- Overall Event: 4.25
- Organization: 4.0
- Aid Stations: 4.25
- Scenic Beauty: 3.5
- Overall Difficulty: 1.0
- Steepness: 0.0
- Technicality: 0.0
The Long Haul. That’s a good name for an Ultra Marathon. This 100k and 100 mile race was run near the sunny and warm Tampa Florida on January 22, 2012.
The sun and temps were the only real degrees of difficulty on the trails in the Cypress Creek Preserve unless you count running 62 or 100 miles. Race Director, Jen Pearson, kept close tabs on race; she repeatedly popped up all over the course. It was almost comical, wonder where you’d see her next but at the same time comforting, knowing she was keeping close tabs on the runners and aid stations.
The course itself was flat and fast with a couple of small wet areas that took very little effort to navigate thanks to temporary boardwalks. Approximately 70% of the race was run on trail, or forest roads, while 30% was on an asphalt path. The ultra marathon course consisted of two longer out and back stretches and two of short loops.
The confluence of the configuration made for an interesting intersection where runners could be heading in one of 4 directions. While the volunteers may have struggled keeping tabs on who was going where, it was actually easy for the racers because the course did have a logical flow.
While most seemed to work a little harder in the heat, Mike Morgan, seemed to be oblivious. After seeing him the first two times on the course I assumed he would crash soon enough. Most assumed that Mike would do the same in the 1997 Western States, and just like Western States, he proved everyone wrong. While an injury and focus on his military career keep him out of ultra running for 15 years, he has roared back. On this day he clocked a 13:18 over the 100 mile trail course. Coming in second in the men’s 100 mile race was Gabriel Hemilinger of Cambridge MA in 17:29. Third was the South’s non stop ultra racer, SungHo Choi, with a time of 18:36. SungHo seems to run an Ultra almost every weekend. The women’s race was won by long time trail and ultra runner Liz Bauer in 24:00 with Brittany Kilmowicz and Ethel Cook finishing second and third respectively.
Julian Vicente took the top honors in 100k race. Second went to Chris Mottola and third to Will Glover. The women’s race was won by a local first time ultra marathon racer, Brittany Beede, from Land O Lakes.
In the 100 Mile 10 person relay the Max del Monte Team finished first in 12:28.
Mike’s is the time to beat for 2012. He’s working toward the US 24 hour milage record set by Scott Jurek. Mike’s 2011 try was less than 2 miles shy of the record. Liz Bauer, the female race winner, is scheduled to run her 10th Leadville 100 race this August.
Hats off to Jen Pearson who not only put on a great ultra trail race but the Long Haul 100 benefits Praxis Haiti, providing training and skills in Haiti.
The race has seen it’s size double from last year and no doubt will continue to increase given Jen’s dedication and commitment to the race and runners.