Friday, September 5, 2008

The Ring is running this weekend, hurricane rain or shine

(photo collage of the 2004 Ring by Anstr Davidson)Group photo L-R kneeling: Carolyn Gernand, Sue Johnston, Scott Brockmeier: L-R standing: Quatro Hubbard, Bill Wandel, Mike Bur,James Moore, Barb Isom, Bob Phillips, Vicki Kendall, Anita Finkle, Sophie Speidel,Graham Zollman, Dru Sexton,Margie Hughes, Scott Crabb and Sue Thompson.

In 2004 I ran The Ring, a 71-mile circuit of the Massanutten Trail. It was my first ultra longer than 50 miles, and my first night run of any great length. 2004 was the third year of the organized run ("organized" is a loose term---the Ring is a classic Fat Ass with no entry fee, no T-shirts, no wimps and no whining...well, actually there's LOTS of whining). The Ring exemplifies all that I love about the VHTRC ultras--it's a community of friends coming together to create a challenging trail experience with no other motive except to support the runners to the finish, and party like heck in the process.

Some fine folks in the VHTRC conceived the Ring, and Mike Bur and Quatro Hubbard are now responsible for keeping it healthy and prosperous. This year, the Ring closed out entry at 25, and the list of The Fellowship of the Ring is a Who's Who of the ultra world and of the VHTRC ultra community in particular.

My son has a cross-country meet this weekend, so I cannot go up to the Massanuttens to cheer on the runners, but I certainly will be thinking of them, and of the intense experience they will have. The Ring is an ultra that helped define me as an ultrarunner. My first lessons on nutrition, sleep deprivation, proper pacing, and rock running were gleaned at the Ring. I also learned a lot about friendship and commitment, and what it took to overcome my demons. A mantra I like to repeat while racing comes from my 2004 Ring experience: "It's always darkest before the dawn." Yes, indeed.

Happy trails to the members of the Fellowship and to those attempting the Ring this weekend!


Rooster said...

Hey Sophia,

Go get em at Grindstone. I can't wait to hear all about it. From what I have been told it's a very tough course. You will kill it, I know it!

Deb Pero Daily Paintings said...

Nice Ring write-up, Sophie. Deb and I were class of 2003, IIRC. Deb is already a master having run the reverse Ring back in, I think, 2005. I hope to get down for the RR this year to get my Master's before we move back to NM.
Have you done both directions? Are you a fella or a masta?

Hellgate app goes in the mail tomorrow for us, I hope we're not too late! ;-)


PS: I know this came through Deb's login, I am too lazy to sign out then back in ;-)