Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Slim Pickins Time

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there were not that many ultra running events.
One of the oldest running events is the JFK 50 Mile Race.
The JFK 50 Mile was first held in the spring of 1963. It was one of numerous such 50 mile events held around the country as part of President John F. Kennedy's push to bring the country back to physical fitness.
When Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, most of these events were never held again. The JFK 50 Mile in Washington County, MD is the only original JFK 50 Mile Challenge event. The race is always held the weekend before Thanksgiving.

While many, many, many runners have run the JFK for years and years, others were not that enthralled at the course/race. But, for years and years, if you didn't run the JFK, there was no other choices.

Hence, "Slim Pickings" for the weekend before Thanksgiving.

But that was before NEO TC. This weekend became Slim Pickins, where runners assembled over a loosely orgainized plan to run miles somewhere on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

The first year was 2006.
First year of SP was a target of a FA 100.

Following were present.

Bob Combs
Jim Harris
Mike Dobies (did not run as he was sick)
John Dewalt
Brad Compton from Indiana (who hit a deer on his way home and caused considerable damage to his vehicle)
We started at Seven Springs and went to mile marker 1, and then turned around to head back to Seven Springs for the first 50.

We all quit at that point except for John Dewalt, who was pissed that we all quit.
(Johnnie D quit too.)

One of the "Snow Years" on the Laurel Highlands. 2007:

This was an epic, backwards run on the Laurel Highlands Trail, starting at mile 71 and running to Ohiopyle.

Four completed the entire LHHT: Roy Heger, Tanya Cady, Jim Harris, and Brian Musick.

2008 was another snow year:

2008 was the double marathon from Ohiopyle to Seven Springs and back, which no one completed.

Global warming occurred in the late 00's, leaving us with much less epic weather for the 2009 Slim Pickings.

2009 was the 100K from Route 31 down to Ohiopyle and back. Several made the round trip: Jim Harris, Bob Combs, Cam Baker, Mike Dobies, and Brian Musick. Cam, Mike, and Brian also added some extra miles, proving you can get lost on the LHHT.

The LHHT bridge was removed in 2009, prompting a change in our Slim Pickings plan for 2010. We elected to run on the north side of the LHHT for 2010.

We had the best staging area for the 2010 Slim Pickins. This year, cabins were rented in Linn Run State Park, just a few miles from Donegal, PA. This is on the north side of the PA Turnpike.


The Pennyslvania Game Commission neglected to consult with NEO TC before they changed their hunting dates for 2010.  We found ourselves in the woods on opening day of Bear Season in Pennyslvania in 2010:

All turned out well, no casualties were noted.

This year's Slim Pickings is being staged out of Ohiopyle.  This is the epic Ohiopyle 50K.  
The double out and back. 7400 feet of elevation gain.  Sounds easy on paper, less so on those hills at mile 5 and 3.

Slim Pickings The Western Version

Our brothers out west are also running Slim Pickings.  Their version is called the Vertical Monster Fat Ass, and Shubi is calculating 10175 elevation gain.

So it appears to be an awesome weekend of running with friends!

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