LOST 118 mile results
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail 118 mile race results
Feb. 23, 2008
Joe Ninke, 38M, Sebastian FL 26:01:14
Sharon Zelinski 43F, Toronto CAN 27:21:59 (female course record)
Richard Burrell, 55M Vero Beach FL 28:19:07
Bob Pope, 67M, Hobe Sound FL 32:23:36
Mike Melton, 50M, Jenson Beach FL 32:24:25
There were 15 starters. Everyone else had dropped out by mile 75 (Canal
Point) including me.
The race alternated direction this year, going counterclockwise around Lake
Okeechobee from the Kissimmee River 6 miles west of Okeechobee. In this
direction, the course is 35 miles of rocky dirt roads to Moore Haven followed
by 83 miles of mostly asphalt bike path on top of the 30 foot high levee.
Unlike last year’s freezing weather, the temperature was 71 F and near 100%
humidity at the 6:00 AM start, climbing to 88 F with a heat index of 93 under
partly cloudy skies. Winds were from the soutwest at 17 MPH giving a strong
headwind for the first 40 miles or so. The levee has no trees or shade and is
exposed to the wind. Aid is about every 5 to 10 miles.
Joe Ninke and Mike Melton were both avenging DNFs from last year. Joe’s
running has really improved. Since then he won the Wickham Park 100, was
third at the Croom 50K, beat me by 1 minute at the Space Coast marathon, and
won the Ancient Oaks 100. Today he broke from the lead pack after 2 miles and
led the whole way.
I ran much of the first 50 miles with Richard Burrell. He was third at
Ancient Oaks beating me 24:45 to 24:49. We were in third place after passing
course record holder John Turner of Toronto around mile 20 and passing Mike
Melton and Bob Pope around mile 40. John had been training in the freezing
weather in Canada. By mile 50 he was vomiting, and dropped a few miles later.
We went through mile 50 in 11:10, much slower than last year’s 8:50 when I ran
with John for 108 miles before he pulled away. Richard would alternate
running for 1.5 minutes with 3.5 minutes walking. My running was faster but I
could not hold it as long, so while he ran for 90 seconds I would alternate 15
seconds running with 15 seconds walking to stay even. It probably reflects
the difference in our training. I do a lot of 5K races and barefoot interval
running on grass, and a weekly long run of 10 miles at 7-8 minute pace. He
would run only once a week, alternating a short run of 12-16 miles with a long
run of 25-40 miles, both with walking breaks. He never ran a race shorter
than 12K. I was wearing racing flats without socks.
During the day I was staying well hydrated in spite of the heat, with no
cramping or stomach problems. But as it was getting dark around 55 miles, I
could no longer keep up with Richard. Now I was urinating every 15 minutes.
I was not nauseous, but could not drink much liquid. At the time I thought it
was the diuretic effect of caffeine. I now believe it was salt depletion,
which would have been easily corrected. In any case it made me very weak. By
mile 70 I was averaging only a 2.5 MPH walk. Mike Melton and Bob Pope passed
me around 11 PM as I sat on a rock, running strong. They didn’t see me in the
dark. I took naps lying in the trail. It was 71 F, 100% humidity, and I was
shivering in a long sleeve shirt. At the mile 75 aid station at 12:30 I took
a 1 hour nap in the front seat of a volunteer’s van. I woke up feeling worse.
She said they were driving back to the start. I did not protest.
Jim Sullivan, Richard Sitter, and Kathleen Wheeler all came in behind me and
dropped at the same point. The other runners had dropped earlier: Jill Storm,
Buck Walsh, Ryan Washington, John Turner, Pam Byrne, and Hans Bauer. Hans did
not get the word that the start time was changed from 8:00 AM to 6:00, started
late, then at mile 20 ran down an intersecting levee for several miles the
wrong way before realizing his mistake, the same mistake I would have made
last year if John wasn’t running with me.
— Matt Mahoney, email@example.com