Well, Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay is now history. Whew! Good riddance! Good riddance in a good way, that is. That race was a lot of work! Between my real job as a sys admin at Scad and putting on this race I was pressed to the wall like I’ve never experienced before. The race, though, came together nicely and most everyone seemed satisfied. That it came together so nicely had everything to do with the amazing team I had helping out and making things happen.
We experienced a glitch in the race that became a thorn in our side for some time and that was in the timing. Timing is critical for timed ultras. Actually, timing is critical in any race.
In case you do not know, timing in a timed event is about keeping up with each runners’ laps and mileage covered as the race progresses. At the end of the race keeping count of the laps will determine who won and how many miles were covered by each runner during the 6hr and 12hr event. This also applies to the relays. Unfortunately, the system we employed just didn’t work to expectations. Midway through the race we abandoned the system we started with and went fully manual with check-off’s as each runner passed by. Because of this many runners were left wondering how many laps they had completed and what their mileage was while they were running. That made it frustrating for a lot of runners but they were patient with us as we worked out the kinks. I’m so thankful for their patience! After working out the kinks we tallied the results and got the following overall winners in each of the timed events that occurred during CtS Ultra & Relay.
6hr 1st place male and female:
- Joey Morcock – 41.14 miles
- Lara Zoeller – 39.27 miles
12hr 1st place male and female:
- Kyle Brandenberger – 63.58 miles
- Karen Jackson – 54.23 miles
6hr relay winning team accumulated a total of 50.49 miles. Winning team Renegades was made up of:
- Michael Butler
- Lee Ann Somers
- Dawn Hannah
- Thomas Cook
12hr relay winning team accumulated a total of 100.98 miles. Wining team R.A.T.S was made up of:
- Tony Murphy
- James Sinclair
- Allen Higginbotham
- Drew Rabun
Aside from the timing problem the rest of the race ran smoothly.
At 6:50 am, the lovely, Cecilia Tran Arango, sang the National Anthem beautifully. Four minutes before 7:00 am, Mrs. Arango joined the rest of the runners and started what would become her very first ultra along with the longest run she’s ever run, – an impressive 29.92 miles in 6 hours! Go Cecilia!
As the day unfolded we were blessed with a bright, beautiful day. The temperatures were in the 70’s until about mid-day and then it got hot. Just before it became unbearably hot, the 6hr solo and relay ended. By the time the 12hr race was over the temperatures were back down to comfortable mid-seventies with a nice evening breeze which kept mosquitoes at bay.
As the runners ran lap after lap around the 1.87 mile course of the race we had a pretty good crowd of little people enjoying the bouncy house that was graciously donated by one of our sponsors, Mr. Chris Taylor, owner of Bounce Inflatables. Young master Liam Steffen was a big fan of the bouncy house especially since it was pirate themed. His favorite things are pirates. 😉
Speaking of sponsors, I cannot fail to mention Sunrise Breakfast restaurant which provided breakfast sandwiches for 100 people Saturday morning by 8:00 am! Those sandwiches were so darn good! I ate 6 of them.
There was also Publix which donated two cases of bananas and oranges along with several hundred gallons of water! Our local sponsors totally rock!
Our national sponsor Hammer Nutrition donated several hundred gels, half a dozen bottles of Heed and, a case of Endurolytes! Where would we be without Hammer Nutrition? If you’re an endurance athlete then Hammer should be a house hold name at your place!
There was also Hoka with the six gift certificates valued at $170 each that totally rocked! Those gift certificates were highly sought!
To round out our sponsors there was the priceless services of Fleet Feet Savannah to Chase the Sun. None of the Run 4 a Reason races would be possible without Robert Espinoza and his amazing team at Fleet Feet! They are IT when it comes to running in Savannah!
Our golden sponsor, Brasseler USA‘s presence was definitely felt as this race would of had a very difficult time getting started without the amazing generosity of Brasseler!
The race bibs were donated by RoadID.
The very fancy golf cart and a tent was donated by my good friend, Jamie Royal and his company, Royal Rydes. Our runners were very appreciative of Jamie’s golf cart after the race as it was used to take runners back to their cars which were parked 1/3 of a mile from the finish line.
