Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Jen's 2005 HUFF Report

The HUFF (Huntington Ultra Frigid Fifty) 50k in Huntington Indiana was on Saturday. It's a beautiful 3-lap trail race around Roush Lake and the Huntington dam area.

ran it last year in fairly nice weather and on a dry course in 8 hours, 24 minutes. I was hoping to be under 8 hours for this year's race, and really wanted to be near 7 hours if the weather cooperated.

We have had crappy cold, snowy, wet weather around here for the past week, so noone knew what to expect for raceday. It turned out to be about 23F, light winds, no blowing snow. Very nice for a long distance run. But the course was another story: 4-6 inches of snow that caused unstable footing on most of the course. Oh well, what can you do, except toe the starting line and go.

The cannon went off (yes, a real, very loud cannon), and within the first quarter mile, my shoe came untied. Not a good sign! I started up again, and talked with some other runners around me. It was like a choo choo train, the course only had one semi-runnable lane, and everyone just fell into line one behind another.

We crossed the dam (3 mile mark), and guess what? My sock started rolling under my foot. A blister starting that early was another bad sign, so I sat alongside the road and again took off my shoe... I got water at the 4 mile stop and got back into line. Everyone really stayed about the same pace for the next couple miles.

The course was different than last year, due to a new shooting range at the park. I was very surprised that 2 of the most challenging things on the old course were now gone, a wide creek that always meant wet shoes, and the big hill right after it. I won't complain about either being gone, as we went on the road a bit, and it was nice to have a little traction for about 3/4 mile... I met some nice runners, including one guy from my area who might be nice to train with sometimes.

I got some pretzels at the 7.5 mile water stop, and chugged along some more. People were starting to spread out now, and when we got to the bridge before 9 miles, I only had a couple people near me.

I finished the first lap (10.8 miles) with a lady running with her boxer dog. Lap 1, approximately 2:15. I stopped at the tent to drop some extra clothes and use the restroom before starting lap 2. Again, I talked to some nice runners, and looked around quite a bit. The lap was pretty uneventful. I felt good, and kept eating and drinking various things, as well as taking my salt tabs every hour. Jolly Ranchers and gummy baears were my friends!

The wind was picking up a little as I crossed the bridge,a nd I had a little headwind going back to the campground. It was just past 5 hours when I came around again. Again, the available bathroom called, and I answered.

I hit the trails again to start lap 3, knowing fully that I was going to finish, and realizing that, even with the horrid footing all day, I had a chance of breaking 8 hours if I really concentrated.

My last lap was steady, and I still felt good. I got more candy and even passed someone at the 4 mile rest area. I kept chugging, setting pace goals for each mile. I met every one of these goals, and kept knocking off miles. By the time I reached the bridge the last time, my adrenaline was already pumping. With 2 miles to go, I knew I was going to be able to break 8 hours, but now I also realized that my 3rd lap could possibly be faster than my second! I had picked up the pace after nearly a marathon!

In the last mile, someone came up behind me and scared me by calling me by name. It was my friends Sam and Karen, who I hadn't seen all day. I had originally hoped to run some of this race with them, as Karen and I are very close to the same pace at practically every distance we run. Seeing friends getting close to finishing their first 50k and still running strong motivated me, and I actually picked up the pace in the last mile and a half!

I chugged in and rounded the last few corners with more energy than anyone should have after 32 miles. My fiancee John was at the finish line with my blanket and a big smile. He knew I had met my goal as the clock read 7:52:05 when my chip beeped!!!! My body wasn't ready for the sudden stop, and he had to hold me up.

I went into the tent and turned in my paper and chip and rejoiced: this year they had the medals at the finish line!!! I put mine on and waddled to the soup tent.

The soups at the finish line of this race are worth every minute of effort, and I had used the thought of the wonderful spicy corn chowder to keep myself motivated a couple times during the day. I had warm spicy corn soup, drink, my honey, a 32 minute PR (think about that, I cut off an average of a minute per mile!) and my medal. What more could I ask for???? I had no cramps, no deficiencies, no walls, no problems for the entire race. Truly amazing, considering I was out there almost 8 hours! I was thrilled with my day...

Now the amazing part: It is only 48 hours since the race, and I can walk stairs normally and even hopped on the exercise bike for a few minutes this afternoon to stretch out... I am already planning for another 50k PR at this race next year...

First posted on The Original Live Journal Runners Club on December 19, 2005.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Photos are Up and Available

Photographs of The HUFF 50K are now up and posted.

The Race Director took some photos around the course. Some of those photos have already been posted on this page to illustrate some of the weblog reports. These photos are available for viewing at Webshots.

We did something new this year at The HUFF. We asked professional photographer Andrew Hancock to provide photographic services for the race. He has posted over 575 photographs of The HUFF 50K on his site at PhotoShelter here. These are great photographs.

