LSM Rails to Trails Ultra – a Recap

With our Title Sponsor, Mr. Ernest Ledesma! He rocked the 25k! From left to right: me, Mr. Ledesma, Michelle Daniels

It is hard to believe that the first month of 2014 is past us!  And with that went the 2nd LSM Rails to Trails Ultra!  This year’s race was a shorter loop at 5.2 miles, but our runners seemed to enjoy that one more than last year’s 15.5 mile loop.

We did not have the numbers this year that we had last year and we didn’t make near the amount of money this year as we did last year but this year’s race proved more successful in managing logistics well and, in the “Happy Runner” meter.  Last year we had a total of 266 runners show up to race. This year we had 187 runners show up to race.

The 2014 medals

The 2014 medals

This year we also had more than enough medals to go around.  Unfortunately, we did run out of shirts again as we had a large number of registrants the week leading to the race.  Like other race companies, I wish we had the means to buy a lot more shirts up front so that we can have shirts for everyone by race day but we are still trying to build Run 4 a Reason and, our budget is small.

The extra race shirts did come in and most are at Fleet Feet Savannah waiting for their local owners to stop by and pick them up.  I have several more shirts at my house that I will be mailing out this week to those out of town runner’s that did not get a shirt.  If you haven’t gotten a shirt yet do not hesitate to contact me at dlh14255@gmail.com!

1st place 10k female: Meg Lego

1st place 10k female: Meg Lego

I’m also wrapping up the plaques for the top finishers of each distance – 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k.  The top finisher’s of this year’s LSM RTT were:

5k:

  • 1st place male: Frank Elsworth with a finish time of :23:19
  • 1st place female Araceli De La Barcena with a finish time of :27:51

10k:

  • 1st place male: John Nguyen with a finish time of :44:41
  • 1st place female: Meg Lego with a finish time of :56:11

25k:

  • 1st place male: Andrew Snope with a finish time of 1:44:53
  • 1st place female: Sara Maltby with a finish time of 1:46:12

50k:

  • 1st place male: Andy Bruner with a finish time of 4:14:05
  • 1st place female: Emily Ernst with a finish time of 4:33:35
1st place male and female 25k runners: Sara Maltby and Andrew Snope

1st place male and female 25k runners: Sara Maltby and Andrew Snope

The top finisher’s awards are custom plaques I made that hang on a refrigerator door with magnets and you can attach the bottle opener rail road spike to it.  They also have the runner’s name and finish time.  It’s pretty nifty.

this is what the plaques look like

this is what the plaques look like

Brandy Mai and her son cranking out the 25k

Brandy Mai and her son cranking out the 25k

Last week, I finally wrapped up the financials on this race and our profit for the 2014 race are a little over $3000.00.  Not a lot but not too little!  Should I hand this money off to Chatham County?  Or, should I wait for the county to do some repairs on the trail with the $10,000 we handed them last year and with the $300,000 that they budgeted for the trail fix?

From a higher up in Chatham County I have heard that  that they are doing a temporary fix currently.  And, I have to vouch for them that the fix is being done!  I witnessed it today when I went to the RTT and ran 6 miles on it.  When you go to the mid-point parking area of the trail and head east, quickly you’ll come upon about 100 feet of trail that is being built up with sand, limestone and medium-sized granite stone.  The western section has not been touched as of yet.  I have also been told that the work on the trail will not go beyond the western-most bridge.  That means that the quarter mile or so of trail leading to the hammock and prayer flags has been written off.  Chatham County has no intention of restoring that section of the trail.

this is where the fix is so far.  If you go to the mid-point parking lot and head east you'll run into this fix very quickly.

this is where the fix is so far. If you go to the mid-point parking lot and head east you’ll run into this fix very quickly.

Here is my proposal…

Since Chatham County has $310,000 tax payer dollars to fix the trail but will not fix the last quarter mile of the western-most trail, why don’t we take that $3000.00 we collected and manually fix that section ourselves?  Is that unscrupulous of me to recommend we do with this three grand?  I truly want to know your opinion, your view, your insight! Please share!

