Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Poor Man's Lunacy

Dana Stetson's Mike The Dog races aren't quite crazy, at least compared to what else is out there. After all, even running the Western States 100 Mile or the Badwater aren't regarded as crazy even if they're out of the mainstream. But if you do regard running an ultramarathon in Death Valley as insane, compared to that example of a psychosis, participating in a Mike The Dog race is at worst neurotic, and probably only qualifies as eccentric. The Mike The Dog half marathon may have seemed slightly lunatic, running back and forth over the same hill ten times, but it's a poor man's lunacy.

Running five miles in the Wakulla State Forest doesn't make it onto the scale of insanity at all. So for the third annual Mike The Dog Five Mile, Stetson upped the ante by moving the starting time to 2:00 on Sunday afternoon, 22 July 2012, to take full advantage of midsummer heat and humidity. Swarms of ravenous mosquitoes infested the forest, courtesy of tropical storm Debbie. The air along the course was scented with roadkill and anxious skunk. But Stetson wouldn't change the fact that even under the worst conditions the forest is a scenic place to run. The footing was good, the course was well marked, and there were a couple of self-service water tables to lower the chance of heat exhaustion.

Stetson wasn't around for the start of the race, which wasn't a problem because he didn't plan on either running or timing it. Nevertheless, the run began approximately on time. Mariah Tinger got out in front by a respectable margin, but then she paused to drink at the 2500-meter water table. While she was taking on fluid, Juan Ordoñez caught up. The two left the water table together, and once again Tinger built up a lead. At the turnaround and 4,000-meter water table Tinger stopped again, and Ordoñez overtook her again. The runners headed back along the course toward the finish, Ordoñez and Tinger trading the lead. Around five kilometers a deer bounded across the path in front of the leaders. The race continued. Coming up on the finish, Tinger led by half a step, but Ordoñez pulled ahead during the final kick, winning by less than a second. A couple of minutes later, Jeff Nielsen crossed the finish line in third place, the fastest master runner in the race.

The below results are incomplete and unofficial.

Top Ten Finishers, 2012 Mike the Dog Five Mile
  1. 34:38 ~ Juan Ordoñez (M, 38) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 34:39 ~ Mariah Tinger (F, 35) Somerville, MA
  3. 37:11 ~ Jeff Nielsen (M, 54) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 41:53 ~ (F, )
  5. 42:14 ~ Michael Burns (M, 47) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 42:40 ~ Gary Griffin (M, 62) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 42:58 ~ Mike Baker (M, 43) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 43:04 ~ (F, )
  9. 43:24 ~ David Yon (M, 56) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 43:27 ~ (F, )


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