Monday, August 15, 2011

Buckeye Trail 50k - Event record list (1994-2011)

Link to PDF file

In 2011, Beth Woodward reset her own course record by a margin of 9+ minutes. In four attempts, Woodward owns four wins and four of the five fastest BT50k in 18-year event history. Shanna Ailes (#6 all-time) and Connie Gardner (#10) round out a trio of women to add their name to the Top 15 list. Kam Lee notched his eighth BT50k win with a performance ranked #14 all-time. Terri Lemke (5:41:37) broke the women’s 50-59 age record, topping Shannon Fisher’s 6:01 in ‘09. Carson Heiner sets 60+ age record, bettering Daniel Bellinger's 6:25 in '09.

Course record - Kam Lee, 3:55:00 (2007)
19 and under - Heath Harris, 4:57:00 (2007)
Age 20-29 - Mark Godale, 3:56:36* (1999)
Age 30-39 - Kam Lee, 3:55:00 (2007)
Age 40-49 - Kam Lee, 3:59:51 (2009)
Age 50-59 - Jeff Ubersax, 4:41:23 (2008)
60 and over - Carson Heiner, 6:11:13 (2011)

* denotes old course (pre-2004) which included the two mile segment up to Rt 21 in Brecksville

Course record - Beth Woodward, 4:22:48 (2011)
19 and under - no record
Age 20-29 - Allison Had, 4:39:00 (2005)
Age 30-39 - Beth Woodward, 4:22:48 (2011)
Age 40-49 - Connie Gardner, 4:44:00 (2007)
Age 50-59 - Terri Lemke, 5:41:37 (2011)
60 and over - Libby Wolf, 9:37:05 (2010)

Top 15 all-time BT50K (1994-2011)

1. Beth Woodward, 4:22:48 (2011)
2. Beth Woodward, 4:32:12 (2010)
3. Beth Woodward, 4:37:15 (2008)
4. Allison Had, 4:39:00 (2005)
5. Beth Woodward, 4:42:27 (2009)
6. Shanna Ailes, 4:43:06 (2011)
7. Connie Gardner, 4:44:00 (2007)
8. Shanna Ailes, 4:49:45 (2010)
9. Jenn Dick, 4:51:20 (2005)
10. Connie Gardner, 4:56:22 (2011)
11. Karen Kelly, 4:59:34 (2009)
12. Connie Gardner, 5:00:00 (2006)
13. Connie Gardner, 5:00:35 (2001)
14. Elizabeth Hansen, 5:01:37 (2008)
15. Emily Gorka, 5:04:00 (2005)

1. Kam Lee, 3:55:00 (2007)
2. Mark Godale, 3:56:36 (1999)
3. Mike Seymour, 3:56:58 (2009)
4. Mark Godale, 3:57:00 (2007)
5. Kam Lee, 3:59:51 (2009)
6. Kam Lee, 4:01:00 (2005)
7. Kam Lee, 4:03:53 (2010)
8. Shaun Pope, 4:04:30 (2010)
9. Kip Brady, 4:05:00 (2007)
10. Mark Godale, 4:05:10 (2009)
11. Mark Godale, 4:07:48 (1998)
12. Kam Lee, 4:10:16 (2008)
13. Damon Blackford, 4:10:45 (2009)
14. Kam Lee, 4:10:54 (2011)
15. Mark Godale, 4:11:59 (2010)

For complete BT50k finisher database, visit

2011 results:

Friday, April 30, 2010

Report: 2010 Glass City Marathon

(Statue of Sy Mah at the entrance of Olander Park, Sylvania, Ohio, where miles 16-17 of the Glass City Marathon passes by.)

Five years ago upon crossing the finish line of the Flying Pig Marathon, in a personal best Boston-qualifying time of 3:09, the first words uttered were, "I never have to run that fast ever again." It took numerous tries and shortfalls before I captured that elusive first BQ. Never again, heh. Fast-forward a few years - 3:09 became 3:08 and a couple years later became 3:04 in Fall 2007 before cracking sub-3 the following year.

Training cycle: My wife Andrea and I originally targeted Boston this year but plans changed as we decided to use our vacation time elsewhere. Glass City, only six days later and within a two hour drive, fit the schedule nicely as an alternative. We decided early on to build a bigger base than in previous seasons. I had not raced a marathon in nearly 18 months but a half marathon breakthrough last fall (1:21) provided the motive to take another shot at a marathon PR. For the four month period December to March I accumulated an average of 265 miles per month, a rough average of 63 miles per week for that period (an increase of about 5-6 weekly miles.) Everyday easy training paces did not change much but the speed of my quality work did. I capped off the season with a period of threshold-pace runs approaching 6:10 per mile pace. Given a decent day, I felt ready to take a shot at 2:55.