Both photosets will remain as permanent links on the right side of the weblog. Just scroll down the right side of this page to "HUFF Photos."

Purchase of prints from Photoshelter requires setting up a Photoshelter account. Payment is by PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account, you may establish one online.

Note that the Andrew Hancock photos are very high resolution photos printed on archival photographic paper. The cost per print reflects this quality.

Photo: Clark Moser, age 17, Elwood IN
Photo credit: Mitch Harper

We will be surveying participants regarding photographs and this will aid our planning for 2006 and beyond. The HUFF 50K does not receive income from prints of photos.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nancy Kleinrock & Steve from Finger Lakes

Long and slow, cold and sunny, snowy trails and chip timing -- the 2005 Huntington Ultra-Frigid Fifty (HUFF) 50K was a race of extremes. More than 400 runners gathered in the predawn cold to begin either one or three 10.8-mile loops around the frozen northern Indiana Huntington Reservoir, traversing 20% roads and 80% gently rolling wooded trails covered with about six inches of snow that was soon nicely padded down to what Nancy might consider the perfect running surface, although not one that would inspire any speed records. (How's that for a long sentence!) Both Nancy and Steve were excited about tackling their first ultra, but a niggling tendon or two left Steve feeling a bit trepidatious.

This race, directed by Mitch Harper and coorganized by others including Chris Reynolds' cousin Judy Tillapaugh, whom we had met this past summer on a Finger Lakes 50s run-through, is one that Steve -- who hails from the Hoosier state -- had participated in three times previously, although in the three-person relay of one loop each. Judy and her coconspirators put on a wonderful event. We can't comment on the pasta dinner or pre-race-day packet pickup, but on race morning we each collected a chip, personalized bib, HUFF T-shirt, HUFF hat, HUFF ice scraper, and manly deodorant -- huh? -- in a heated tent in the park campground, a location that would later double as a smorgasbord of soup for our postrace enjoyment. At the three aid stations, volunteers cheerfully offered up the usual (partially frozen) liquid refreshments, as well as a variety of cookies, pretzels, potato chips, peanut M&Ms, and suchlike. Loop after loop after loop those folks retained the encouragement and sunshine in their voices despite the likelihood of well-frozen feet and noses.

Some highlights of the race:

The Boom -- After standing in the midst of the crowded start line of shivering runners, a Civil War-era cannon sent us on our way just post-sunrise, with the shock wave reverberating strongly in our chests. Guess that's one way to make sure no one has a heart attack on the course: get any potential event over with before the running begins!

The Start -- It was just like Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh's "expotition" to the North Pole: a long line of everybody. The first half mile was on the park road to let the field of runners sort itself out, but it didnt work so well. With the intention of more than 32 miles to go, we started slow and easy. A good plan. But once folks ventured off the road and onto the snow, many didn't seem to know what to do with their feet. One would think that a person about to run either 10.8 or 32-ish miles on snow would first check out what that surface felt like. Good deal, though, that there was sufficient room on either side of the single-file line to trot along in the deeper snow at a comfortable pace. Three miles into the course came the first road section -- actually, a bridge across the reservoir's dam -- which spread out the runners, and the remaining hours brought no congestion.

The Gunshots -- Toward the end of loop 1, Nancy and Steve first heard them even though we were about a third mile apart (Nancy ahead of course!). Having lived in Schuyler County for a decade, and seeing no runners keeling over on the trail nearby, Nancy thought little of the gunshots that pealed out from across the lake. On loop 3 she definitively discovered the source. Early Saturday afternoon must be an active time for the firing range near the loop's sixth mile. Passing another runner as a shot rang out, Nancy remarked, "I bet they're doing that as an incentive to make us run faster." The reply: "Maybe it's working for you, but not for me!" After all, it was roughly mile 26. It was then that Nancy realized that she had indeed been passing by many men who had started out faster than suited them at this late point in the race and that she hadn't noticed another female three-looper in probably 20 miles.

The Thirst -- Shortly before that final encounter with the firing range, Nancy got suddenly thristy, despite steadily drinking ~10 oz. Of ice-crusted oh-so-delicious blue Gatorade at every aid station. Most likely it was due to impending fatigue to which she didnt slacken the pace but instead succumbed to mouth breathing.

The Surprises -- Nancy's finish was a surprise on several counts. First was her very even splits: 1:47, 1:53, 1:53 for a total of 5:33:15, which are in fact more even than first meets the eye: the first loop might have been a couple of tenths of a mile short due to the road start, whereas loops two and three included a perhaps-longer trail section at the outset; also, loops 2 and 3 included three aid stations, relative to the two of loop 1 -- and it takes time to down two doses of sub-32°F liquid in 20-something-degree air. The steady pace was a nice surprise.

