Running for Wildlife is No Easy Task

Below is the story of how NWF’s VP of Membership, Dave Strauss, attempted to run 100 miles to honor Craig Tufts and wildlife protection.

Dave Oil Creek RaceHello all,

Before I get into too much detail about the race, I would like to thank YOU for your support in raising over $10,000 for the Craig Tufts Volunteer Education Fund!!!! This is an enormous success and I couldn’t have done it without you.

I would especially like to thank Debbi (my wife) for putting up with me over the past 6 months during my training and the run.  I would also like to thank Jean Tufts, Mike Schweikart, Marni deLeon, and Mike and Angela Lunter for crewing and pacing me during the race.

So…many people have been asking me questions like “Did you finish?”,“How did you do?” and “What was it like?”  Below is an account of my experience at attempting a 100 mile trail run in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

We (a team of people to crew for me during the race) arrived at Titusville Middle School in northwestern Pennsylvania at 6:00 p.m. for the pre-race dinner and announcements.  I had been fighting a cold for the past week and was still feeling a little worn out – I had a low grade fever at this point and was wondering how I was going to feel in the morning when I woke up.

We got up at 4:00 am (feeling good/not great) – got our gear packed up, prepped ourselves for the race and drove to the middle school for a 5:00 am start.  We (all 85 of us) lined up to start the race and off we went into the dark, misty morning.  The course consisted of three 31 mile loops on the Gerard Hiking Trail and an additional 7 miles at the very end.  The terrain was rocky, root covered, hilly (VERY HILLY) and muddy from a weeks worth of rain.

The first loop was somewhat uneventful.  Other than feeling a dizzy at mile marker 17, I finished it in 6 hours and 30 minutes.  I little faster than I would have liked but still felt strong.

The second loop was a different story.  At mile marker 33 I twisted my ankle – I didn’t pay much attention to it, but after the race I noticed that it was swollen and probably sprained.  At mile marker 38, I lost my balance and fell directly on my hip bone.  This one really hurt and it took me a few minutes to get myself together (I now have a very large bruise where I landed).  During the second lap, I must have fallen another half dozen times because of the rocks and roots throughout the course.  I finished this loop in 7 hours and 30 minutes. Still a little fast and was beginning to feel the wear and tear on my body.

The next 14 miles were the most grueling.  I was fortunate to have a pacer (Angela Lunter) otherwise, I don’t know if I would have made it to the aid station.  This part of the course is extremely hilly.  Because of all the pounding on my toes during the downhill runs, my toe nails were separated from the cuticles and my toes had blisters on top of blisters.  The pain became unbearable.  During the last stretch, I was only able to hobble down the hills because of the pain.  In addition, I think the cold finally zapped all of my energy and I had nothing left in my tank.  At the mile 75 aid station, it was the end of my quest to complete the 100 miler.  I had nothing left in me and kept thinking there was no way in the world I could do another 25 miles.

In the end, I finished the 75 miles in 18 hours and 30 minutes.  It was an amazing experience and just shows that one can exceed all expectations both physically and mentally if you put your mind to it.  I am not at all disappointed with the results.  I gave it everything I had and then some.

Again, I want to thank you for all of your support during the race.  Click to watch one of the videos during my run.

Happy Trails,

Dave Strauss

Feel free to leave comments for Dave–congratulating him on a race well done!

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Published: October 19, 2009