New course: We arrived early enough on Saturday to check out the new marathon course. The attraction to Glass City was for a flat, fast course and the new venue did not disappoint. The course changes scenery about every 4-5 miles to and fro from neighborhood roads to the smooth, flat surface of the University Bike Trail and back again. We recognized the toughest section might be the open road between miles 9-14 where winds would certainly come into play. The new course started and finished on the campus of the University of Toledo, ending at the 50-yard line of the Glass Bowl football field.

Weather tweaking: Andrea had to talk me off the ledge a few times last week. I wanted the result I sought after and thought poor weather would derail the season. After checking the weather 11,293 times during the week with forecasts for heavy rain and wind, we got lucky to catch decent marathon conditions with temps starting in the upper 50s and staying there throughout. A steady wind helped in the first half and hindered on the return trip. An overnight rain provided an eerie fog throughout the race. Slightly humid, but not horrible. Looking back, I wasted entirely too much energy thinking about weather.

After an early and low-key dinner, Andrea and I spent a little time reflecting on high and low points of our past marathons. We sought inspiration by reading the race report of our friend Voodoo Joe's PR in the wet and wild conditions at the Surf City Marathon. Following Joe's lead, we had no excuses to be timid no matter what the conditions were to be. After a morning meal and rituals, we arrived on site with about 75 minutes to go and plenty of time. The new venue was a little unorganized which resulted in extra walking to find the bag drop but in hindsight the extra walking helped to loosen up. With 15 minutes to go, I jogged for five minutes, allowing 10 minutes for final stretching and preparations. I had already said good luck to Andrea.

Pace plan: I scribbled the five-mile splits (5, 10, 15, 20 & 23) for a 2:55 and 2:58 on my bib.

Nutrition and hydration plan: Sip water at every chance, one S-cap (electrolytes) at 0:30, 1:30, and 2:30 into the race, and an energy gel at miles 9, 14, 19, and 23. I carried a water bottle at the start which I held for the first four miles to avoid the water stations. It felt humid from the get-go so I ended up taking the S-cap a little early, at 20 minutes in and every hour thereafter. Though I didn't plan on it, I consumed an energy gel ten minutes prior to the start because I felt hungry.

Miles 1-4: 6:44, 6:28, 6:50, 6:48

My usual marathon strategy is to run the initial mile easily before settling into race pace but having warmed-up I aimed to pace not far off my goal 6:35-6:40 per mile from the get-go. With about 1,500 half-marathoners in the race, it felt like runners were flying all-around and passing us left-and-right. Beth W. (winner of the Fools 50k) and Shanna (a local training partner) were in my vicinity at the 1.5 mile point when a cyclist (with sign) started following the lead women. Miles 1-4 were through nice neighborhoods. Mile 2 split appeared quick but I knew from the prior day's recon that the measurement was short. Wasn't worried.

Miles 5-8: 6:37, 6:34, 6:32, 6:35

We turned onto the University Bike Trail for the next stretch heading west. The women grabbed water and I moved ahead and never looked back. The path was perfect surface: Flat, smooth, and somewhat shielded from the wind. And desolate. Flounder gave me a tip to focus on "smooth and efficient" and that's the cue I focused on for much of this race. When the half-marathoners split away near the 6 mile mark, very few targets remained to chase. Smooth and efficient was feeling good though I felt I was right on the threshold of "holding back." My pace freshened and I went with it.

Miles 9-14: 6:30, 6:31 , 6:30, 6:31, 6:37, 6:32
The bike path ended and I see one runner up ahead as we move to the stretch of country roads. Gel #1 consumed at mile 9 and I reel in and pass the only runner in sight just prior to mile 10. I'm already ahead of 2:55 pace at this point but didn't think I was banking time. Fog lingered in the air to limit visibility and I wondered about the wind direction. Passing the eleventh mile at the far west end of the course, after a couple right hand turns I got my answer. Miles 12-14 were due east and facing the wind but my pace was steady. The half came (1:26:25) with one minute banked to my 2:55 goal. All the while I ran alone with no one around. Though spectators were sparse, a group of locals (members of the Akron Marathon committee who recognized me) offered their cheers. It was nice to see them every few miles as they were following a friend aiming for 3:10. I missed grabbing water at M14 to wash down the gel but did so at M16.

