Friday, June 22, 2012

Park2Park Relay, Part IV:
Running on empty ... or fumes

It was so hot on Saturday, the National Weather Service issued a Flash Sweat Warning for runners in the second annual Hendricks Count Park2Park Relay! (bah-dum-pah).

One-liners aside, it really was hot on Saturday. So why was one of the 278 runners participating in this event wearing a cow costume (well, OK, not the head piece, but definitely the full torso)? I guess because he wanted to. I came across cow-bedecked Brett Nabb, a member of Team Six Pack, about midway through one of his legs of the race and asked how he was doing, and Nabb said, "Not too good." A real trooper.

Team Six Pack definitely was making a fashion statement. Teammate Mary Nabb (no doubt a relation to Brett, but not sure what) wore a different outfit for each of her turns on the course. And each of the outfits was distinguished by bright colors and punctuated with shades and bright red lipstick. When I first saw her at the exchange point at Hendricks Regional Hospital, she wore a hot pink headband and a pastel pink shirt emblazoned with the boast, "Princesses Don't Finish Last." For the last leg of the race, the one ending in McCloud Nature Park, she was outfitted in a bright purple and black tiger-stripe-pattern top; a fluffy and sparkly solid-purple-colored skirt and a reddish-purple headband.

Getting past the fashion wear, I found that some of my favorite pictures while going through the collection were shots on the road that zeroed in on a runner close to me when, behind them a ways, there were either other runners or a vehicle approaching to provide secondary elements to the composition. And then there was the shot leading off this post -- two runners choosing opposite sides of the road to cover their terrain (I didn't see too much of that) -- with a car in the distance, just creeping over the first of two undulations in the road. That's team Hall Render A's Mark Garsombke on the left, team 10-Mile Tape Worms' Justin Hochstetler on the right.

Stuff like this made watching and photographing the Park2Park a fun time for the second year in a row. I hope you enjoy the other pictures -- and some of the "stories" behind them -- from the course here as well.

Tomorrow, I'll present the non-race photographs I managed to get during lulls along the course. There was some nice ones, so do come back.

Above and below: At one moment (above) along a double curve portion of Vestal Road north of Plainfield, Jared Burris of the men's division-winning North Salem State Bank 2 team was alone on the course. But by the time he reached the curve you see ahead of him above, a convoy of Harley-Davidson riders (below), headed in the opposite direction, were driving past him, headed to Indy West Harley-Davidson in Plainfield for the 10 a.m. start of the Ride for the Salute to Military Families. If you click on the bottom picture, you can see Burris' red shorts just in front of one of the riders in the background.

Above: This is Burris just a little farther along in the course. 

Above and below: A member of the team P-town Warriors looked game-serious as I snapped the shot above from the side of the road, as four runners in the distance kept her within their sight. After taking this shot, I moved quickly to her left, when she broke into the expression below. 

Above: Angelia Kniesly, one of the runners behind Munger in the wider picture above, was always willing to offer a smile when I came across her on the course this year and last. She and her Team Tenacious teammates ran the ceremonial short loop off the start line in Sodalis Nature Park together, as did several full teams, and when I camped briefly at the rust-colored steel bridge in McCloud Nature Park, Angelia was running side by side with her team's last-leg runner, Michael Sapper. Clearly, she loves to run.

Above: One change in procedure that race organizers made in this year's event was to not require runners to carry and hand a baton to teammates at the exchange points. Instead, a team's runner finishing a leg merely had to hand-tag the runner beginning the next leg, as illustrated above by team Hcxc2 runners Claire Hinshaw (left) and Mackenzie Dye at the exchange station starting Leg 10 on Hendricks County Road 250 North, just east of County Road 100 East. Dye's leg of the race would end 3.67 miles later at Hendricks Regional Hospital in Danville. 

Above: A wide view of the beehive-like activity at an exchange station out in the country. This was the station at County Road 250 North, starting Leg 10.

