Ancient Oaks 100 Mile Endurance Run

by Matt Mahoney

Dec. 13, 2008
Enchanted Forest, Titusville FL

Results (unofficial)

1.  David James		20:42
2.  Steve Durbin	21:53
3.  Mike Melton		25:57
4.  Mark Jackson	25:58
5.  Joe Ninke		27:07
6.  Fred Davis		27:19
7.  Robert Pope		28:22
8.  Matt Mahoney	29:19
9.  Cas Camara		29:46
10. Rick Valentine	31:22
10. Steve Strait	31:22
24 starters, 11 finishers

Most of the DNFs came after dark. Josh Cline had a hamstring injury and dropped at mile 69. Heather Griffith led the women until mile 65 when an iliotibial band injury forced her to drop. Pam Byrne dropped after 58 with blisters. Scott Maxwell dropped after 51 with achilles problems. Jim Sullivan dropped after 51 with back problems. Frank Dudas made several errors on the course and lap sheet that could not be corrected and forced him to drop. Several runners were simply unprepared for the distance.

Split times in real time (7:00 AM start) First half Second half.

The Ancient Oaks 100 Mile Endurance Run is 29 laps of a 3.495 mile trail loop with a 32 hour cutoff. The race started 7:00 AM Saturday and finished 3:00 PM Sunday. The temperature was 46 F at the start with a high of 66 F with partly cloudy skies. Overnight it was 66 F and overcast with a full moon. Sunday's high was 75 F and a dewpoint of 61-63 F and mostly cloudy.

The race is free, but by invitation only, directed by Stu Gleman. Runners are expected to be self sufficient and run without pacers. There are no awards.

I went out in the lead with David James (race report), who was running his first 100 mile race. As an experienced ultrarunner, I offered my sage advice, to maintain our current pace (8:45/mile, but felt like 7:45) for the remaining 97 miles. Of course, I expected him to crash and burn. It turned out he had some basic speed (3:17 50K with a 2:40 marathon split) and won the race in spite of an iliotibial band problem at mile 83 that forced him to walk the rest of the distance.

I was the one that crashed and burned. I am not sure why. On Thanksgiving I ran a 10K and my calves were unusually sore afterward, right up to the Space Coast marathon 3 days later and 2 weeks before this race. I ran an OK time (3:28 including 3-4 minutes in the port-o-lets) but my calves were really stiff afterwards and never really recovered as they usually do. Instead of my planned 50 miles of running mixed with 50 miles of walking, it was more like 20-80. I had been hoping to run competitively and break 24 hours, but I ended up with a mediocre time instead.

One good piece of news is that the run seemed to cure a touch of plantar fasciitis. My right arch had been sore a few days after the marathon whenever I ran and put pressure on it. After 38 miles, when I took my first ibuprofin, the pain disappeared and so far has not come back. I heard about a runner who once cured a case of plantar fasciitis by running a 100 mile race (Massanutten), so maybe there is something to it. I ran in Adidas Adizero PR, a 3.9 ounce racing flat without socks. The shoes were comfortable up to about mile 90 when I started getting blisters.

The start.

Climbing the sand dune.

The park has lots of wildlife. On the first lap, David James and I startled a group 4 large, black wild boars.

David James passing me (something he would do many times) on a short section of paved trail. On the first night loop (for me around mile 45), I was startled by the sound of human flesh crashing into dirt. It was David. He said it was the first time he had run at night. I offered more sage advice: a handheld light casts better shadows than a headlamp. He just got up and lapped me for the 5th time.

Typical trails, lots of roots.

Ray Kroliwicz passing me. He later took a 5 hour nap and dropped out at mile 69.

An ancient oak with a 5 foot wide trunk on the Magnolia loop

Cas Camara passing me. He would have beat me if he hadn't slept from about 4AM to 6AM.

Shane Sampson passing me. He dropped out after 51 miles with an inflamed iliotibial band.

David Hughes about to pass me. Later he was not feeling very good and dropped out after 41 miles.

David Hughes after he passed me.

Mark Jackson. He held third place until mile 99 when Mike Melton passed him.

4.5 miles of smooth boardwalk, a break from the roots and sand.

Near the end of each loop, you descend steeply to a bridge across the Addison Canal and climb steeply on the other side.

Shane Sampson works on Robin Siegel's feet at the start/finish aid station after the race. Back row left to right: race director Stu Gleman, Mike Melton, Rick Valentine, Robert Pope, Lori Sampson.

Lori Sampson, David James (1st), Fred Davis (6th).

Stu Gleman congratulates winner David James.