The next surprise was mixed. As she approached the finish line, Nancy heard a wonderfully familiar voice cheering her in. That meant that Steve was at the finish first. Upon crossing the chip-mat, Nancy was instructed to "see this nice gentleman over here" to be relinquished of her bib tag and chip, but she said "I want to see this gentleman first!" -- the one with a bag of snow and ice numbing the tendons behind and alongside his knee, the tendons that began hurting Steve at mile 2 and with which he mustered out two loops for 21.6 miles (first 10.8-mile loop took 1:54, and he hobbled across the chip mat for his final loop in just over 4 hours). Despite the frustrating flare-up of the tendons, Steve felt otherwise mentally and energetically primed to tackle the final loop, as the rest of his body was fine and ready to go. Two days later, as we write this, Steve's leg is stiff but continuing to improve, and Nancy's various body parts feel as though they've done nothing much out of the ordinary. The continued hope is for a speedy recovery and a lively return to the trails of the Finger Lakes.

Surprise number three was Nancy's placement: fourth woman of 37 and 31st overall of 177 finishers -- better than expected on both counts, especially considering an initial registration count of 62 women and 261 overall, implying that Steve was not alone in succumbing to the challenges of the body and/or the course. Among the women who finished ahead of Nancy was Ann Heaslett (age 42) of the US Ultramarathon team in 5:10:39 and her Canadian counterpart Jenn Dick (age 30) in 5:14:33. Third place was Indiana native Michelle Didion (age 37) in 5:24:10; the winner on the men's side was first-time ultrarunner, but 2:26 marathoner, Brendon Moody in 3:55:49 (age 24). Full results can be found at

For anyone looking for a beautifully conducted event in who-knows-what winter conditions in a part of the country that too many people consider a mere flyover zone, we highly recommend the HUFF, and we're sure to return some year soon.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Ohio's Kevin Rigg Reports

I just wanted to thank all the enthusiastic and supportive people who help to make the HUFF an outstanding experience! If it were not for the volunteers this race would not be the great event that it is!

Five years ago I ran the one lap fun-run and was bitten by the ultra-bug.

I did not fully appreciate the ultra experience but I was very much intrigued by it. It was the HUFF of 2000 and I didn't comprehend how people could run that far in the snow or why they'd want to; I certainly didn't! But I remember admiring their courage, enthusiasm and strength while running in those conditions. And that I knew I wanted to be a part of that sort of thing somehow. It took me four more years to finally attempt a 50k.

This was my first HUFF but my fourth 50k, and I must say that it has been the most satisfying finish of them all.

Hats off to Mitch Harper and the whole HUFF gang!

Most sincerely,
Kevin Rigg

Reply: Kevin, your comments are very much appreciated.

A HUFFER Speaks Up on Runners World



The HUFF 50K Report
Posted: Dec 19, 2005 8:56 PM

As the story goes i can honestly say that ultra-marathons are one of a kind. Driving over the day before from Ohio i was having mixed feelings about what was going to happen at my first 50K attempt. Reasons to panic was the weather situation of wind and snow pounding my car for the entire 3 hours. also, the whiteouts and the narrow, flat 2 lane roads were being swallowed by snow. Why worry now for what was going to occur later.

When i pulled into the Super 8 motel in Huntington it felt like an eerie feeling. follow the icy covered roadway into the motel with only 2 cars in the entire lot and wind pounding my body as i entered the motel. i watch too many scary movies of this stature.

Race Day:

my alarm went off at 4am and my wake up call at 4:15 woke me up out of a shallow sleep. 2 hours later i was on my way out the door into a cold and icy day. after heating my car up i followed the directions to the camp site and parked my car. parking in the lots was similar to woodstock where cars would block you in and everyone had their lights and walking around.

The Start/Loop 1:

i had my yak trax on and was ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime. the huge cannon went off and we started running. then we slowed to a walk for the first turn into the snow packed trail. there was a line of runners and no way of running faster unless you stepped into the deep snow and ran passed them raising your heart rate.

by mile 7 i noticed my right shoe had totally disentigrated and ripped. my yak trax fell off several times and i kept on looking down at my shoes to see how they were doing. not good. Before i crossed through the chute i went to find my bag in my car to change shoes and fill up on gatorade. i passed the chute at 2:03. Wow, it will be a long day.

Loop 2:

i ate some food and told myself to run as hard as possible to make up time lost, maybe a 1:45 or so. i sprinted every bridge section or road i found. then i settled into a pace that felt great. by the aide station after the bridge i ate some food, had a gel and shuffled on and my brain turned off and just took the course in chunks. lap 2 was a 1:53.

