Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sweltering Summer Ultra & Marathon Race Report

Sweltering Summer Ultra & Marathon 
August 8, 2015
Pittsfield, MA

Finishers- Marathon 34
Finishers- Ultra 49 

Running in circles will open up your world!

   That doesn't seem to make sense or does it? Let me explain. I set out at 2:45am for the 3 hr drive to Pittsfield MA to run in circles for 8 hrs.  I never mind the drive during these early hours it's peaceful and I get to watch the sunrise. 

   I had carefully read all the pre-race instructions and was confident that this was the perfect place to run my second ultra. A stark difference from the amazing landscapes of Italy was just what I needed to test the limits and challenge myself in another way. Could I mentally keep going knowing I could pull myself off at any second? The car was never more then 1/4 mile away and everyone is a finisher no matter what distance you stop at. Truth is when race day came due to this nagging knee pain I thought I'd just run a half marathon so I could get closer to my 100 half marathons goal. The problem is from the minute I walked up to get my BIB and glanced at that field I knew something different may happen. 
                          There were early starters out there already logging laps! 

  They planned to be out there for more then 8 hrs to complete their goal. I was amazed by their determination! Kudos to the awesome race director Benn Griffin for accommodating them to do so. It's not enough that he has created a race that brings runners of all abilities together he went above and beyond to make it possible for all of us to reach our goal. 

            Every runner had a personal aid station spot with volunteers filling bottles. 

  We had DJ ?confusion? pumping out the beats to keep us moving and an aid station filled with all kinds of goodies. Even some really fancy pizza..too bad I can't eat like that when I'm running because boy oh boy did it look so good. Spectators were spread out along the sidelines calling out names and numbers with words of encouragement and praise. 

So what about the "opening up your world" thing?  Everyday you walk by people, mostly paying them no mind at all. It's just another body moving past you. 

Now imagine if you will, crossing paths with that person 40, 60 or more times.  The perceived monotony of the unrelenting laps builds a bond between the people circling. Each time you pass each other you feel an understanding for what they are feeling. You get to run next to the fastest person, the youngest person the oldest person and the slowest person. They all inspire you and you do them. It will truly give you an appreciation for everyone out there. It lends itself to the opportunity to exchange words and stories with people we may never have in a simple passing. If you want to be inspired run in circles, and do it at the Sweltering Summer Ultra & Marathon. 

I met so many amazing people and loved chatting with each and everyone of them. This race was epic in its own way. The sense of family is unparalleled to any event I've ever attended.  I hadn't met anyone before that day but left feeling like we are all one big family. Those who know me well know that something I look for in races is an involved race director. I want to be able see him/her and know who they are. I'm passionate about running and I love a RD who is just as passionate because it will resonate in the vibe of the event. Those are the races I want to be at!
Benn and his team of volunteers did an outstanding job from beginning to end. The special touches he does like announcing new registrations or providing us with handmade medals set him apart.


I managed to hit my goal of 50k thanks to everyone involved. The time passed much faster then you could ever imagine. For those whose first question is, "is it boring" the answer is "NO WAY" . Sure to follow is the second question, "did you get dizzy"...from the circles nope. I was however feeling a bit lightheaded with a runners high.