Cunning Defeated By Cheaters

Greetings all!  I finally got the race pictures processed and uploaded so the race post I’ve been promising time after time is finally a reality.  On May 9th my merry band of runners set out on a new adventure, this time in Springfield IL  If you read this blog regularly, you should know that one of my favorite events are prediction runs (link Screaming Pumpkin Race).  For those that are not aware of what this is, I’ll get some quick details.  Essentially you can have a team of runners (up to 4) to complete a marathon distance.  Your goal is to have the last runner on your team cross the finish line before midnight.  The catch is you are not allowed to have timing devices so you have to rely on whatever pace each member feels they can complete their leg in.  Your team starts running whenever they want …but obviously not too early because the closest team to midnight wins the race.  I like to call it the perfect race for slow runners like myself since it levels the playing field and relies on cunning to come out victorious.
Oak Ridge Cemetery Prediction Marathon Relay in Springifield IL

My wife actually found this race online somehow (never did ask where she heard about it).  The rules being eerily similar to our Screaming Pumpkin run right down to the fact they are both held in old, hilly cemeteries.  Springfield is not that far from where we live and I happen to have some roots there – I’m in! that was an easy decision.  Lucky for me, my training buddies and Pumpkin Team (Sung and Ryan) were onboard as well.  To add more excitement to the festivities, Linda also signed up for the fun run/walk 5K event giving all something to do that night.

To say this was an interesting night is an understatement.  About a week before the race I started digging into the details to become familiar with the course and get a feel for the required timings.  Unlike the first pumpkin race we would not have a practice run so we would be estimating blindly.  By now the team is pretty familiar with their paces on our hilly training courses so it was a matter of determining if Oak Ridge was flatter, as hilly as or more treacherous than our comparison base.  One statement on their website was a bit unnerving since they referred to the course as one of the toughest in the nation.  Sung, Ryan and I have been training all year on the toughest courses in the area so this brought a quick chuckle between us. The other pre-race intrigue involved some start changes for the other races being held there – they were shifted for .. wait for it .. wait for it .. PROM.  The excuse was some kind of picture event that happens near where the race started – that would be interesting.

We headed down to the race early that Saturday to drop the dogs off at my parents and then drove over to the race venue to pick up the packets.  First thing that stood out is the lack of people.  Based on the numbers we were seeing, it looked to have small participation across the board.  We picked up the packets, Linda had to deal with a shirt size issue since they didn’t have the size she ordered and eventually found a perfect place for the Wombat a short distance from the starting line.  The Ultra race (basically a fifth loop of the 6.65 mile course) started first with a whopping 8 or 9 people in it.  It is an Ultra for god’s sake so the low entry didn’t surprise me that much – those dudes and dudettes are CRAZY. After that came the competitive 5K, then the Half. the numbers picked up a bit, but still fairly low in my opinion.  Here is our traditional pre-race shot (thanks Linda).  It was a number of hours before I had to run which is why I wasn’t suited up yet.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Prediction Marathon Relay in Springifield IL

Hit the jump to see how we did

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