Loop 3:

if i kept a 2 hour pace for the next loop i would be sub 6 hours and very happy. this time i chunked up the course and ran. the last loop was weird b/c there was no one around to run with and gun fire every couple of minutes echoed through the air. when i got to within 2 miles i wanted to cry for some reason, i felt great but the last mile took forever until i saw the bathrooms. some guy came out of nowhere and sprinted to the finish and i tried to do the same. i crossed the line and bent over to catch my breath. the aide helpers asked if i was okay since i was staggering and bending over. i felt like saying, "you run 32.4 miles and try to stand up right, shut up and let me walk".

i walked over to my car and i just wanted to cry but i fought back the tears and changed clothes. went over to the food and ate some chili and seafood gumbo. i downed a red bull, 2 shot expresso drink, a coffee, and gatorade and got into my car and drove home behind someone doing 90 mph the whole way.

this was a great experience and this is the first of many to come. so, would i want to do an ultra again? Hell yes but something longer. next up will be something like a 50 miler or more.

Lap 1: 2:03
Lap 2: 1:53
Lap 3: 2:01
Total time = 5:57

A Boxer, a Bomb, and a Blessing

This was my fourth year at the HUFF and I have to say it was probably the most challenging on the course. My running partner and one of my closest friends, Tricia Miller (also one my relay partners) compared that 10.8 feeling to mile 16 through 26.2 of a marathon! :)

All is well...we will be back next year...not sure about Bailey (Tricia's boxer)...the snow wore him out the most we have ever seen!

I would like to commend Mitch and the rest of the crew for making this year such a well organized event.

It seemed so much smoother with registration...the crowd was handled so well! It was not as congested and thumbs up to John's Chili....that stuff is the bomb (literally, I might add! hehehe)!

Congratulations to all who attempted, overcame and/or finished! It is always a great blessing to run amongst many who are always looking for something more out there! I pray you all were blessed as well!

Connie Gamble
Beyond the Finish Running Club

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kimba's Race Report

Kimba posted this race report on's UltraRunning Forum:

Short version: I did it!! Official time 7 hours 38 minutes, my watch said 7 hours 22 minutes (what's 10 minutes after seven hours running....)

This is a loop course, 10.8 mile loops around the Roush Lake Reservoir. Temps are a bit cool, in the teens (F) when we start. We're all really really cold at the start.
The cannon does go BOOM!!! And we're all off, the relay runners and 50K'ers. The one-loop fun runners will be started about ten minutes behind us.

This is a nice, scenic course, it was very pretty at daybreak, sun glinting off icles and the lake. It was hard to look up though, because the footing was very uneven and unstable this first loop. There was probably 6-8 inches of snow, which, due to the cold, was not getting beat down at all, even with all the folks in front of me. The first loop was very crowded, too, it was pretty much going one by one up the trail. Passing someone meant going into the deep snow of about one foot on either side. The trail or the racers finally opened up for me about the second aid station, which was around mile 8 or so.

I had no real expectation of time goals, although I thought 6 hours seemed rather a reasonable number. I thought I could do each 10 mile split in about two hours (I was just ignoring the other 0.8 mile, not being a mathelete.) And my splits through the 10 miles were 2.01 hours, then around 2.15 for the second 10, and 2.30 for the third then (more or less).

On the second loop, there was no problem with running space! Everyone had spaced out, and I wasn't running around alot of other folks. It was amazing what I remembered on the first loop to prepare for the second loop. The footing was improving too, the sun was heating some of the snow and it was getting trodden down, improving in many areas. I was getting tired already though, the first lap of tromping and teetering, trying to balance, had tired me. My upper body was stiff after constantly watching the trail. I was shuffling along on the second loop, on the road to the first aid station when I thought to myself "I am dog azzed tired" And I immediately felt worse. Then I banished that thought, thinking, no "I am strong but slow." Then I thought it should be "strong AND slow" so I quibbled over that myself and managed to while away a good half mile before I decided on "slow AND strong".

Loop 3 came about and I did not change my shoes and socks like I did after the first loop. Which I should have, because I had changed out of my trail shoes for running shoes, which got soaked rather quickly in the inches of snow. I just grabbed a fresh toboggan hat (I changed hats at each loop I sweat so much) and more food and shuffled on.

Loop 3 was good because it was the LAST loop!!! I was really out there by myself now. I picked up some of the remaining Coke at Aid Station 1, and that really perked me for a few miles. I then tried to keep eating as I went forward, because that seemed to help with energy levels.

I was of course power walking any slopes. There were only a few areas that I could call "hills" here it was a very mangeable course. I developed a non-specific leg pain in my right thigh (different that my normal hamstring pain) which actually hurt when I walked.

I glanced at my watch at one point and saw I was over the five hour mark...longer than any other run I had every done..then once I clicked over 26.6, longer in miles than any run I had ever done!

