A race doesn’t begin when you cross the start line.
A race begins a few years before. Where friends are running trails together, and the idea of being able to share their trails with others begins. Where new trails are found, and the comment, “well, you can forget about your PR on this one”! is uttered.
Ideas become a solid plan. Mileage is established.Permits are secured. The first race takes place. A success. Year Two follows. Another sell out.
Year 3 seemed to be a change for us. It felt like our race matured. Maybe it was the new location, having a conference center with heat, electricity, restroom facilities. It felt like we had come of age. We had a sell out race, and were excited to share a new course with old friends and initiate new friends to our beloved Mohican trails.
You may notice I keep saying “we” and “our”. The race is the baby of Rob Powell, the Race Director. When Rob mentioned he was starting this race, and said he needed my help, my answer was yes. Whatever I can do to help Rob with this race, our race, I do. There is a bunch of us that have been with the RD since the beginning. Another tradition. I know what I will be doing around the third weekend of April every year.
I think “our” race has been getting better with each year.
Tradition: the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice.
I was particularly struck by this definition of tradition. I had just remarked to Rob on Saturday that we were the next generation of Mohicans; the “first” generation of Regis, Tanya, Roy, Don, has turned over the reins of directing and volunteering to the likes of Rob, myself, Luc, Mike Patton, Jay Smithberger, and others.
Tradition: The hand over climb up Little Lyons Falls. The trail up to
Little Lyons Falls always has a certain mystique about it. First, you start up a creek bed-sure there is a trail there-in a rather primordial setting, hopping over downed trees and up muddy banks. You can almost forget about your dry feet here.
The 4 mile loop which Little Lyons Falls is on was called the Blue Loop in the Mohican 100 Trail Race. In the Mo 100, you do climb this section also.
In 2007, the Blue Loop was renamed to the Purple Loop, in honor of Colleen Theusch. Colleen is the race historian and writer of the Mohican 100 Trail Race. She always dresses in purple, so she’s also known as “The Purple Lady”. Colleen has been a stalwart supporter of the Mohican 100 since the beginning…tradition.
There are some veterans of the FTPR race, and then there are folks who ran FTPR for their very first ultra! They sure did not pick an easy one for their first!
The course was changed this year-and then changed again, a week before the race, due to some trails washing out. A new tradition for the FTPR was the water crossing-once for the 25K runners, twice for the 50K runners. Crossing the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River is a tradition of the Mohican 100 Trail Race, but it sure feels better on the body in hot humid June versus a cool day in April.
Tradition: The Fire Tower is an Aid Station Stop. Runners have climbed the Fire Tower in years past for both FTPR AND the Mohican 100 Trail Race. (For some years in the 100 mile race, that was part of the course).
This year the winds were high and cold up at the FT AS. Most runners were happy to just get aid and head back down the hill, out of the wind. Not so for Mike Keller. Mike was
“taking it easy” as he had just finished the Umstead 100 Mile less than two weeks ago. Mike honored tradition and was the only runner who climbed the Fire Tower in the 2011 race.
This picture sums up this years FTPR for me: