Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Burn!

I have written about many of my "firsts"---first ultra, first 50 miler, first 100---but never about the first trail race I ever ran, the Blue Ridge Burn 10K. This race has been around for 13 years, longer than any trail race (shorter than 50K) in the area. It was first held up at Wintergreen Resort but moved to Walnut Creek Park outside of Charlottesville in 1996. Created by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, it quickly drew a cult following of diehard trail runners, including me. In fact, I remember finishing my first Burn in 1999 and telling my husband, "THAT was soooo much fun!" Here are the results from the last 10 years, including 2008, thanks to the tireless efforts of Charlottesville Track Club volunteer, Carol Finch.

The Burn was also known for it's cool race T-shirts, each year with a different catchy phrase, such as, "We Don't Need No Stinkin' Pavement", "Burn Baby Burn" and my personal favorite, "Big Hurt in the Dirt: Did Mommy Pack Your Juice Box?" I especially love the fact that the event is totally not-for-profit. In years past, proceeds have benefited the Southern Environmental Law Center, and this year's beneficiary was The Rivanna Trails Foundation, the steward of our beloved Rivanna Trail. For 20 bucks, runners got a technical T (sans catchy phrase, unfortunately), a well-marked trail (thanks to Jeff Wilbur of the RTF), post-race drinks and bagels, and the beautiful setting of Walnut Creek Park, a favorite of runners, walkers, bikers, and frisbee golf players.

The Burn is also where I first met some good ultra friends: Anne Riddle Lundblad (who won the race in 1999, just a few weeks before she won JFK 50, her first ultra); Quatro Hubbard, one of my oldest VHTRC buddies; and Bill Potts, my longstanding (and longsuffering) training partner. Each year without fail, Potts, Q and I run the Burn, even if we are recovering from 100 milers, marathons, or training for the Richmond Marathon the next weekend...we wouldn't miss it. We suffer through the torrid pace set by the non-ultrarunners and actually run the climbs!! It's an awesome tempo run and each year we run it slower than the year before (except for Q...props to you for beating me this year!). This year Jeff Wilbur, J.R. and Peggy Ankney joined us for good times on the trail.

The Burn marks the end of the fall racing season and the beginning of Hellgate interval training for me...and is a yearly reminder of why I fell in love with trail racing in the first place. Good times with good friends for a good cause. Can't beat it.

Below are pics from the 1999 Burn: The start with Anne and Potts in the crowd, and one of me looking waaayyy younger...the good old days.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the kind words about the Burn. We love this event and hope we can continue to do for many years to come. You are right we need to bring back the catchy phrase t-shirts for 2009.

run4daysbill said...

Here's to sweet memories, buddy! Good report, as usual.

Rick Gray said...

Fun, friends and wonderful memories add something so special to our lives. Rick

Sophie Speidel said...

Thanks, guys! Sorry I was late in publishing your comments.

Rick, I meant what I said about Hellgate---I have a plan for running around 15 hours so stick withme and we'll do it. are you feeling this week?

Rick Gray said...

Yeser boss! I think I am ready for Hellgate. I had a good and steady 50k at Upchuck last weekend (no nauseousness). Will run an easy 15 to 20 this weekend, Adam Hill's Gobbler 50k fun run in Asheville the following weekend and then two weeks to taper for the big day/night of Hellgate. Thank you for your encouraging words. Rick

run4daysbill said...

Tweaked my right hammy a little at Richmond, Soph. Watching it closely. Ref season starts, so i gotta be very careful. (Will ref for race money! :)