It was Joe’s Last Year. Maximum Gluteus Maximus 50k 2017 was the the 26th and last hurrah for the race’s founder and director, Joe Clapper. And he went out with a bang!
207 runners signed up for the 2017 MGM, but by the time race day rolled around on Saturday December 9, “Winter Storm Benji” decided to come calling as well. This was enough to scare away nearly a third of the field; 138 runners ultimately toed the chilly line. Early Fearcasting promised up to 6 inches of snow, and the forecast eased to 1-3 inches as the race started. Ultimately the Bull Run trails saw a solid dusting, at best, of snow and sleet. The No Shows forfeited their $10 “entry fee” (which the Shows received during check-in on race morning). As all the pizza and beer was covered by the No Shows, the rest of us salute all the DNS’s!
The cold and wet conditions did take a toll on many of those who did run. Ultimately just over 30% of the starters completed the full course. First to the finish was Will Weidman, in just under 5 hours. Will was paced by Brian Schmidt for the first few miles, but Brian planned an abbreviated out-and-back. So Will spent much of the race on his own - including his trip through the Do Loop. He might have been happier by getting around the Do Loop without getting lost than he was by his win. Might have been, had there not been great swag at stake! Will ended up taking home a handcrafted VHTRC-themed Xmas ornament, courtesy of Master Craftsman (and 4th place finisher) Erik Price.
First woman (and 8th overall) to the finish was Sheila Vibert. Sheila capped off a spectacular debut year of ultra trail racing with yet another win. She cruised in to the finish in 5:46. Sheila brought her own swag to the post-run party: a Furbutt Shot Glass. Truly a bear with a bite. (see pics link photos of the winners and their swag, as well as starters, other finishers, and many of the volunteers)
The youngest finisher was Tristan Epler. He finished his first 50k in 7:37; Tristan is just 15 years old. The oldest finisher was the indefatigable Ed Walsh, who ran a 7:27 one week after finishing a 100k, and all this at the ripe young age of 68. Ed was among 6 finishers over the age of 60. But the oldest Ed in the starting field was Ed Demoney. Ed logged some MGM miles at age 83. It was good to see Ed back on the trails.
The rest of the results can be viewed below. Thanks to all the runners, and to a strong group of volunteers, for coming out in the middle of Winter Storm Benji. See you back at Hemlock Overlook Park next December for the 27th MGM, and the first year under new RD Katie Keier. Katie will no doubt maintain this event’s impeccable reputation. And hopefully she will be able to convince Joe to pull on his patented green tights and return in his new role as a random irresponsible participant in 2018 — well, maybe not such a new role for Joe, come to think of it…
Quatro’s photos on Flickr.