I just kept watching for the mile markers on the last lap, and the big landmarkers..airport, check..aid station 1, check. Awful road section by shooting range, check. 3 runners passed me here and asked if I was okay. I was walking the uphill and eating potato chips and told them I was fine. I caught them at the last aid station, grabbed some hot chocolate on the go and moved on. It was interesting trying to drink hot chocolate and shuffle at the same time. Next was the reservoir, then 3 foot bridges, then the restrooms at the campgrounds, then done.

Got to the reservoir, headed across it. There was a woman ahead of me, just moving ahead very steadily. I was surprised when I caught up to her right before mile 10, she had been doing great. I passed her and then finally saw the Magical Mile Ten Marker!! 0.8 miles to go!!! I was so excited, I was muttering "ten! ten! ten!" Then I knew all I had to do was pass over 3 footbridges, and then I was see the restrooms and be at the campground.

I pass over the first footbridge and heard an awful commotion behind me. First I thought it was dogs barking, then I thought it was the trio of runners being me, catching up to me and yelling! I must have really slowed down! No, it was the geese over on the reservoir I was hearing, I was finally getting close!!! Two more bridges....and then...yes it was, ohmygod, I've never been more happy to see a bathroom (well, actually I probaly have been, but this meant the end of the race) I trucked it through the campground, and turned the corner into the finishing shoot and completed the race!!!!

My chip and bib strip was taken, and then I passed the mental examination in the hot tent (I had to fill out a card with my name, sex, bib number and approximate finishing do that after running 7 hours..) I must have passed because I got my finisher's medal and was pointed to the soup tent!

I got some great chicken soup, slumped down over it in the corner and started to cry..I am not sure why..just so damn glad to be done running. Some nice man noticed me and came over and talked to me, congratulated me for the race and finding out it was my first ultra. That helped me recover a bit and he said he thought conditions were pretty tough out there on the first loop too.

I was really beat after this, still am on Sunday. This seemed, afterwards, so much harder than running my first marathon. I guess because I spent 2 more hours than my longest run had been. I'm so glad I had some 24 and 26 miler runs in though, because for me at less, 20 mile training runs would not have done this for me.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Full Race Results

You can find HUFF 50K Trail Run, Relay and One-Loop Results at

Age Group Results for The HUFF 50K Trail Run Individual 50K can be found here. (Click on the hypertext link).

Photo of Ellen Pfister (709) and Laura Krumaker (698) leading a pack.

Photo credit: Mitch Harper

First-timer and Old-timer Win HUFF 50K Titles

The two overall winners at Saturday's HUFF 50K Trail Run couldn't be more different. The men's winner was Brendon Moody, a 24-year-old Buckeye making his first foray into ultramarathoning. The women's winner was veteran Ann Heaslett, a 41-year-old Wisconsin runner with international ultra experience.
One thing the two did have in common on Saturday was a solid grip on their victories. Moody won by over 26 minutes; Heaslett's margin of victory was nearly five minutes but she was in control throughout.
"I just decided Monday to come over and do this," Moody said moments after his 3 hour, 55 minute and 49-second performance. "I've kind of been on a down-cycle (mileage) but I felt like I could still run strong."
Moody had called race director Mitch Harper to see who else was entered and what the course record was. With the nearly six inches of snow on the course there was little shot at a course record, Harper told Moody, but a win was certainly possible.
Moody wasn't challenged, establishing a 17-minute lead after the first two loops of the three-loop race. He then changed shoes - from racing flats to trainers - and cruised to victory.
"The course was in decent condition," Moody said of the third loop. "We just needed to pack the snow down. I thought it was getting a little slick, which is why I put my trainers on."
Moody, an assistant cross country coach at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, had run a 2:26 at the Akron Marathon in October.
Runner-up was another cross country coach: Chuck Schlemmer of Ligonier, IN. Schlemmer, 45, finished in 4:18:19. Schlemmer was also making his ultramarathon debut but is a veteran marathoner. He is the girl's cross country coach at West Noble High School.
Heaslett, a member of the United States 100K racing team, won her third HUFF, completing the course in 5:10:39. She overtook Jenn Dick of Ontario around the eight-mile mark and never looked back. Dick eventually finished second in 5:14:33.
Heaslett had a four-minute lead by the end of the second loop and when spotted at various points of her third loop, was in good spirits.
"I felt pretty good," a remarkably fresh Heaslett said after finishing. "The course was great. No problems at all."

Photo of Ann Heaslett crossing the finish line.