South Magazine provided Chase the Sun with a beautiful advertisement poster that featured three real badass ultra runners that I personally know! Lastly, the Kennickell Group provided the prints of the South Magazine poster and post cards. In short, our sponsors were amazing and, I’m so very thankful for each of them!
Now, to get to the really fun stuff, let me tell you about the race and our kickass runners!
In the 6 hour race the top male and female runners ran a combined total of 80.41 miles! In the 12 hour race our top male and female runners ran a combined total of 117.71 miles!
The combined total of our top 6 hour and 12 hour relay teams was 151.47 miles!
The 12 hour solo race for the top female came down to two amazing ultra runners, Karen Jackson and Tiana Marie. These two ladies which are good friends battled it out but at the end there could only be one top finishing female and that was Karen with one more lap than Tiana.
Mr. Kyle Brandenberger dominated the 12 hour male race from the very beginning to the very end. He proved to be one mean, lean running machine, indeed!
In the 12 hour relay we found ourselves experiencing one of the most, if not most, exciting long distance relay I’ve ever heard of! Team R.A.T.S and Team Crazy Train kept at each other from the get go! It wasn’t until the very end that we were able to determine that Team R.A.T.S had pulled out one extra lap to beat Team Crazy Train.
The amazing runners we witnessed that Saturday, 9/21/2013, was not limited to only the top finishers but to everyone out there running! I mean it!
There was Dawn Brown, who is new to ultra running. She crossed the finish line just after 7:00 pm with a new personal record of 46.75 miles but she did not stop there! She continued to run into the dark night determined to push past the 50 mile barrier knowing that the extra mileage would not be counted as the twelve hour race was over. Her drive, though, proved to everyone what it means to be a winner and an over-achiever!
There was my good friend, Bren Tompkins, that once again proved what an accomplished athlete and long distance runner he is by completing the 12 hour race with 57.97 miles, taking second place overall in the 12 hour race. This marks three races in a row that Mr. Tompkins finishes in second place overall. First place is coming to him soon. I know it!
There was also another good friend of mine, Kelly Luckett, that once again impressed everyone beyond measure by finishing the 12 hour race with 31.79 miles! Mind you, she has a prosthetic leg and running on this heavily rooty trail only made it more challenging for her…yet, she persevered.
We were not in short supply of amazing athletes for Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay on Saturday, September 21, 2013. Athletes from all walks came out and pushed beyond their comfort zone and achieved what very few will ever. And, they did this all for an organization that has the name sake of a little red-headed guy named Liam Steffen who was born with lymphatic malformations.
To meet little Liam is to love the little guy! He is an ebullient 4 year old that lets nothing stand in his way of making him happy. He thoroughly enjoyed the bouncy house, running all over the big open space where the race started and finished and, blowing bubbles in down time. His mother and father, Joe and Janet, were on hand cheering the runners and sharing their wonderful child with the rest of us. Janet even grabbed a baton and ran the 6 hour relay! It was an honor and privilege having the Steffen’s on hand for this inaugural event benefitting Liam’s Land. We hope to be a part of the cure of LM.
I am proud to say that through Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay 2013, we were able to generate $3500.00 to go to Liam’s Land! To all of you wonderful runners, volunteers, race organizers and sponsors, feel proud that you were a part of this endeavor! You all made this happen! I know that I’m very proud of you all! Thank you!
I want to mention everyone that made Chase the Sun Ultra and Relay 2013 a reality.
Janet and Joe Steffen – founders of Liam’s Land and parent’s Liam Steffen
Jason Sapp – Executive of Liam’s Land 501c3
Tony Varney – race coordinator
Victoria Ten Broeck – Volunteer coordinator
Jennifer West Duvall
Jacy Moriarty Vergara
Kara Bryant Greathouse
Mary Jo Geiger
Cecilia Tran Arango
Hillary Nichole FitzHugh
Janet Louise Autry Henderson
This race could not have happened without the time and generosity of all of the people aforementioned. These people are just as much over-achieving winners as our runners are. And, they have the world’s biggest hearts!
From all of my heart, I thank you all for bringing this race to fruition!
See you all next year, same place for another stellar race!