Archive for August of 2007

More PH Half Coverage

August 30, 2007
Here are a couple good links to the coverage of the Half Marathon:

http://www.runwashington.com/news/aug07phenryhmrpt.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBH8IO84O6c

Tom

PH Half Marathon

August 27, 2007
"Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it".

If you were outside this Saturday morning, I don't have to tell you how hot & humid it was for the first Patrick Henry Half Marathon. Although it was about the worst running conditions possible, it was a great event. There were 1,117 finishers. Bryan & I ran together for the first 6 miles or so, then he left me in the dust.

I saw some fellow Ashlanders running also. I saw Townhound's Alan Abott had a very respectable finishing time, great job! Dennis Hansen pasted me about mile 7.5 & finished strong. Sandy Cullen won her age group with a great time. Dave Klisz came in strong & then packed-up to head to Annapolis MD to run a 10 miler on Sunday (you da man!)

The highlight of the course was the water stop at mile 8. Runners were greeted with a sea of orange Ashland Track Club t-shirts and few of the local Indian Princesses. They kids & parents did a great job! RMC men's soccer team did a great job manning the mile 6 water stop. Many thanks to Bill Webb who got all the water stops staffed & equipped (as well as 100 other minor tasks). Others from Ashland community stepped up when it was decided to add two additional water stops at mile 9 & 11. BIG Thanks to all the volunteers!

The Ashland Police and Hanover Sheriff's Department did a great job controlling the traffic. Ashland Fire & Rescue teams were busy administering to many runners overcome by the heat. Thanks to all those in uniform on Saturday.

All of Ashland should be proud of the support they provided. Hopefully next year we'll get a crisp 60 degree morning.

See ya on the streets,
Tom

Thinking about running it next year? Stay tuned....

PH Half Marathon Course

August 13, 2007
The following route description is edited from Dave Klisz's report to the Half Marathon Training Team, which he is a member. Dave lives in Ashland and ran his first marathon last year in Richmond under brutally hot conditions.

Dave's Report:

Seven folks showed up to try out the new Patrick Henry Half Marathon route at 6:30am (Saturday 8/11/2007). Needless to say, there wasn't anyone else there so we had the course all to ourselves!

The route starts at Poor Farm Park which is near Patrick Henry High School (about 5 miles west of Ashland). The route begins in Hanover County and winds its way uphill into the Town of Ashland. It then leaves the town and returns to Poor Farm Park. The halfway mark is around the Hanover Arts and Activities Center on Center St. (railroad tracks). I would think this to be the most likely place for the "party zone" that is being talked about around town.

Once we made it out of the woods (watch out for low branches and rock gullies, the 'word' is the county will fix up the trail otherwise there will be some bottlenecking going on), we turned onto Winston Road. At the end of Winston Road is a rather large (extremely large) house/mansion. It is owned by the fella who runs Cox Transportation. You may have seen his trucks. Read on, because it will be nice to see this house again.

Crossing over West Patrick Henry Road (Route 54) onto the northern end of Blanton Road, a long straightaway awaits. The scenery is very nice and the accompanying breeze made for a good end to the first two miles of the course.

The next three miles (Independence Road, Blunts Bridge Road) gave us a nice downhill breather before we started going up into the incorporated part of Ashland. We had a SAG about midway up the hill, which was at a perfect location. None of the runners thought the hill was too bad. It's gradual and our nice reward at the top was that we knew we were entering the town of Ashland and nearing the half-way point of the race!

Taking a left onto Elm St., we made a right turn onto Park St. then a left onto Patrick.

The next mile goes down Center St. (sometimes referred to as Railroad Ave.). The road has a bad slant. Randolph-Macon College is on the left. Ashland Bob almost got hit by a train on this road one time so be careful!

The halfway point is near the Hanover Arts and Activites Center as mentioned above. Most of the homes near the center and along Center St. are neat to look it. All were built around the turn of the 19th century.