Photo credit: Mitch Harper

Southerners steal HUFF relay victories

Story by Brett Hess

A group of first-timers stole the show Saturday in the HUFF relay contests. College and high school runners from Terre Haute banded together to win both the men's and women's relay races.
Aaron Hoover, of Terre Haute, made up a nearly 10-minute deficit with a 70-minute anchor leg to carry his team to victory. Although Hoover said he enjoys hill running, all the white stuff was another matter.
"We're not used to running in all this snow," Hoover said. "The conditions were pretty rough. But it was different; we definitely enjoyed this."
Also in his traveling party was the women's winners, anchored by Terre Haute North H.S. senior Kayla Alexander. She, too, wasn't sure what she was getting into.
"It was intimidating," Alexander said. "I saw all those people coming through after the first loop. They were covered in snow and had icicles on their faces. But it warmed up for me. By the time I ran, it wasn't too bad."

Thank You Note

Dear all Huff 50k helpers,

Thank you so much, yes we were registered as the Death Flowers! (Inside joke from cross country, our coach calls us gladiolas, and he told us those are used at funerals, so we thought the name was fitting to honor him.)

I just got back from the race, and I wanted to tell you how great of a time we all had. We definitely plan to return next year. We came not knowing at all what to expect or how anything really worked, and we all had a blast. It was challenging yet so much fun. Hopefully we can get more members of our team out next year and field some more relay teams. This race is getting us pumped up for track conditioning in our near future!

Again, thank you so much. The race was awesome, especially the wonderful food to look forward to at the end!

Melissa (aka "Death Flowers" team captain)

Top Finishers Audio Report

this is an audio post - click to play

Quick Update - Ann Heaslett Leading Women

this is an audio post - click to play

Audio Commentary by Brett Hess, Running Columnist

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo of Barb Scrogham, Fort Wayne IN
Photo credit: Mitch Harper

Audio Post with Casey Shafer of Team ETG

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo of Eric Ade at the 6 Mile mark. Eric was running the second leg on the Team ETG relay team.

Photo credit: Mitch Harper

Aid Station B Audio Report

Click on the orange arrow of the Audio Post to hear the report from Aid Station B with comments by Gary Bird.

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo of
Philip Sundberg, 19, of West Lafayette, Indiana.

Photo credit: Mitch Harper

Pre-Race Audio Post

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, December 16, 2005

How Many Ultramarathons Have YOU Done This Year?

Prodigious ultrarunner Rob Apple of Tennessee will be joining The HUFF 50K crowd tomorrow.

Rob has completed a lot of ultras. He's done them fast; he's done them slow; but, he has never ceased having a good time at each one. Rob is often the one to lift other people's spirits at rough spots along the trail.

Victoria White, Race Director of the Double Chubb 50K in Missouri, reports on just how many ultramarathons Rob Apple has completed:
Rob has finished 437 ultras. Huff will be 438 if he finishes and will give him 40 ultras for the year 2005.

Trail Condition Report

This was received this morning from Jerry Diehl, the HUFF 50K Chief Trailblazer:
I was down at the start/finish area yesterday (12/15/05), and found 4" to 5" of slightly wet snow. The main road to the Kil-So-Quah campground was plowed as well as the parking spots at the individual campsites. With little additional snow expected and mild temperatures forcast, it should be a great day to run tomorrow! Happy trails!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The HUFF 50K Radio Network


We're announcing something entirely new for ultramarathons: an hourly audio report direct from the HUFF 50K racesite. We're calling it the HUFF 50K Radio Network. Here the introduction yourself by hitting the Audio Post button yourself.

this is an audio post - click to play

Tell your friends and family members that they can keep updated on the progress of the race right here. Tell them to check-in during the day at They can click on the Audio Post icon like the one above.

Run the race, hear the race.

Packet Pick-Up and Chip Assignment

You can pick up your HUFF race packet either Friday night at the pasta dinner or on race morning at the Kil-So-Quah Campground main tent.

Representatives of The End Result Co., our chip timing provider, will be at the pasta dinner on Friday night to provide you with your chip and velcro band. This is a change from last year when everyone had to pick up their chip on race morning.

The pasta dinner is being held at the St. Peter Lutheran Church School facility at 604 Polk Street in Huntington from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. The pasta dinner is provided by the youth group of St. Peter Lutheran Church and all proceeds from the pasta dinner go to the youth group. The map for the Church and the YMCA is shown above.

Tickets for the pasta dinner will be available at the door. So feel free to enjoy a pasta dinner and the camaraderie of fellow runners on the night before the race. Tickets are $8. Those of you who have purchased a pasta dinner online can go to the head of the line!

Parking is available on the street or on the church parking lot behind the school. The church parking lot may be entered from LaFontaine Street.

Packet pick-up and chip pick-up will also occur on the morning of the race at the main tent. Please be patient as we move the registrants through the line.

