Hellgate was and is a VERY SPECIAL race. I have never written an account of
a race before and have thought about this rune very much during the past
week. To me it was first of all a great accomplishment to put it together so
quickly and to come off so smoothly, at least from this runners perspective,
considering the logistics involved, the distance and the weather. The course
markings were right on and Bethany and some friends, I'm sure did a
fantastic job with the glow light. The course offered SO MUCH to this
runner. Every kind of surface I think you could want, especially single
track which I love.
The setting for the prerace was wonderful and it was so good to see
so many old friends, some of which I had not seen in almost a year, since
they moved away.It was a warm friendly place that I knew would be so nice to
see at the end of the run the next day. The meal was good and there was
plenty of it.
Then it was to the briefing, which was excellent, and thanks to Dr.
Whortley for the maps. After the briefing it was time to talk and get ready
for the run or nap if you could. When it was time to go the convoy formed
and down the road we went. I can't imagine what the people of Arnolds Valley
thought when all those vehicles came up in there at midnight.
We all lined up and to make it precise, David counted down the
SECONDS on his watch to make sure we started at the right time. Then it was
off. I had seen many friends at the start line but once the run began and we
entered the darkness, I lost touch with them. The moon was so bright that a
lot of time I didn't even have to use my light. We ran through the night
waiting for that big stream crossing we had been told about. It was there a
I got wet to the knees. But as cold as it was it didn't seem so bad to me.
We got to the first aid station and move through it up the mountain. The
thing I remember about this part was the brillant moon out and the mountain
ridges above us. It was a beautiful night. We got to the top of the mountain
and crossed the parkway and started down a section that I really enjoyed.
Single track a fun to run. I had a goog time, but my legs may have payed for
it later. I thinks in here was where I ran with Brian Loose for a while.
Then to the road and up again. The thing I remember about this section was
being warned by some other runners of the very slick icy area on a low water
Then to the next aid station and out and shortly thereafter a
portion of the trail that is also on promiseland . The lights of Bedford
were bright in the valley for us. Past the Overstreet Falls and up the road
to the next aid station.Seeing the fire and getting help from the aid staion
workers was a releif. Then it was down the road where Dru met me and I was
able to change shirts and hats.
I then went across the parkway and into the woods again and to the
next aid station. I took some aid saw Dru at the road and was off again. At
this point it was up the road, the sun was starting to come up and we
started seeing the bear hunters on the road up the mountain. I didn't know
how they would respond to a bunch of runners running through the hunting
grounds, but all were very friendly and didn't seem bothered by us. And
there was the treat of hearing the dogs singing from time to time. I
was really looking forward to getting to the next aid staion for that
breakfast. Roy Marshall, i think, and i got in there and I was not
disappointed. Thank you Mr. Bryant. It was great. Dru took a picture of that
wonderful aid station. I left out of the staion and realized as i was about
a half mile out that I didn't have any Gu and that I hadn't filled my
second water bottle full, as Dru had advised. Dumb me. Any way, kept running
on a section that seemed to go on FOREVER. A hunting dog ran with for about
a mile and a half and I was hopimg he wouldn't start howling as i had on
black pants and a black hat. I could see the quarry outside of Buchanan for
a LONG time before I got there. Finnally crossed Rt. 43 and into the aid
station. Kerry came in shortly after I did. I changed shirts again, had a Gu
and Gingerale as my stomach was a little queasy. We left the aid station and
headed up the mountain. David had said there were some great views of the
valley on this section and there were, but at this stage I don't think I
appreciated them as much as I could have.
This was another section that went on forever but was very runnable. Finally
got to Bobblets Gap. Dru filled my bottle with gatorade, couldn't handle
anymore Conquest at this point. Out of the aid station and what I thought
would be downhill. WRONG. It was downhill for a time on a gravel road the
Kerry absolutly burned up. I just tried to stay in sight. then we hit a
section that was up and down and again went on, it seemed forever. I was
really tired at this point and was looking forward to that last aid staion.
There were also several small creek crossings. Into the last aid staion
where i saw Bethany, and I apolgise if I seemed to be in another world, It
was good to see her but Dru was there also and she made me take a Gu and a
full drink of gingerale and then I was up a WALKING up that last climb. As
much as I like trails I was so glad that road went all the way to the top.
Two great guys, Gary and Keith Knipling caught me on the way up. We walked
for a short while together then they went on. Then Kerry caught up to me as
we were almost to the top. It was such a good sight to see that parkway. We
crossed it and started a slow run as we started downhill. My energy was
coming back some we knew we were going to make it and running together made
it alot of fun. we didn't waste any time coming off the mountain. when we
got to the hard road I knew we were close but we still had to see thie 1
mile to go sign. Fiannly there it was and I started looking fot the camp.
Then there it was as we turned into it and started up the road, I thought
about Horton Miles and told Kerry i thought that last mile was long, She
checked her watched and said she didn't think so we had done it in right at
7 minutes and we were within sight of the finish. And then there it was. As
we approached the line we didn't see anyone and then the dorr burst open,
David came running out and we posed for a picture. Then it was inside for a
congratulation and to pick up our awards. To all our friends that we didn't
see after the race, we are sorry we missed you. There was a strider
Christmas party that evening that we had to go, to. as i said this
was and is a SPECIAL RACE and I certainly look forward to doing it again
next year if I'm able. Thank You David and All that were invloved with this
effort. It was a job VERY WELL DONE. Happy Holidays to all of our friends.
As david said you are all very special to us. Graham Zollman and Dru Sexton