Some may read into this wrong.  So, please allow me to clarify.  What I’m proposing is that purchase the rock, sand and limestone with these $3000 bucks and submit the proposal to Chatham County that we would like to fix the trail to the very end where it meets the hammock.  It’ll may cost a lot more than $3000.00 for materials but what I’m saying is that we buy what we can and, do the labor ourselves – the running community.  I’m not sure if the county would go along with this but dangit, we want the whole damned trail restored!

As for next year’s race, I do have a few things to bounce off of you guys…

  1. Do you want the 5.2 mile loop to return?
  2. Do you prefer that we go back to the 15.5 mile loop?
  3. Should the loop be a little bigger and/or be on the actual McQueen’s Island trail more?  This year’s race only had about a half mile of RTT on it.

The 5k and 10k lost money.  We did not have enough runners and our overhead was to high.  The 25k and the 50k pulled us into the black.

Here are my questions regarding this dilemma…

  1. Should I bring back the 5k and 10k or ditch em next year?
  2. Should I replace the 5k and 10k with a 50k relay?

So, there you have it.  This may very well be the first blog you’ve read that is expecting BIG feedback from you, the reader!  I will weigh a lot of what we do with the Rails to Trails run next year by what you all have to say!  And, I am very serious about the question regarding the rebuilding of the last quarter mile of the western section of the trail leading to the hammock and prayer flags with the $3000 you all generated for the McQueen’s Island trail. Please let me know what you think!

01152014-7

As always, I am so impressed and grateful to be among such an amazing running community here in Savannah and the Lowcountry.  You guys came and you produced!  You answered the battle cry and made things happen!  Without a vocal running community the McQueen’s Island trail would of washed away!  That’s a fact!  Chatham County was not going to do a darn thing until we all gathered together and demanded the trail be saved!  That is a FACT!

So, thank you all for responding to the call and making things happen!  This year’s race although, not as financially successful as last year’s was nevertheless successful in continuing the rally to restore and maintain the McQueen’s Island trail, our Rails to Trails!  This year’s race brought a lot of impressive runners that kicked butt and broke through with new PR’s!  This year’s race brought brand new ultra runners into our mix!  This year’s race brought our running community all the way from Charleston to Jacksonville and Atlanta closer together!  We had a runner from as far away as Washington State!

10k overall winner, John Nguyen and his lovely wife, Samantha.

10k overall winner, John Nguyen and his lovely wife, Samantha.

Let’s keep this thing going!  This is a darn good race on an spectacularly beautiful piece of real estate!

Next year, it will be even better!

Thanks so much for all of your support!

See you guys out there on the trails.

peace,

dh

02/02/2014

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2 comments for “LSM Rails to Trails Ultra – a Recap

  1. Deb
    2014/02/03 at 5:30 am

    I absolutely loved the race. I ran the 50k and enjoyed the terrain, etc immensely. You also had some amazing volunteers who hung out for hours supporting total strangers. I would personally ditch the 5k and 10k next year. Especially if they lost money. I think your proposal about the money is a great idea but doubt Chatham County would ever go for it. It would be great if they did, though!

  2. Rebecca
    2014/02/13 at 6:03 am

    I participated in the 25k & loved it! The course was fun, yet challenging. The volunteers were high spirited and motivating. The fuel/water along the course was plentiful and needed. It was a fantastic event that I am already looking forward to participating in again (maybe the 50k?) next year.

    To answer your posted questions:
    1) I liked the 5.2 mile loop. It broke the distance up for me and I knew where the tents were and just how much further I had to go before the next loop started.
    2) I wouldn’t mind the 15.5 mile loop! Either loop distance you choose, I’ll run it.
    3) The trail was great to run on! I’d like to see more of it used. It was one of the few chances you could pass and cheer on runners as they turned around. That was encouraging to me.

    I would ditch the 5k & 10k races. They lost you money and, in my very humble opinion, shouldn’t be attached to an awesome Ultra event like this one. Maybe have those races on a different day? Make it a weekend event with the 5k/10k on Friday evening prior or Sunday afternoon; or just a different weekend altogether? I love the atmosphere of Ultra runners and think it’s diminished a little when the shorter distances are attached to it. You could definitely add a 50k relay in there!

    I loved the event and can’t wait to do it again! Thanks for everything you & the volunteers did to make it happen! :)

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