Relay runners - you will each have the same bib number and you will only have one ChampionChip and strap. It is necessary for you to transfer your CHIP at the transition area to be timed properly. The best process is for the runner who has just finished their leg to sit in one of the chairs. The team member running the next leg should kneel down, remove the strap and then place it on his or her own leg. Then take off down the trail like a cheetah.

For all runners, please be prepared to call off your number as your go through the finisher's chute. A person will remove your bib number and they will hand you a card. Please go into the pavilion immediately adjacent to the finish line and fill your name out on the card. 50K and Relay Runners will turn in the card and receive their finisher's medal. One-loop runners will receive a hearty congratulations.

Your chip must be removed in the transition area. Chips not returned will be billed to the runner!

Finishers should then head to the main tent and pig out. Your run will have just been a prelude to the soup.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Campground Map; Where to Park; Where the Toilets Are

This is a map of the Kil-So-Quah Campground. The map shows the location of the main tent, the finish line and the start. It does not show the location of the LARGE cannon which will be the source of the loud retort signalling the start of your adventure.

The map also shows the various campsites which constitutes most of the parking area for The HUFF. As in the past, please try to ride together to the campground. Most of the campsites will accommodate three vehicles. If you arrive at a campsite first, please pull all the way forward on the gravel area to allow other vehicles to park behind you. 50K folks and relay teams should try to pull in first. This will allow One-Loop participants to pull in last.

We've had a bit of snow last week. The DNR crews at J. Edward Roush Lake have been doing a good job of clearing snow from the campground. However, this may mean the regular campsites are a little more crowded this year.

It is important that you ARRIVE EARLY at the campground. The Indiana DNR will have a vehicle charge for the Kil-So-Quah Campground as is noted in the previous post. This had been the only DNR campsite in Indiana which did not have an entry fee. The DNR constructed an entry station earlier this year. Please arrive early to avoid the line snaking out onto US 224. We had earlier recommended that vehicles arrive before 7 AM to avoid parking problems. We now recommend 6:30 AM.

Note on the map that the Start line in on the roadway. Runners will run on the roadway back toward the entrance until they see the signs as to where they should enter the trail heading west. 50K Runners and the Relay Runners doing the 2nd and 3rd legs will NOT repeat that road section. Those runners will go through the chute, past the aid station table and then run on the trail just west of the main tent area.

Runners will come back through the east section of the campground toward the chute area. This means that 50K runners will pass near their cars before beginning their 2nd and 3rd loops. This means you can change shoes, socks and make other clothing changes.

There are new concrete advanced pit toilets at the east end of the campground, in the middle of the campground just south of the main tent, and one at the west end of the campground. There will be a Portable toilet at Aid Station "A" and Aid Station "B." There are also additional toilets just steps off the trail in another campground by Aid Station "A."

Aid Stations are approximately 3.5 miles apart. There will be a full array of ultra food at each one. That is, there will be water, sport drink, pretzels, potato chips, M & Ms, cookies, PB and jelly sandwiches, defizzed cola, some boiled potatoes and a few surprises.

At the main tent, there will be lots of food...warm food. Runners, though, will be able to partake of fast food (that is, regular ultra food) at an aid station on the west edge of the transition area by the chutes.

The next posting will be about the showers available at the Huntington Family YMCA in downtown Huntington. If you are on a relay team, you may want to think about leaving for a nice, warm, refreshing shower after you complete your leg. You can then return for more hot soup and be ready for your team members as they complete their loops.

Vehicle Entrance Information

As veteran's of last year's HUFF 50K know, the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources began charging a gate pass for vehicles. We didn't have much lead time once that decision was made.

This resulted in long lines at the newly constructed gate house at the entrance to Kil-So-Quah Campground and spillover onto US 224.

We have taken steps to alleviate that this year.

We will be selling both a One-day pass and the 2006 Annual Indiana DNR pass at the pasta dinner/packet pickup on Friday night. The one-day pass will be $5 regardless of residency. (The normal gate fee is $4 for Hoosier cars and $5 for non-resident.)

The 2006 Annual Indiana DNR pass is $36. That will be honored at The 2005 HUFF 50K, the 2006 HUFF 50K and, of course, at Indiana Parks, Forests and Reservoirs throughout 2006.

FORT WAYNE AREA HUFFERS have another option. The HUFF 50K has provided a limited number of one-day and 2006 annual passes to the Three Rivers Running Company for sale. Those are available now at the store located at 6312 Covington Road just west of Getz Road near Time Corners. (Three Rivers telephone 260-459-3668; Email; Map.

The currently have 50 Annual passes and a small supply of one-days. We will replenish that with additional passes over the next two days.

This should assist the two major groups of HUFF runners. The third group consists of folks, largely from Indiana, who will be driving in the morning of the race. They may wish to obtain a 2006 Annual Pass from a DNR facility if one is nearby.

