This is Emaad’s first Rosaryville race, but Gayatri and I are both distinguished veterans – of the race that is. It is her fourth Rosaryville, which includes an age group win, and my seventh, with two age group wins.
As always, bib pick-up is easy, and we get our obligatory Rosaryville runner’s premium, a hat. We fiddle about with what to put in our drop bags, which we will get to at the end of the first and second of the three loops of the course.
After a nice a capella rendition of the National Anthem we walk the few yards to the start, and at 8 a.m. we are sent off on a cool morning.
Emaad and are well toward the rear of the approximately 140 starters, and in no hurry. After about three quarters of a mile on the paved park road, we turn onto the perimeter trail to begin our first loop.
|About to start|
|The "abandoned aid station" in the first half of the loop|
|Cross the Bridge|
(photo by Jon Valentine)
|At the mid-loop aid station manned by Middie volunteers. Go Navy!|
I pass through the aid station at the end of the first loop in 1:07 from the first aid station. I’m pleased that I’m pretty much on target timewise. I refill my bottle, decide to skip a visit to my drop bag and quickly go on my way.
I catch up with experienced ultrarunner Caroline, who has nearly 200 ultras to her credit, including July’s Vermont 100 miler. She is always upbeat and seems most cheerful when on the course. We run along together chatting amicably. And surprisingly we reach the midway aid station in 1:03. I get a pierogi and a refill. That’s a pleasant surprise and we go on.
This loop I navigate the stream crossing with no problem and get to the aid station in 1:14. I get some potato chips and cookies, then decide that I need to use the portapotty. This is definitely sub-optimal sequencing, but I manage a balancing act. Then I go to my drop bag to discard my hat and gloves.
I head out to catch up with Caroline. As I do I start to get an idea. It’s more like a message in fact. My watch indicates that I got thru the first two loops in 4:29. So maybe, a voice tells me, I can finish in under seven hours. I try to do the arithmetic but I can’t get it to compute. Instead, I decide that 1:10 to the final aid station is what I need. Given that the last segment was 1:14 that may be ambitious. I kick up the pace tell Caroline as I pass that I’m on a mission from God. I repeat the line as I pass several other runners. Getting to the aid station in 1:03 affirms that I’ve got a chance.
And then, confusion brings me to a halt. There is a tree down across the trail. No tree was there in the first or second loop and I stop thinking that I’ve gone off course. I look back to see if I can spot ribbons marking the course and start to backtrack. Another runner comes along and assures me and a couple of more runners that we are going the right way, and that the winds during the day have brought the tree down.
|Rusting farm equipment in the second half of the loop|
At the end of the loop I chirp a “Go Navy” to the midshipmen directing the runners left onto the road to the finish. They respond with the appropriate “Beat Army.”
|The "Scary Baby on a Bike" shrine|
|My seventh RVD50K finish|
(photo by Jon Valentine)
|Swag: Hat, medal and bib|
I spot Gayatri in the pavilion at the finish. She dropped after two laps. I walk to the next parking lot and bring the car back while we wait for Emaad to finish. He finishes in 7:23. Caroline, who finished in 7:07, joins us and we carpool to Bojangles for the traditional post-Rosaryville meal.
I finish in 6:50:12, 2 of 3 in my age group, 63 of 77 males and 104 of 137 overall.
|Seven years worth of Rosaryville hats|