March 17th and 18th marked the 5 running of the Lake Martin 100. More than 200 runners toed the line at 6:45 AM for the arduous task ahead. The forecast was for thunderstorms on Saturday, but true to form, (you just can't predict the weather in Alabama) it never rained a drop. It was overcast and cool in the morning but cleared in the afternoon it was extremely humid and HOT. Temperatures overnight were cool but again on Sunday it was hot. The race starts at 6:45 AM, just at sunrise, so runners don't have to deal with a headlamp or flashlight early in the race.
Below is a super video of the race start posted by UltraRuns, of MarathonRuns/MRuns.com fame, on Facebook. UltraRuns also posted over 500 photos from the race. There is a link below.
This was the first year runners have had to deal with this kind of heat. In fact, the first four years of the LM100 were cold overnight, a couple of years, very cold for March in Alabama. This year aid station volunteers needed little more than a light jacket to stay comfortable all night. We never cranked up the heater in the Cabin Aid Station tent and for the first time, we didn't even built a fire in the Cabin fireplace!
We had some amazing performances by runners in all three races. Amy Macintire of Tennessee was first overall in 23:33:10 for a new women's course record and sixth fastest time ever. Angela Hill from Florida finished second overall just over 2 hours back. Robert (Bob) Watters, a local runner, finished third overall and first male in 26:07:00. Adrienne and Matthew Fratczak (of West Virginia) finished together with Adrienne the 3rd female finisher and Matthew 2nd Male. Emre Albayrak from Louisiana was 3rd place male and 6th overall. It will likely be a while before anyone knocks Karl Meltzer out of the top spot with the fastest Lake Martin 100 time of 16:56:57.
We usually have a low finish rate partly because we have no requirements for registering for the 100 or any of the LM races. But year after year the main cause is the course is very deceptive. The first lap feels easy and runners just start out too fast. This year we had the heat which really took a tole. We had 55 starters in the 100 mile race and only 29 finishers. That's still better than 50% and better than most years.
Essentially, there is no cutoff for the 27 and 50 mile. Runners are welcome to take as long as they like to finish. Twenty-seven mile entrants are welcome to walk the entire course if they like. We frequently have 50 mile finishers that need more than 16 hours to finish. Of course, most of those drop down from the 100, which is something else that's a bit unusual about Lake Martin. If you have to drop from the 50, or 100 for that matter, but have covered 27 miles, you are a 27 Fun Run finisher. If you enter the 100 but only reach the 50 mile mark, you ran 50 miles, you are a 50 mile finisher! The 100, well, you do have to cover 100 miles but you actually have until sunset to finish. That's about 35 hours. We also allow early starts. The only downside of dropping to a shorter distance is that you are not eligible for place awards.
The Lake Martin 50 Mile:
This year we had 61 finishers in the 50 Mile. Ann Thomas, a local runner, was first female setting a new women's course record in the 50 of 8:40:17. She finished third overall. Women's results were 1st Ann Thomas, 2nd Julia Belcher of South Carolina and 3rd Terri Harris of Tennessee. First place Male was Andrew Catanese, Georgia in 8:34:03. 2nd was Witt Wisebram, Georgia and 3rd Frank Thomas, Tennessee.
The 27 Mile Fun Run:
Everyone Loves this race and we almost never have a DNF. Shane Angelovich, a local runner and recent arrival from Colorado was 1st overall at 3:58:10 with the 4th fastest time ever for the 27. Second was Jonathan Bergeron who not only ran but worked as a volunteer for the rest of the race, that is, the 100 mile race. Third was Dr. Beau Beard, half of the medical team that always keeps LM100 runners on the course and able to finish their race. (Oh, the other half of the team is Dr. Sloan Beard.) Every year they work tirelessly at the race, beginning to end. We are forever indebted to them both. First female was another local runner, Ashley Dawson with the 5th fastest LM 27 time ever, 4:52:43. Second and third went to Naomi Kirchner and Lauren Wright of Georgia who finished together.
Runner for 50+ years. Unknown number of Marathons, 10K and 5K. Trail Runner for 20 years. Ten 100s as of 2018.