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H.U.R.T. Runners in MSP

Last weekend was the 19th FANS 24 Hour Run in Minneapolis.  There were a few HURT veterans there including Carl Gammon, Les Martisko and Andy Velazco.  I had the pleasure of running a bit with Carl and meeting his wife and family.  He had a large group at the end of ‘tent city’ supporting several local runners though I never saw Carl over by the tents instead of running.

The course is a 2.4 mile paved path around Lake Nokomis and features a 15 foot grassy hill that gets higher as the race wears on.  It’s called Mount Nokomis and wouldn’t be noticed on the HURT course but after several hours on the path going up and down is a perceivable change.  The last hour is a 220 yard out and back.  Timing is by chip with volunteers doing backup timing.

Carl managed to stay ahead of me with almost 92 miles.  I did just over 88 and need 90 next year for the 1000 mile jacket.  There is an archive of total mileage year to year and awards for 500, 1000 and this year 2000 miles reached by Sue Olsen in 18 years.  Though her best is over 130 miles one year Sue only managed 100k as her son was born 3 days later.  She finished second this year, one third of a mile behind the women’s winner.

For those who haven’t done a 24 hour run this event is quite different from trail runs and presents a different set of challenges.  One section of the course is lined with runner’s tents manned by crew.  There are two aid stations on the course as well as medical and massage areas.  The course is open meaning that people doing normal things like walking and going to swim or fish in the lake are on the course in the daytime.  The temptation to stop is there every 2.4 miles.  The flat course means using the same muscles again and again except for the one short hill and a slight incline on the bridge.  Trail runners may have a psychological problem with the round and round of the course.  The weather was hot and very humid then cold and rainy the last few hours.  The bugs are terrible at night but only get you if you stop moving.

Though I’ve only lived in Hawaii for 5 months I was actually cold Sunday morning when it rained and the temperature dropped to 60.  I’m also the only person to go from Hawaii to Minnesota and come back sunburned.

FANS was started by 3 local runners who didn’t want to pay the fee and play the lottery for Western States.  The date and location have since changed but the ‘Minnesota ohana’ flavor remains.  The event raises funds for scholarships and there are several corporate sponsors.  There is an excellent awards breakfast immediately after the race though I was too hammered to attend so I don’t know if Carl was called on to tell his joke.

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Frank MacMillan

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