The Virginia Happy Trails Running Club’s Seventh Battle of the Bull Run Run 50 Miler was held on April 17 under what most considered ideal trail and weather conditions. Forecasts early in the week did not bode well for runners or volunteers, but the forecasters were once again off target. The day held clear skies, moderate temps, and a light breeze which contributed a number of age category records being rewritten. The battle for overall bragging rights was as exciting a contest as I have ever witnessed in an ultra.
Barry Lewis, running for the South, and Scott Jurek, representing the Yankees, went after each other and the course record from the starting gun. Scott set an unbelievable pace in the first two miles down to the river and crossed Popes Head Creek a solid two minutes ahead of Barry and the other early leaders. From that point all the way to the DO LOOP (the southern terminus of the course) at mile 33, Scott opened the lead to 10 minutes. However, the DO LOOP can humble even the best of ‘em, and Barry exited the LOOP only two minutes behind the Jurek. From that point all the way to the final half-mile climb at the finish, Scott and Barry were never more than a minute apart—what a race! Both shattered Eric Clifton’s former course record by nearly 10 minutes. Scott bested his adversary by a mere 50 seconds. Both had given all they had to the very end—extremely impressive performances by two great runners.
The women’s winning performance was equally impressive as Debbie Berner (‘97 BRR winner) came back this year with a vengeance. Debbie did not have her best run in ‘98 and it was obvious she had “unfinished business.” She was never really challenged after mile 17 but that did not slow her down. Her obvious physical preparation and prior course knowledge brought her home in an unbelievable women’s course record of just under 8 hours. But these overall women’s and men’s records were not the only stories of the day……
Five-time Western States winner, Tim Twietmeyer, rewrote the masters record only a week after running AR50—his becomes the fourth fastest time in the history of the race! Rebecca Trittipoe of Lynchburg, VA also set a masters record and was the second women finisher in an outstanding time of 8:33. Marge Burley of Baltimore also came to make a mark as she lowered the women’s senior record to a sub-eleven mark. John “Ironman” DeWalt set the super senior standard at 10:06:34—not bad for a 62 year old goat.
This year we introduced team competition with the rules of engagement stating that a team could only have five members and all five had to complete the run under the official time limit to be eligible to win. The lowest cumulative time of each team would determine the victors. Team Purple Machine, Teams Marine, VHTRC Dream Team, RATS (Reading Trail Runners), Dirty RATS, She-RATS, and Lancaster Buzzards AC all struggled to garner the team title. But host club team, VHTRC Dream Team bested the field due to the leadership and strategy of team captain, Anstr Webmeister Davidson. Place and show went to RATS and VHTRC Armed Forces respectively.
This year’s roster of combatants represented 26 states and Canada, and of theb249 registered runners, 222 toed the line. Great aid station volunteers and the tenacity of all who ran this challenging TRAIL course resulted in over 201 official finishers—the highest in race history. There were many great stories throughout the day and all who participated are congratulated on winning the day.
Once again, my sincere thanks to all our volunteers who made the day. Happy trails…….
Scott Mills, RD
PS, One more record I failed to note above, we consumed a staggering 96 large pizzas at the finish area!
Vassili Triantos (North, Master) 6:55:49 (also our 1993 winner)
Overall Female Winner
Gail Ierardi (North, F-Open) 8:47:46* (new course record)
Men South Open Winner
Joe Schlereth 7:16:39 (west coast transplant)
Men North Master Winner
Andy Peterson 7:21:47
Men South Master Winner
Jeff Hinte 7:38:02 (HAT 50K Run RD)
Men North Senior Winner
Jim Barry 8:54:30 (G.A.C member)
Men South Senior Winner
Frank Probst 8:15:05 (VHTRC member)
Men North Clydesdale Winner
Richard Freeman 8:11:12
Men South Clydesdale Winner
John Demorest 8:37:00 (actually a super-heavy clyde)
Women South Open Winner
Courtney Fenstermacher 8:26:27
Women North Master Winner
Tanya Cady 9:23:48
Women South Master Winner
Rebecca Trittipoe *8:33:38
Women North Senior Winner
JoAnn Weidman 11:23:21
Women South Senior Winner
Marge Burley *10:58:30
Women North Clydesdale (over 135 pounds) Winner
Kim Fleming 10:57:01
Women South Clydesdale (over 135 pounds) Winner
Colleen Dulin 9:27:15
new age category records
Congratulations to all our participants and a special thanks to all our volunteers who put on a first-rate event. We’d also like to recognize contributions from Fleet Feet Virginia, Conquest Replenishment Drink Co, Nike, and the support from the Hemlock Overlook staff.
We hope to see many of you next year for the Seventh Battle of the BRR50, so till then, happy trails……..