did not need any additional “obstacles”. I politely asked him to remove his “obstacles” and he told me that he would. The next lap they were gone so I think he actually did clear the trail. I kept up my 25-5 plan and was able to run strong right down until the end. I was slowing passing people due to my walk/run plan and felt good at the end. I managed to finish the 50 miles in 11:45. I was 6th out of 8 50 mile finishers. Not too bad. In all I was happy with my performance and had a good time. Again, I accomplished my goal of finishing with a smile on my face and my legs feeling good. I got to meet some people on the list and some others as well. Matt was there of course, Jim S. was there offering to show me the Ancient Oaks course some time, and Jeff who ran almost the entire 50 miles barefoot! Thanks to Matt for putting together a fun and challenging run. I will be back next year for my 100 mile pebble!

Rich Nuzzi

Race Results available at Matt Mahoneys site

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