2008 Big South Fork 17.5mi Trail Run Race Report

The 2008 Big South Fork 17.5mi Trail Run Race Report [ed. note: FINALLY]

A Running Play in 3 Acts by Terry Higgins

Act 1 – Nature Attacks

[The Scene opens to a campsite. A lone camper rustles out of his tent looking at his watch, apparently really groggy and needing something. He moseys over to the camp fire to see that it needs attending, there are melted glass bottles that he pokes at and trys to take out.

He slumps into the chair near the fire. Looks through a grocery bag to pull out the utensils needed for coffee. The fire springs to live and he makes his coffee, looking at his watch frequently. He makes his coffee and pulls out packets of oatmeal

After he eats, he starts to pull out what is obvious running clothes for the race that day. He comes out of the tent and heads to Packet Pick-Up]

The Runner: Higgins… Terry

Race Volunteer: Here you go, make sure you bring extra water, there won’t be any on the back loop.

[Terry looks at the sign that says that road conditions have prohibited access to the normal 2nd water stop]

Terry: Okay, thanks, I’m bringing my own

[Terry heads back to his campsite to pin his number to his shirt and get ready for the race]

Terry: (to himself) The logo isn’t that bad this year.

[Terry drops off his new sweatshirt, pins his number to his shirts and tidies up the campsite. He is constantly looking at his watch. In the middle of cleaning up the site, he stands up straight like a gazelle hearing a lion near by and darts to the Bathroom shelter. After a few moments, he comes out with a relieved look on his face.]

Terry: (Looking at his watch) I better get going or I will be missing race start!

[He grabs his water and other items and heads out to race start. He gets to the back of the pack and gets ready to run. No sooner than 15 seconds from getting to the race start, the gun goes off and the mass of runners move forward]

Runners murmur as they start to get on the course.

[Terry runs behind two runner for the first 2 miles or so, figuring out his strategy for the race. He knows that he has constituients who are vieing on his time to be able to win great prizes crap.]

[The now go onto the single width trail which will take them to the rim of the gorge where the Big South Fork Rivers runs. The forest inhabitants come alive! The rocks and roots start to grab at the runners feet to try to pull them down to the ground for a gruesome fate. Poison Ivy stretches to touch the exposed skin of the runners to further The Cause. The Yellow Jacket squadron is alerted to intruder presences in Sector Q.]

{A lone tree stand ready to release it’s golf ball sized seed to strike a runner on the temple.]

Tree Branches: Yeah, Roger that. We have multiple runners approaching from the East. Go to Code Green, repeat, Go to Code Green.

Tree Trunk: Roger, going to Code Green, sending out the signal to start the bombing sequence.

Tree Branches: Bombing Sequences begin- Holy Pine Beetles… there’s too many off them!

Tree Trunk: Don’t sway away from the target Branches… find a mark and launch.

Tree Branches: Listen Trunk, don’t bark orders… Leave this to me.

[The branches release a number of seeds, most of which fall harmlessly to the ground. Terry approaches the tree.]

Tree Branches: Another one is approaching, Ready… wait for it, wait for it… NOW! LAUNCH SEED.

[The seed comes down and hits Terry squarely on the left shoulder blade.]

Terry: OWWW! [His stride is interupted and he rubs his shoulder, apparently irritated]

Tree Branches: DIRECT HIT!

Tree: Did you take the runner down?

Tree Branches: No. It was just a peckin’ on the surface.

[The scene shifts to another part of the race. A squadron of Yellow Jackets has just been launched to defend the nest. The nest is on HIGH alert as multiple disturbances have been felt, shaking the whole Nest.]

G-Tech Squadron Leader: ACC, ACC come in ACC do you read?

ACC Squadron Leader: (weakly): Roger G-TECH, I read you… all attackers hit their mark, wounded are laying out on the forest floor… more intrud-truders… in…………………………..bound.

G-TECH SQuadron Leader: Look Alive Boys, here we go… aim for the ankles, their defenses are on the upper torso. Targets in visual, within range… DIVE DIVE DIVE.

