Matt's Birthday Run 54K

Aug. 8, 2009 at Wickham Park, Melbourne FL

Matt Mahoney (photo by Sara Jackson).

Race Results                         3.75 7.5 11.25 15  18.75 22.5 26.2 30.0 33.75 miles (54 km)
                                     ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -------
Joe Ninke, 40M, Sebastian              35 1:09 1:41 2:14 2:50 3:25 4:04 4:44 5:25:14
Sandra Melton, 53F, Port St. Lucie     37 1:21 2:08 2:54 3:47 4:48 5:54 7:00 7:56:05 (first female)
Matt Mahoney, 54M, Melbourne           40 1:21 2:08 2:54 3:47 4:48 5:54 7:00 7:56:06
Jeff Stephens, 43M, Lake Worth         37 1:18 1:59 2:42 3:26 4:17 5:16 6:14
Mark Jackson, 32M, W. Melbourne        35 1:11 1:51 2:44 3:45
Scott Maxwell, M, Indialantic          37 1:21 2:08 2:51 3:45
Laurie Ann Wilamowski, 37F, Melbourne  46 1:40 2:44 3:48 4:53
Tim Collins, 49M, Vero Beach           52 1:50 2:55 4:06 5:25
Dave Hernandez, 45M, Palm Bay          37 1:19 2:10
Rick Wrigil, M, Port St. Lucie         44 1:37 2:28

Race director, Matt Mahoney

I put on the race to celebrate my 54'th birthday today. The race was held on the same Wickham Park 3.75 mile trail loop as the 200 mile race on Memorial Day weekend. Joe Ninke from Sebastian FL, who set the course record there, also won today in 5:25:14. Out of 10 runners, Sandra Melton and I were the only other runners to finish all 9 laps (54 km or 33.75 miles), both in 7:56. Runners could go any distance from 1 to 9 laps.

Jeff Stephens was in second place for most of the race but dropped after 8 laps (30 miles) in 6:14. He ran the first 7 laps (a marathon) barefoot. In May he had finished second place in the 100 mile race behind Joe, one of only 4 people to run that far in 15 years.

Mark Jackson and Scott Maxwell dropped back to third and fourth after the first lap and finished 5 laps (18.75 miles) in 3:45. Scott (and Joe) had finished the Vol State 314 mile race across Tennessee last week. Mark is still recovering from an unsuccessful attempts at the Keys 100 earlier this year and the Tahoe Rim 100 miles about 2 weeks ago. He ran the Baghdad edition of the Wickham Park 50 in 2007 in temperatures over 120 F.

Today's weather was 81F, dewpoint 78F (heat index 89) at the 7:30 AM start. By the time Sandra and I finished at 3:26 PM, it was 89 F, dewpoint 76 F (heat index 101). Of course this is in the shade. Sunlight adds about 15 degrees. One of the many muddy, ankle deep puddles on the course in the direct sunlight was so hot that the water nearly burned my feet. This is normal August weather in Florida.

I marked the trails during the first loop running with a 5 pound sack of flour. I did not post signs (arrows on pie plates) as I did for the 200. Within a few hours, most of the marks had faded. Joe, Scott, Jeff, and Mark were familiar with the course, but others chose to run with somebody else who knew it to avoid getting lost. Sandra (first female) ran almost all of the race with me.

In spite of the brutal heat, I think I managed it well. I drank 2.5 gallons (20 pounds) of water and Gatorade during the race, but afterward my weight was unchanged. I did not have any of the usual signs of electrolyte depletion such as cramping, swollen hands, salt cravings, or frequent clear urination. In fact I only urinated every 4 hours, probably not enough. Although I was constantly drenched in sweat, it barely tasted salty at all. I brought S-caps (electrolyte tablets) with me but did not take any. I had no runs over 7 miles since returning from my Hardrock attempt last month, so I can only credit my heat training to the 50 mile tandem bike rides that Joan and I do once a week.

Joe Ninke approaching the water fountain at 2.5 miles. (Photo by Sara Jackson. The rest of the photos I took during lap 3).

Sandra Melton, Dave Hernandez, Scott Maxwell

Rick Wrigil and Laurie Ann Wilamowski

Mark Jackson

Jeff Stephens

Jeff ran the first 7 laps (a marathon) barefoot

Mark Jackson's wife Sara and family

Tim Collins

Sandra and Scott crossing Soccerfield Ridge.

We saw a small coral snake crossing Saraha Street.

By afternoon the water was hot enough to burn my feet.

My favorite part of the course. The surface is a tangle of logs and branches under about a foot of water.

After this water crossing I felt something wiggling in my shoe. It may have been a small fish.