Miles 15-19: 6:44, 6:33, 6:48, 6:34, 6:39
I survived the first stretch of open roads and miles 15-16 turned into another nice neighborhood where we escape the wind. Still running alone. When the mile 15 timer called out I was on 2:52 pace I started to dream a little, "was this my day?" The seventeenth mile entered Olander Park, site of the old US Championships for 24-hours where Mark Godale set the still-standing U.S. road record for 24-hours. In 1999, Godale ran 162 miles, only to place second to Yiannis Kouros of Greece who ran 167 miles. I know Mark from the local running club. When I mentioned the new course passes through Olander Park he said had he been in this Glass City race he would have been temped to skip that part. Heh. Exiting the park I pass mile 17 and surprised to see a slower split of 6:48 but happy to see two runners ahead by about 60-100 seconds. Miles 18-19 were the absolute worst section of the course on Syvania Avenue - dead into the wind and under construction. Only one lane of bumpy road was open and cars whizzed by, sometimes inches away at 40+ mph. I focused on staying small into the wind and on "smooth and efficient" to catch my first runner in nearly 10 miles. While I was happy with splits 18-19 (6:34, 6:39) I was not aware at the time that might have taken some of the wind out of my sails.

Miles 20-23: 6:55, 6:58, 6:55, 6:47

Finally, we turn away from the wind and into Wildwood Park for miles 20-21. Scenic through the trees I pass twenty miles (2:12:30) with my then-slowest mile of the day. My feet started to hurt and legs suddenly heavier. I wasn't falling apart but no longer was I feeling smooth and efficient. The course curved along windy paths of Wildwood and half-marathon walkers started to appear. A spectator told me I was tenth place. Mile 21 came even slower and the course returned to the University Bike Trail for the long, straight homeward stretch. I wondered if I was falling apart but kept my head in the game one mile at a time. Half-marathon walkers were becoming more frequent now and finally a runner comes into view passing the mile 22 mark. I wanted someone to work with but guy started walking when I caught him. No help. Another runner appeared and he too started walking. As I pass into 8th place, the guy picks it back up and drafts off me for about 800m before dropping off. Though it was no help with the wind, at least he helped to push me when the race started to get tough.

Miles 24-26: 6:54, 6:46, 6:44 (Last 0.2) 1:23
I hadn't imploded yet but the pace certainly slowed. I had the mile 23 split written on my bib - I had lost the one minute of banked time and yet I was still right there. With no other runners ahead, thoughts of a 2:56-2:57 finish entered the mind but I focused only on the next mile. At this juncture what can be done except to run the straightest line possible, relax, and focus? I thought about Voodoo Joe and what he would do. Passing mile 24 my watch showed 2:40 - just under 15 minutes to get it done and I knew it would be close. I had some tough workouts recently and recalled that I could endure for next 2.2 miles in a similar fashion. Still no one to chase except walkers. And with fog still filling the air, there were no visual cues as to how close the university was. Finally, the bike path ended leaving the final 3/4 mile lap around campus. Thankfully, with 800m to go came a gradual decline that propelled my stride. Passing mile 26 in 2:53:35 energized me and entering the stadium I saw 14 ticks of the clock and 60 yards separating me from my goal.

2:54:58 (old PR 2:58:16, Marine Corps '08 )
Splits: 1:26:25/1:28:33
8th Overall, 1st 35-39 AG

Andrea set a personal best as well, crossing the line in a terrific negative-split 3:37. Beth and Shanna finished 1-2 for the women in 3:01 and 3:03.

It's a wonder how marathons unfold. Though Glass City was my 27th marathon and I had the confidence on this day, I remain amazed how the mix of strategy, conditions, patience, and execution all factor into the result. I describe the marathon as dull excitement. Compared to shorter races, the marathon race takes so long to crescendo. When it does, the runner is in one of three conditions: Too slow, too fast, or right on the edge of racing threshold. In any case, it takes a lot of invested time to get to that crescendo - for most, about 3-5 months of training and roughly two hours of the marathon race before finding out. On this day I was there on the edge of my threshold and fortunate enough to just hold on to finish. Thankfully the worst of the weather held off and I had a chance to find out for myself.

For an idea of the foggy conditions, as well as a few photos, go here. Enter bib #163

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Preview: 2010 Fools Trail Run

Article below published in the March 2010 WRTR newsletter.

With registration reaching full capacity late last week, the field is set for the 2010 Fools Trail Run. The second year race will be held on March 28 starting and finishing at Pine Hollow in the Cuyahoga Valley.

Remembering last year, clear skies and a brilliant sun produced a memorable day for NE Ohio trailrunning. The race became an instant hit with 192 Fools, including 67 in the 50k, conquering the trails of the CVNP's Virginia Kendall park. Had the event been held one day later on Monday, runners would have faced a snowy, muddy mess.

After rave reviews from last year, no course changes are expected for this year's race. The route remains a diverse 25-km (15.7 miles) loop of the Kendall Lake area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park comprised of the Cross Country, Lake, Ledges, Boston Run, Haskell Run, Pine Grove, and Salt Run Trails. The 50-km runners repeat the entire 25-km circuit.

