Jimmy McGinty - The Replacements
The second first-time-participant race for me this year (first one was the Cooper’s Rock: Run the Rock 10K last month), the Mill Mountain Mayhem 10K was held on Saturday, April 14th, 2012 at Mill Mountain Park near beautiful Roanoke, VA. The Mountain Junkies sponsored 4th annual iteration of this race, as part of the Roanoke Non Ultra Trail Series (RNUTS).
I first heard about the Mountain Junkies and the RNUTS series from my Father-in-law Craig, who ran in their Explore your Limits 10K earlier in the year. He spoke very highly of their organization and energy before, during, and after the event. I was excited to head down with him for the run at Mill Mountain.
We arrived early for packet pickup and saw all of the volunteers buzzing around, some tying up loose ends, while others were getting ready for the influx of runners coming in to pick up their race bibs. I will recommend to anyone thinking about participating in this race that you arrive early, as close parking is limited (additional parking was available at a shopping plaza a short walking distance away).
The race started after we hiked up from the park entrance onto the JB Fishburn Parkway. Josh Gilbert, Co-Leader of Mountain Junkies, fired the starting gun after some quick announcements. The course took us up the parkway to the Monument trail. This initial push up the parkway seemed to do me in, as I seemed to not have much energy for the rest of the race.
The first three fourths of the course seemed to be mostly uphill with some rolling downhill trail mixed in, which left me wishing I had more energy to give a better effort. After Monument Trail, we hit a neat section of greenway that took us through an old stone entrance to the park and zoo above. This lead us to the Big Sunny Trail, followed by the Riser Trail, and then the Ridgeline Trail. Still traveling uphill, we passed the entrance to the Mill Mountain Zoo and the discovery center.
Finally, we crest the hill and run by the famous Mill Mountain Star. We are rewarded with a mile and a half of the mostly downhill Star Trail to the finish line.
I tried to catch some of the people ahead of me on the downhill, but just didn’t have any gas left, beyond what was required to keep me on my feet during the controlled fall down the final section of rocky trail. Craig finished a minute ahead of me and got a second place age group finish!
The Mountain Junkies provided a great spread of food from several local bakeries for post-race socializing. They also held prize drawings to keep everyone entertained until the last runner came in and the awards ceremony got started.
This event was a blast, and, provided my schedule will allow, I’d love to do it again to see if I might be able to improve my time. The Mountain Junkies provided one of the most well organized running events that I’ve been to. Please do try out one of their races if you are able to!
Final Results: 48th place overall (sixth age group), Clock time: 56:05.24 (8:50/mile).
Note: Most photos from Mountain Junkies.
This was my first year participating in the Run the Rock 10K / 5K road race at Cooper’s Rock State Forest, near Morgantown, WV. Part of the Morgantown Area Grand Prix series, the race is sponsored by the Morgantown Roadrunners (West Virginia Track Club), and held each year prior to the park being re-opened to vehicle traffic after the winter break. The starting line was near the entry gate to the part, with the course traveling on the vacant pavement out towards the overlook, with a detour out to the picnic area, and back through the overlook parking lot onto the blacktop to return to the finish. There was one waterstop that served as the turnaround for the 5K runners, and gave the 10K participants a second splash on the return trip.
I opted for the 10K distance, coinciding with my training mileage for the day (Capon 50K is on the horizon). I was happy to be running along side several friends and family members (including Chris and Sara that I work with). The leaders, Chris among them, started out at a brisk pace that I hope one day to be able to follow, but not today. I had ran 17 miles on the Cooper’s Rock trail system the day before, so I was curious to see how I would perform on presumably tired legs. We hammered up the first hill and then settled into a good pace on the rolling hills headed toward the overlook. I hooked in with Don Parks, Co-Race director, along with his wife Heather, of the Big Bear 12 Hour Endurance Race in Bruceton, WV, and we kept a nice pace past the water stop and towards the half way point. Chris and the leaders were coming out of the picnic area as we were going in, I cheered him on and tried to keep up with those around me. The return trip seemed to feature more hills, and my pace showed it, but I did have some fuel in the tank, and caught several people on the way back. On the last big hill, I caught my father-in-law Craig and ran with him for the remainder of the rest of the race. We came in and cheered on Sara, my brother-in-law Tom, and the rest of the runners. Chris ended up finishing second overall, and everyone else had a great time at the event. Morgantown Road Runners put on a great race, and I look forward to participating in it for years to come.
Final Results: 17th place overall (second age group), Clock time: 46:53.2 (7:33/mile).