Of course, the 2005 Annual DNR pass remains good through the end of the year. If you have it, use it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Runners' Packet Preparation

Packet stuffing took place Sunday afternoon at the Joseph Decuis (Day-queeze) restaurant in Roanoke, Indiana. Joseph Decuis will be providing 10 gallons of New Orleans gumbo for the infamous soup line in the HUFF finisher's tent.

Many thanks to Judy Tillapaugh, Josh Ware, Chad Ware, Judy White, Kim Lefever, Bev Metzger, Jeff Metzger, Bob Berger, Valerie Powers, and Jerry Diehl.

Also, a very big thanks to Joseph Decuis' Chuck Putterbaugh who not only arranged for us to have the use of the venue for packet stuffing but who also helped through the afternoon in getting the bags put together. The HUFF 50K is very appreciative of Joseph Decuis proprietor Alice Eshelman for extending the hospitality for which the restaurant and inn are known.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Very Cool Bib Numbers for the Early 50K Folks

Those who registered early for The HUFF 50K individual 50K event are going to get a special bib number this year. You can see an example of it to the left of this text. (Yes, Mr. Huff is really entered in The HUFF).

Those whose bib numbers are already assigned on the online registration "confirmed registration" page will be getting a personalized race bib. Most of the bibs contain just the last name. Some contain a first initial and a few, like Mr. Huff's, have both first and last names listed.

If there are some misspellings, please forgive us and roll with it. We will be happy to give you a new 'pristine' bib number AFTER the race if your name is misspelled. We'll be very surprised if there are more than one or two names incorrectly listed.

Those relay teams which registered early will be getting bib numbers with the team name imprinted. Those with longer team names got abbreviated in what we think is a reasonable way.

Personalized names for One-Loop Fun Runners? No, it wasn't in the cards for this year.

As for persons who have not yet seen their names or team names on the confirmation page
please be patient. You will see remaining names and additional size information being listed over Saturday and Sunday. As names arrive Monday and Tuesday in the mail, we will get those posted as the week goes along. Keep an eye on your email. Maps, updates and instructional letters will be arriving.

Almost all the names not yet listed are One-Loop Runners and Team Relay members. There are a some 50K individuals that have been received the last three days which have not yet been entered. Team Relays not yet listed as confirmed but which got their entries in early will be getting personalized bibs. We will be working to double check the data already entered in preparation for putting race packets together on Sunday.

There is snow on the ground now. We will be giving course condition updates this weekend and during the week ahead.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The HUFF 50K in the news

Thanks to Phil Bloom of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette for today's story on The HUFF 50K Trail Run. An excerpt:

Past HUFF races read like a geography lesson. A year ago,the field drew runners from 20 states as well as Ontario, Canada. Over the history of the race, 34 states have been represented, and the winners have come from as far away as Perry, Utah (Brandon Sybrowsky in 1997) and Fairbanks, Alaska (two-time women’s winner Michelle Mitchell).

One thing that makes the HUFF unique is unpredictable weather.

Six years ago, Mark Godale of Akron, Ohio, won the HUFF in record time – 3 hours, 26 minutes, 27 seconds. A year later in the snow, he ran it in 5:04.53 … and won again, giving him the fastest and slowest winning times in HUFF history.

“That was the snow year,” Harper said. “One of our young runners posted on a Web site that the HUFF is not a race but an epic struggle of man vs. nature.

“I always thought we ought to appropriate that as our slogan. It’s a challenge against time and distance, which generally is what running events are. And it’s a challenge against Mother Nature.”

One omission and one correction -Phil wrote:
The challenge of running long distances and the chance to meet interesting people captivated Harper, who in short order learned that someone was trying to organize a series of ultramarathon races in the Midwest. One more race was needed, preferably in Michigan or northern Indiana. Thus was born the Huntington Ultra Frigid Fifty, or HUFF, a three-lap circuit of Roush Lake in Huntington County.
The "someone" was Jay Hodde, biomedical researcher, UltraRunning columnist, GrandSlammer +, and promoter of the sadly missed Great Lakes Ultra Grand Prix Series. (That's GLUGP - an acronym pronounced "Glug-puh" by those of us who think its pronounceable). Jay is the guy who set The HUFF in motion.

Something that Phil and I didn't cover in the brief interview was the number of ultras in Indiana. Phil wrote:
...[The HUFF] is the only ultramarathon in Indiana and one of 111 on UltraRunning magazine’s Internet calendar.
Indiana has, of course, the OPSF 50/50 (Owen-Putnam State Forest 50 Mile/50K - pronounced "Op-Siff"). I mentioned the Owen-Putnam 50/50 to Phil; it was my first 50K. It is also always my example of a classic ultra.

Photo credit: Journal-Gazette file photo

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