[The runner ahead of Terry does an unnatural jump and yells.]

The Other Runner: WHA! OW!

Terry: YellowJACKETS. OW… FUHHHHHHHHHH. CRAP!

[Terry is hit three times in the ankles. The uneven terrain makes it difficult for a sprint evacuation of the area. The Yellow Jackets disrupt the rhythm of the runners. Terry stops to inspect his wounds.]

Terry: (to another stopped runner) I got hit three times and they hurt. Part of the race ambiance though.

[Terry is back on the course and behind some runners talkng about the Yellow Jacket Suicide Squad]

Terry: I’ve been stung one of times that I ran the race before, but it wasn’t this early in the race. The cooler weather must have made them more active and onery. These hurt.

[Terry comes up to the Water stop at Mile 5 in ]

{INTERMISSION}

Act 2 The Loop that begins to come undone

[After water, half a banana and a gel, Terry gets back on the course. He is obvious pain from the yellow jackets and shortly into the run he has to stop and take his right shoe off and rub his socks. After a few moments, the shoes back on and he continues on.]

[The course comes around to the vista of the cliffs over looking the river.]

Terry: (to another runner) That is so beautiful.

[By mile 9 Terry has slowed down considerably. He also looks around as if he looking for more yello jackets to attack.]

Tree Branches: We have runners approaching!

Tree Roots: Stretch out boys!

[One of runners in front of Terry goes down hard. A rustle of leaves is heard.]

[With about 2 miles to go, Terry is forced to begin to walk. The course has worn him down. Mentally, he is still alert, but his legs are shot and knowing of the hills yet to come, he is forced to change his race strategy to a run-walk styled pattern.]

[He stays pacing behind a runner who seems to be running the same speed. He doesn’t have enough energy to pass and allows other faster runners to pass. Fatigue is setting in and his body is beginning to slouch and his form is deteriorating. Finally, relief is seen at the water stop a mile 12. ]

[Intermission]

Act 3 The Race Failure becomes a Training Success

[Terry is seated on a rock knocking back a couple of watersm lounging around. He takes a GU pack of a flavor he has never had before, looks at it, shrugs his shoulders, opens it and eats it. A few other runners rest on the rocks where Terry is sitting.]

Race Volunteer: (To the group of runners) You know, if you stop and sit, that’s immediate disqualification. I’ll need your race numbers. (then proceeds to be thouroughly pleased at entertaining himself)

[One of the runners proceeds to challenge his false accusation. Terry rolls his eyes and proceeds to look down the course, thinking about the 5.5 miles left to run.]

[Terry starts out toward the finish by himself. He’s obviously very tired and he seems content running at a slower pace.]

[After running for a short period of time and then having to stop to walk, Terry holds up his hand with his index finger extended as if to say “Eureka”]

Terry: Eureka!

[For the next 40 minutes or so, Terry is erratic in his running. Instead of running at an even pace, he’s sprinting for a short period followed by short stints of walking. He’s seen sprinting up the hills. This continues until he finally comes out of the forest and into the campground with roughly 0.3 mile to go]

[His eyes focus on part of the course that he saw when returning from picking up his race packet. This is his spot that he has designated as the “All-In” spot before the race, it’s at the beginning of the last little crest in the race course with close to 0.2 mile to go.]

Terry: (as he hits the spot) GO!

[His posture straightens and his eyes narrow down as he looks down the course. His picks up his pace and he begins to build speed, as much as he can muster. He can now see the time clock.]

Terry: SURGE!

[Terry runs the fastest that he can for the last few meters and proceeds to find a nice green patch of grass to collapse upon. He is happy to have just survived to finish.]

[Fade to Black]

3:34:32

129th out of 156 finishers

About planet3rry

I'm a husband, father and runner in the Knoxville area. I love the way that running makes me feel and how it has changed my thinking. I am always looking for the new PR whether in the 5k or the marathon