Wednesday, December 23, 2009

50K's Emmert and Schlemmer Featured in Hess Column

Running writer (and HUFF participant) Brett Hess featured Nichole Emmert and Chuck Schlemmer in his Tuesday column in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. You may read the full article by clicking here.

Nichole Emmert has been learning from Chuck Schlemmer for more than a decade, so why would Saturday's HUFF be any exception?

The West Noble coaching duo were the top area finishers at the annual ultra-marathon trail event in Huntington, with Schlemmer placing third overall and Emmert finishing fifth in the women's division.

Emmert was 45th out of 172 finishers overall, quite a respectable result for not only her first ever marathon, let alone an ultramarathon.

[ ... ]

Saturday's race course was served with two inches of fresh snow, which made the final loop an adventure. The trail iced over in some stretches, slowing runners considerably. Under any conditions, the HUFF can teach experienced runners a lesson or two, but it was almost information overload for Emmert.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"A very well organized race." "I had a great time"

Doug Lovall of Valparaiso, Indiana, gave this report on the Runner's World Forum. Doug posted additional photos on the RW Forum site.

Ah where to begin. The Huntington Ultra Frigid Fifty (HUFF) was my first ultra-marathon. At just 50K many look at it as just a long marathon. Well this 1 was a bit longer than 50K. The race tracking site listed it as 33 miles, My Garmin reported 32.15 miles [ ... ] .

The short version: I ran the HUFF 50K which was actually 33 miles (53.1K) with a finish time of 7:09:13.

The full version: I ran the HUFF 50K which was actually 33 miles (53.1K) with a finish time of 7:09:13. Weather was about 31*F with a light wind and snowing. By the end of the day we had about 4 inches on the ground. This made for a treacherous trail in places. I slipped a few times, fell once. I REALLY needed traction shoes for the race. I ran it in my Axiom 3s and I didn’t put the sheet metal screws in them. After the first lap I wish I had.

I have trails in my area and I thought I would be ready for doing some trail running. Well HUFF showed me that all I had was really groomed paths and I was a trail virgin in reality and I was woefully not prepped for trails, add snow to the trail and I really should have bagged it but that was not happening. This was my first ultra and the 3rd marathon or longer in the last 10 weeks. Even if I had to walk the entire thing, I will finish.

I learned a lot about running snowy trails on the course. I found myself looking towards the ground a lot to watch for my next footing. But when I hit the hills I was cussing myself for not putting screws in my shoes. Stay upright, don’t go down goes through my head.

The course was 3 loops around Roush Lake following the multipurpose path. They marked it very well. There were signs as you crossed roads or other trails and they hung marker tapes along the path to help mark it as well.

A very well organized race. There were 3 aide stations around the course as well. Water, sport drink, and Pepsi for the most part for drink choices. The middle course had hot chocolate as well. Cookies, pretzels, M&Ms and fig newtons. I did not try most of it while running before the race and just figured I would give it a try at the first stop. If it worked then great, if not I had gels and beans with me to get through. I found I could keep down the Pepsi but belch a lot for the next half mile. The fig newtons, [ ... ] they were good.

Not a whole lot to say about the course mile per mile. My plan was to keep moving and have fun as I was going for completion. I ran when I could walked when I had to and slid down hills a few times. About half way through course, my ankle started to bother me. FARK, I have 15+ miles in front of me to run on a bum ankle. I never hit the wall on the course but I did hit my pain tolerance on many occasions in the second half. Fortunately I never cramped though.

About that slipping and falling. There is a pretty steep hill in which you go down in to a ravine and then climb back up the other side. On lap 1 the snow was still unpacked which made the hill manageable. On lap 2 I got to the hill and the guy in front of me chose the left side and he was slipping a bit. I chose the right side. BAD MISTAKE. Step 1 my feet were no longer under me, they were now out from under me and point down hill and my butt was quickly falling. OW that hurt a bit. Now I am slipping a bit. Screw it, I pushed off and slid the rest of the way down on my butt. As I was climbing up the other side some runners came to the hill behind me and called it Butt Drop Hill. I chuckled. When I hit it on lap 3, I did not even try to negotiate the hill, I just sat down and slid down.

The second best sight on the course was of all things an outhouse to me. It signified that you are coming off the trail and entering the campground and the lap was about to finish. At the end of lap 3 I knew it was coming up and when I saw it I gave out a little cheer to myself and feebly kicked in what was left of my afterburners. The best sight was the finish line.

Its over, done, finished. I am an ultra-marathoner now and I qualified for Marathon Maniacs. 2 marathons and an ultra in 10 weeks.

