I admire Jack Andrish’s honest compendium of a valiant effort at Saturday’s Massanutten Mountain Trail 100.  We all obviously run these long, silly, impossibly hard races for very personal reasons.  Not coincidentally, among us, these “reasons” are often similar; revealing how much we human beings, men and women, young and old, actually have in common deep down.  I tend to think any reason one chooses to practice religion, be a vegetarian, abstain from alcohol, etc., etc. is generally a good one.  Same with these races.  Any reason to run is a good reason.  And be the result of one’s most recent race a victory or a defeat, the challenge is always greater the next time.  And a challenge is what we’re all after.

Running down the paved road section to the Visitors Center aid station, at mile 77.1 of MMT, on Saturday had me excited because I knew I would soon see my WUS friends.  With no real time to chit chat I was back on the trail and climbing Short Mountain.  It was hard work and slow.  The “80s” are a nice place to be in a 100 miler because the reality of actually finishing the race takes hold.  Fortunately, after a difficult grunt up Bird Knob, the 80s welcomes runners with a section of ridgeline trail that is particularly rewarding thanks to the Valley vista off to the right hand side.  These cycles of work-reward, work-reward are only one of my reasons to run these long, silly, impossibly hard races.  Jack, hope to see you next year at MMT.  Martha, same to you- running with a bib, that is.

Finding the reward. Bird Knob ridgeline.


One Response to Neal’s take

  1. martha says:

    Great race, Neal! So glad I was able to catch you at Picnic Area (you were too fast so we missed you at Visitor Center). Watching all the runners go through VC, it became eminently clear that no race but MMT can be my first 100 miler (I dropped out of CCC today). 2012??

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