Plan to get dirty. Seasonal average temperatures, ranging between a low of 30F and high of 55F, combined with muddy, wet conditions are expected on this course that features little to no pavement. (Estimated at 99.9% pavement-free.)

Starting and finishing from Pine Hollow, the 25-km route follows a color-coded course that offers a variety of surfaces. Runners will contend with grass meadows, pine groves, and some rocks combined with a descent into and climb out of the valley. Course highlights include the grassy terrain of the Little Meadow and Cross Country Trails, the rocks in and around the Ledges Trail, and the pines of the Boston Run and Pine Grove Trails before returning to Kendall Lake to tackle the Salt Run.

Out-of-town guests will not want to miss the Ledges Overlook vista near the 10 mile mark at the southern end of the Ledges Trail. After a view across the valley, runners experience a dramatic shift in scenery with a stair decent into the greenery of the Pine Grove.

Near the Pine Hollow finish line, the landscape provides a natural amphitheater to gather and watch the action. Spectators are treated to a special viewing area of the 20-km mark where the course passes the sledding hill within view of the finish. The last trail the Fools face is the often muddy Salt Run. This final 5-km stretch includes a descent to the valley floor followed by a two-mile climb up and out of the valley. I look forward to greeting each finisher as they cross the line.

Defending champions and course-record holders Mike Ryan of Strongsville (4:36) and Beth Woodward of Orrville (4:56) lead the 50k field. Several others are capable of pushing the pace even faster though wet weather might neutralize any assault on the course records. Sixty-percent of the field are comprised by runners registered in the 25k.

Generous sponsorship by The North Face and the Vertical Runner provided the race apparel and prizes, featuring the North Face's latest "Single-Track" shoes to each of the winners of the 50k & 25k races. Finishers will enjoy hot soup provided by Chili's.

Lyceum series: Ultrarunner Pam Reed, two-time winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon and author of The Extra Mile, is speaking at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association's Lyceum Series on Friday, March 26. Reed is signed-up to compete in the 2010 Fools 50k and is scheduled to join us for a meet-and-greet session at the Vertical Runner during the Saturday afternoon packet pick-up.

Lloyd Thomas, Race Director

Friday, March 05, 2010

Green Jewel tomorrow

Saturday marks the third running of the Green Jewel, a 50-km road run connecting the westside paths of the Cleveland Metroparks. The run starts near the mouth of the Rocky River on Lake Erie and follows the river south and west connecting the Rocky River, Mill Stream, and Brecksville Reservations.

I was there for the inaugural running in 2008, when the event was 100-km and continued east through Bedford and South Chagrin Reservations before heading along Chagrin River Road to complete the "Emerald Necklace" with a finish in North Chagrin. Sore muscles lingered from running the Boston Marathon twelve days prior, yet my search for the Green Jewel was a memorable one.

Last year in 2009 the course was shortened to 50-km with a finish in Brecksville. I ran conservatively as part of training for the MMT100.

This year the course stays the same. The mostly docile paved route shows it's teeth after about 21 miles of gentle grade. Miles 23-27 offer the steepest climbs through North Royalton and Broadview Heights before a gradual downhill finish.

The weather outlook is not bad compared to the recent weeks but will be cold at the 7:00 a.m. start with a forecast of 20F and reaching into the low-30s by noon. It might take a couple extra miles to warm-up.

With course knowledge, I've identified a few road crossings for checkpoints:

- Bagley Rd (13.5 miles)
- Pearl Rd (17.0)
- West 130th (21.0)
- Ridge Rd (24.0)
- Broadview Rd (26.9)

I have no idea what I'm capable of but after last year's run in 4:14, perhaps a sub 4-hour is possible? Just in case, I've calculated the splits at the above checkpoints for a 7.5 minute pace.

We'll see what happens.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Yearly goals

What is a personal blog without a "yearly goal" post?

Here are a few running related goals I'll shoot for this year:

- 12 months x 250 miles

- 2:55 or better marathon (April or May)

- Return to Laurel Ultra (June) and improve time from 2006

- Continue to improve at races of shorter distances 5k to 10 miles, events yet to be determined

I'm taking college courses in preparation to start a Physical Therapist Assisting program this fall. I hope I can get the marathon mark so that I don't have to chase it once school commences.

No idea what I'll strive for this fall, yet.

Heart rate zones for for runners

Here is a nifty calculator from to help determine heart rate zones, given the inputs of Maximum HR and Resting HR.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010

New Year's Day view from our Pacific Beach vacation spot

If you're still following this dormant blog, I apologize. I've been absent from telling the tales about my 2009. Finishing the MMT, getting married, and returning to school to pursue a degree in Physical Therapist Assisting headline the top stories of my year.

In the meantime and since this is a running-related blog, I've added links to my current run log in the sidebar. Check it out if you're curious about my day-to-day running.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 race links, results & reports