Yesterday I felt like I was hit with a Mack truck. I feel better today. Only 1 blister to speak of actually. On my right foot at the base of my big toe on the bottom of the foot. And I will probably loose the nail for my left big toe. I had a bad slip which caused me to kick my right heal with my left big toe right on the edge of the nail. Later I stepped on a thick stick with my right foot which kicked it up just right to catch it with my left big toe. Looks like I have a nice sized blood blister under the nail now.

All in all I had a great time and I just might be back in 2010 for the HUFF.

Photo credit: Doug Lovall

"I loved the race!"

Dan Molnar of Kentucky posted these comments about The HUFF on the message board of the Walking Site:

The race director promised either mud or snow at this race. He was right. It snowed during the entire race. Although it made the trail slippery in spots, it also made the woods look all the more pretty. There is nothing comparable to the beauty and quiet of a gently snowfall in the woods.

This race is held at a state park near Fort Wayne, Indiana. It consists of a 10-mile trail that circles around a lake. Race participans have the option of either a 10-mile distance (single loop) or a 50 kilometer distance (three loops). I signed up for the 50K, but dropped down to the shorter distance due to plantar fasciitis. I don't have my official time, but it was around two hours and two minutes. I completed most of the race at a fast walk, but there were times that I had to run--to jump across a stream or as an alternative to sliding downhill on a slippery trail.

I loved the race! Most of the race is on single track trail, although there are some brief stretches on paved roads. The trail was scenic and well marked. There were three aid stations which offered a variety of beverages and race snacks. Nothing extravagant, but more than adequate food and beverages. The volunteers were very helpful. Registration was easy.

I paid $45 (US) for the 50K and received a nice short sleeve t-shirt and a coffee mug. At the finish, I received a key chain with the race logo on it. I would have received a medal if I completed 50K.

I'm normally spent at the conclusion of a race and am glad to be finished. Not so yesterday. I had plenty of energy at the finish and really (REALLY!!) wanted to keep going. I was having such a good time I did not want to finish. The pain in my heel reminded me that continuing was not a smart thing to do and I left the course after the first lap. I took some comfort in knowing that I could come back in 2010 and try it all over again. I will add this race to my "must do" list. The only question is,
will it be muddy or snowing in 2010? I hope it's snowing!

First Photos are Being Posted

The first photos are being posted of The 2009 HUFF 50K Trail Run. You can click here for the first photos of Race Director Mitch Harper. More will be posted over the next few days.

Jeff Steinberg has posted a great report with photos at The PRT Race Chronicles here.

There will be many, many more photos, race reports and comments posted here. Stay tuned.

Eric Fetcho took a great many professional photos on race day. Also, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' photographer Frank Oliver traveled to The HUFF from Indianapolis to chronicle the race for an upcoming feature on Indiana trail running for the IDNR's award-winning magazine Outdoor Indiana.

Runner Mack Neukam Suggests a HUFF Name Change

The comments are beginning to come in on the 2009 HUFF.

First up is this one from runner Mack Neukam. Young Mr. Neukam posted this on Facebook:

[S]o after running HUFF this year it should be renamed to the huntington ultimately freakin' fabulous race!!! nothing better than running a monster pr in the snow on the best trail run there can be!

Zach Gingerich the 2009 HUFF 50K Overall Winner

MORE: CBS 2 Chicago report on Zach Gingerich broadcast last August.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Calm Before the Fun

The HUFF headquarters tent at the Kil-So-Quah campround the afternoon before the race looks peaceful and calm.

That all changes at 6:30 AM race morning; packet pick-ups, registrations, timing, cannons, cowbells, coffee, soup and more.

Good luck, runners.

Webcasting of the Race Tomorrow

Want to know how your favorite runner is doing ... while The HUFF is going on?

Timer Tom Landis will be webcasting the race on RunRace. Click here for the webcast of the 50K and One Loop Divisions to see the positions of the runners while the race is occuring.

Packet Pickup at Pasta Dinner or Race Morning

$8.00 for the pre-race pasta dinner. The dinner will be held from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. the evening before the race at St. Peter Lutheran Church School at 604 Polk Street (the Church is at 648 North LaFontaine Street) in Huntington. The pasta dinner is provided by the St. Peter Youth Group and proceeds of the pasta dinner benefit the youth activities.

Packet pick-up at the St. Peter Lutheran Church School at 604 Polk Street (the Church is at 648 North LaFontaine Street) in Huntington the night before the race,or by 7:40 AM at the race site on race day.

You can view a map of the race site here on Google Maps. The entrance to the Kil-So-Quah campground is to the left of the arrow. Note: Markle Road is US 224.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bib Number

Many runners will be receiving personalized bibs like the one shown above. It makes for a keepsake of your experience at The HUFF.