Above and below: In yesterday's post, you met Logan Kuhne (right) of team 5 More Muffin Men and an Old Guy, who was interviewed by WCBK radio's Randall Wayne for a live remote broadcast from Sodalis Nature Park, the Park2Park's start point this year. Above, at the exchange station to start Leg 10, Kuhne had jogged out to meet his Leg 9 runner, Ichiro Mozawa (left), and accompanied Mozawa for the short jog to the switch point, where Mozawa yielded to teammate Nate Secrest (foreground, below). Kuhne yells words of encouragement to Secrest, as the latter began Leg 10 en route to Hendricks Regional Hospital.

Above: Heather Cox of ARC Design and Bob Hicks of team Hall Render B out on a rural section of the course.

Above: Allison Zimmerman (left) of team O Runner, Where Are Thou and Anna Eschbach of the Danville Dream Team strode side by side, embracing the popular notion that having a companion alongside makes the time go faster.

Above and next two below: Above is Brett Nabb, the first time I came across him, on Leg 10 heading to Hendricks Regional Hospital. Not too long afterward (first photo below), I arrived at the hospital relay station, and photographed him just about 50 meters from the end of the leg. Not long after that, he stripped off the cow veneer and understandably helped himself to a refreshing shower of cold bottled water.

Above: Mary Nabb, wearing the "Princesses Never Finish Last" T-shirt, takes over for Brett and begins Leg 11 for Team Six Pack.

Above: On the long jog to the Hendricks Regional Hospital parking lot exchange station, runners finishing Leg 10, like the runner in yellow above, and those starting Leg 11, like the shirtless runner, would cross paths.

Above: I used the Danville and hospital water tower as a backdrop for a runner using a transformer box as a place to stretch at the hospital.

Above: Team Post-Fontaine's Crystal Alley approaches the hospital relay station.

Above: These are volunteers staffing the exchange station that started Leg 15 on County Road 650 North, just west of County Road 200 West. Runners starting here would finish in North Salem, 1.86 miles later, the shortest leg on the course.

Above: Mary Nabb, at McCloud Nature Park, in her final leg fashion.

Above: Angelia Kniesly again, accompanying Team Tenacious' teammate-of-record for the final leg, Michael Sapper, as they round the corner of a gravel portion of the course right before crossing the rust-colored steel bridge.

Above: I remembered Joe Mulholland, of team Saint Susanna/Against the Wind, from last year's race because every time I came across him both last year and the only time I ran into him this year -- running this last leg at McCloud -- he would give up a warm smile. It helped make being out there on the course a little more fun for me seeing that the runners also were having fun.

Above and below: In McCloud Nature Park, Team Shut Up & Squat members (from left) Kattie Fleece, Amber Peacock and Emmy Hites could afford to be relaxed; this thing was over for them because they weren't their team's official runner of record for this leg. Not to worry, though. Passing this very point only a few moments earlier (below) were the team's runner of record, Michael Purichia (left), accompanied by another teammate, Lewis Hites.

Above: I didn't spend much time photographing runners on the bridge this year because the mid-day sunlight didn't do for those shots nearly what the dramatic, early-morning light did for them last year when McCloud was the start point for the Park2Park. Here's one I did take, of team Marathon Mamas' Brittany Meyers. The bridge comes up about a quarter of the way into the 3.1 miles of the last leg in McCloud.

Above: After crossing the bridge in McCloud, runners turn south, run to the park's southernmost border and make a hairpin turn to double back to this point, which is just east of the bridge and about three-quarters of a mile to a mile later in the route. Runners have about 2 miles to go after reaching here. This is Danville Dream Team's Kameron Baker; behind him in the distance is Mulholland, pictured above shortly before crossing the bridge.

Above: A lot of runners joke that when they enter and participate in an organized event like the Park2Park, their main objective is to not finish last. I've done it. When you run an ultramarathon course -- 52 miles all by yourself -- there is no shame in finishing last. Indeed, it is quite the accomplishment to merely finish. That was the joy expressed on the face of ultramarathoner Dick Whicker (left) at the end of his journey at McCloud Nature Park in a time of 12 hours, 39.01 minutes. Although Whicker, who was race director for the inaugural Park2Park last year, was the last runner in any of the competitions to cross the finish line, he did so only 5 minutes behind fellow ultramarathoner Jonathan Nolan (right), who finished fourth of six ultras in 12:34.13. Finishing between Nolan and Whicker was Abe Garcia, whose time was 12:35.06.

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