Ramble Half Marathon Race Report

Race Name: Ramble Half Marathon Trail Run 2008
Location: Uwharrie National Forrest, Troy, NC
Date: 17 May 2008
Time: ~0900
Total Number of Racers: 203
It was a perfect day for a race.  There were a TON more people than I think anyone expected, so the race started a bit late to allow everyone to get checked in.
Everyone started off with a countdown from race director, Tim Long.  As we piled into the gravel road, I settled into a fairly fast pace behind Stan Austin, one of my fellow SharksBite running club members.  I felt the pace was a little too quick of a start.  No sooner that I thought it, Stan slowed his pace a bit and we settled into the run.  Diving into the trail from the gravel road, we were clearly in the top 10 folks of the race.
The first half of the race was fairly uneventful, other than the fact that I left my waterbottle at the start.  It wasn’t an overly hot day, so I thought I could deal without it.  As we passed a few people, we came upon moderate down-hill sections which Stan was a speed demon at negotiating.  I tried my best to keep up with him as we ran down the technical sections in what can only be described as out of control.  There were several times I just knew I was going to eat it. 
Even though I couldn’t keep up with Evel Knievel Stan Austin on the down hills, I usually caught up with him on the climbs. We played this back and forth game for most of the race.
The race course consisted of a figure 8 style course.  At about the half-way point, the trail dumps us back out at the finish line.  After a 25 yard sprint across an open area, it dives us back into the trail.  Stan and I come out into the open area back to back.


As I came out, my wife, Alba was standing there taking a picture.  She held out the water bottle I had forgotten and I snagged it diving back into the trail.  Sometimes it is so uncanny how much she and I think alike.  The water couldn’t have come at a better time, as I really prefer my own bottle over fumbling with a paper cup.  As I ran the second half of the race, it would prove invaluable as I used it to stay hydrated throughout the race without stopping. 

In the process of grabbing my bottle, I pass Stan who had decided to grab water from the water stop.  We almost ran into each other as we reenter the trail.  I give him the motion to get back in front of me.  He politely responded for me to go ahead.  I informed him that I liked his pace and would prefer he hop up front instead of just passing me later.

Not more than 50 yards back into the trail began what would be a frequent occurence during this second half loop: a steep, steep, rocky climb.  In the very rocky trails of Uwharrie, a fall could lead to a loss of teeth, broken bones or a concussion.



As we got about half-way up the first steep hill, Stan and I passsed a couple of fellow racers.  Further along the second half, Stan began to extend the distance between the two of us.  We came across two other runners who we had been following several paces back for most of the race.  They had stopped for some reason which gave us the opportuniy to pass.  At that point, Stan really picked the pace up a bit.  He later tolds me that he did so to ensure a decent lead on the guys we had just passed.  I had the same thought as I picked my pace up as well, both to extend my lead but to also try and catch up with Stan.

We dump back out onto the gravel road we had raced up in the beginning.  Stan is nowhere in sight.  This proved to be somewhat deflating as I had hoped to have caught up by now.  Stan would later report that he attempted to keep just ahead of me to keep out of my sight.  His strategy had proven to work just as he planned.  Had I seen him around one of the turns ahead, I would have been motivated to catch up.

I wouldn’t see him again until a turn-around point on the course.  We both passed one more person in the last mile of the course which included the turn-around point. 
It was a great race and I suffered no falls, injuries or any major problems.
Finish time: 1:29:31
Age Division Finish: 1st Place
Overall Finish: 7th Place
Results: http://www.racescapes.com/results/RAMBLE.HTM