I <3 Hinson Lake Ultra Classic.
I am not going to talk about my run at Hinson Lake – other than to say I had some very specific training goals and I met them.
What I am going to talk about is why Hinson Lake is not only the best value in ultrarunning, but it is the best in ultrarunning.Yep, I mean it, it is the best race out there. This is why I travelled from California back to North Carolina.
Tom Gabell started this monster 8 years ago, as he would explain it, as a gathering of his friends who want to run 24 hours. Or less. Tom always celebrated achievements, all achievements, whether it was someone’s first 5k, or Mike Morton’s 163.9 near American 24 hour record.
This year, (2013), Tom passed the torch along to his friend Jerry Lindstrand. The race didn’t skip a beat. It is still filled with awesomeness.
“….but 1.52 mile loops? For 24 hours? Are you nuts? I would get bored out of my mind”. Probably most people who enjoy small loop ultras have heard this kind of thing before. The thing I have found, is that the one thing that people who say this have in common, is that they probably haven’t participated in a small loop ultra, and certainly not Hinson Lake!
But here is what makes this kind of race special – where else can you set yourself targets – as hard or as easy as you like?
What other ultras can you get to watch the races at the front unfold?
Where else can you get to see elite runners triumph (or not triumph sometimes) time after time, loop after loop.
Where else could you get to hang out with friends both faster and slower than you – at the same time sometimes?
What about seeing 10 year old Drew running 50 miles?
And then there is this … http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/news/opinion/2567288/A-triumph-of-the-human-spirit [I truly hope that someone writes this story and sends it to Ultrarunning Magazine.]
A 24 hour all-you-can-eat-buffet, with burgers, pizza, soup, grilled cheese, cake, cupcakes,gummi bears, etc. etc.
Schwag – t-shirts, pint glasses, foot soap (Thanks Rachel – www.moondancesoaps.com), car stickers.
Volunteers that will do anything to help you reach your goal.
Tons of people smiling. Some still smiling at 2 am.
The atmosphere of a family reunion.
The joy of seeing goals being met and often surpassed.
Bellowing out “We all live in a yellow submarine” in the middle of the night while hanging out with Ray K
An opportunity to donate to the local no-kill-animal-shelter.
An on-call massage therapist for 24 hours.
A beautiful trail.
A banana lap.
A beautiful sunrise.
And all for $24.
Looking forward to the last weekend in September 2014 already