Lynn Karner of Illinois is one of the "HUFF's Toughest" who have completed all 13 HUFF 50Ks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brett Hess' News-Sentinel Column Highlights 13 year HUFFer LeFever

Kim LeFever of Columbia City is featured in today's edition of the News-Sentinel for his 13 years of HUFF participation.

Running writer and multiple HUFF participant Brett Hess writes a weekly running column for the Fort Wayne newspaper.

You can view the column by clicking here.

In the first year of The HUFF, Mr. LeFever ran the One Loop Run. However, the next year, and in each subsequent HUFF, he has run the 50K.

Marc Laudeman, Lynn Karner and the father-son duo of Ed Stuart and Phil Stuart have completed all 13 HUFF 50K's. Dave Hughes is also part of the elite HUFF squad. He has run every HUFF, and but for a bad spell during the 2008 event, has finished every race. We welcome all these gentlemen back for this year's running.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The HUFF 50K Course Map

The HUFF 50K Course Map remains unchanged from that used since 2006.

The course was changed on the south side as a result of the opening of the new shooting range and the DNR's experience with two major flooding episodes. The good news was that the change eliminated the chance to get your feet wet at a small stream crossing. And the new shooting range nearly eliminates noise from the gun enthusiasts. (Newbies: ask some veterans of the early HUFF years what the old shooting range could add to the flavor of the event.)

Unfortunately, there was a road section added to the course to bypass the shooting range. So, after crossing the boat ramp road on the south side, you will keep going straight east on the old trail (do not take the new trail section to your left after crossing the boat ramp road. After a very short distance on trail after crossing the boat ramp access road, you will take a sharp turn to the right which will take you to the main road.

Due to the requirements of some of the governmental funding sources, the shooting range was required to have a larger safety zone surrounding it. This meant that the then-existing trail was encroached by the new safety zone.

Once you exit the road section, however, you will reenter wooded trail that traverses some parts of the DNR property which were not part of the original HUFF course.

A particular thanks to Jerry Diehl and Bob Berger for laying out and measuring the course. Thanks also to Roush Lake Property Director Jeff Reed and his crew for trail maintenance and clearing.

Jerry,Bob,and Mike Thurston have placed mile marker signs along with directional arrow signs, flourescent ribbons and other trail marking signs on the HUFF course for race day.

If you would like to be part of the course marking crew for future HUFF's please let me know by sending an email to

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Returning for 2009: Hank Risley - 2007 HUFF Winner and Michigan 'Runner of the Year'

Michigan Runner magazine named 2007 HUFF winner Hank Risley as the 2008 'Michigan Runner of the Year.'

Hank Risley will be returning for the 2009 HUFF 50K Trail Run. He knows how to negotiate the mud, cold and terrain.

You can read the entire Michigan Runner profile by clicking here. Mr. Risley recently posted the fastest Masters time at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

Map to Kil-So-Quah Campground

The entrance to Kil-So-Quah campground is located on US 224 southeast of Huntingon, Indiana. It is 4.5 west of the interchange of I-69 and US 224 at Markle.

You can view a map of the entrance by clicking here. (jpg of map shown at right).

The HUFF 50K Now Has More Cowbell

Deer can pose a hazard on the first loop of The HUFF 50K trail run - particularly on the north side of the reservoir. There is no hunting on the north side so there are plenty of deer. Those that did not wake up on hearing the cannon blast sometimes become startled by the sound of runners. Their instinct is to run toward the bank of the reservoir and, in so doing, cross the Kekionga Trail.

The solution was voiced by Christopher Walken in a classic Saturday Night Live skit: "I need more cowbell."

This year, there will be some young, intrepid runners taking off about a half-hour or so before race start with cowbells. They will travel the distance between the Kil-So-Quah campground and the observation mound with the purpose of rousing the deer from slumber.

We have never thought the deer were particularly vicious at The HUFF. We just think they are a little cranky on being awakened.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One Day Entrance Pass or Yearly Pass Available at Three Rivers Running

Veterans of The HUFF may recall that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has been collecting a $5 gate fee to the Kil-So-Quah Campground on the morning of The HUFF 50K Trail Run.

In order to speed up your entry, runners may either use a 2009 or 2010 DNR Annual pass or a HUFF one-day entry pass. The One Day pass and the 2010 DNR Annual pass will be available for purchase at the pasta dinner the night before the race at St. Peter Lutheran Church from 5:30 PM to 8 PM.

However, those in the Fort Wayne area, can pick up either of the passes at the Three Rivers Running Company from now until Friday noon. This is a 2010 DNR Annual Pass and will be good at all DNR properties through 2010. The cost of the 2010 Annual Pass is $36.

The cost of the One Day HUFF pass is $5.

The Three Rivers Running Company is Fort Wayne's specialty running store. It is located on N. Clinton Street just south of Coliseum Boulevard.

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