Turning right onto Race Course St. brought us into what's considered the historic part of Ashland. The reason the street is called Race Course St. is because there used to be a horse track at the end of it. This was when people used to take the train from Richmond to Ashland and Ashland was sort of a resort-type of area.

Race Course St. is around the seven-mile mark.

The course does one small loop in the historic district with an unexpected small uphill grade for one block.

We turned onto Hanover Ave. and made our way back into the county. The shoulders drop here and I think we saw some flattened snakes on the roadway. Watch out for live ones!

Mile 9 is near the intersection of Yowell and Elmont Roads. The intersection is bordered by cornfields. Back in the country we went! But not before hitting the last SAG. Ashland Bob drew some artwork on the road to give everyone encouragement.

Miles 9-11 go through open cornfields and cow pastures. There is some tree cover along the last half mile. No cows/heifers wanted any part of us today but they were in sight. Corn was being harvested on the south side of the road. It's a good thing the combine was several rows over, otherwise there would have been plenty of corn dust swirling around. I think it will all be harvested by race day. If it's a sunny day on race day, I would think the sun would be at our backs along the open part of Yowell Rd.

The rolling hills along this portion of the course are pretty cool. At the top of one hill, you can see into the dip and crest of the next rolling hill.

The remaining 2 miles after turning right onto Blanton Road should prove to be exciting on race day. No more hills are involved.

Soon, the large Cox mansion is within view and it's less than a mile to go!

Once you enter the woods, it's easy. Downhill to the finish.

Dave

P.S. Thanks to Minh, Tom, Kelly, Melissa, Dana, (Half Marathon Team Members) and Allen (townhound), for making the trial run a safe and fun run.

Also special thanks to Monica Klisz, Lucy Klisz and Bob Brown for SAG support.



Running Bug

August 13, 2007
It's funny how the running bug spreads. As previously mentioned, we started a running club for kids last year, the Ashland Track Club. As the parents watched their kids running around the track having fun at Gandy or Patrick Henry, many parents who'd previously had little to no running background began talking about taking up the sport themselves. Several of the Moms and Dads began training, and found they really enjoyed running and all the social interactions that come along with the lifestyle.

After several months of training, the group set their sites on the Shamrock Sportsfest races in Virginia Beach. For those not familiar with Shamrock, there are races anywhere from a 26.2 yard run for the really little kids, all the way up to a full marathon for adults. Between all the kids running their races, and all the relatively newbies to running participating in their first big race, it was a very exciting and enjoyable weekend.

There is a group of four Moms that have really impressed me. When our families get together, I hear them talking about their training runs, running schedules, and also their shoes, running clothes (they are still women ;>). These women are very active in their kid's schools and activities, community, and churches. Their husbands are runners too (so they have work around with their running schedules as well). With their busy lives, they've managed to continue training and have registered for the Baltimore Marathon in October as relay team. Each Mom will run a leg of the 26.2 mile course.

So if you see Monica, Tracy, Susan, or Jill out running the streets of Ashland or at the YMCA on the treadmill, congratulate them on their successes, and wish them good luck in Baltimore.

See ya on the streets,
Tom

Running in Ashland

August 06, 2007
What a great time of the year to run (indoors!), Tarzan couldn't take this heat. Bryan and I are busy coaching the Labor Day Half Marathon Team. There was much turmoil when the race was finally announced and was the weekend before Labor Day in Ashland. Of course, we were happy but others on the team ..., not so much. We've run the course a couple of times and it's challenging (course map can be found at www.rrrc.org). Those who believe Ashland is flat, need only to venture a little beyond the town limits to find some pretty good hills. There's about a 3/4 mile climb that comes about mile 4, then after a couple of miles in town, the course heads out to Yowell, which can best be described as "Rolling".

We hope the race will be a huge success. If you're not running, please try to come out cheer on the runners. I've heard rumors there will be a "Party Zone" somewhere in town. Let's show the ~1000 runners and visitors what a great place we live in.

If you are interested in running with a group, we run just about every morning from the Ashcake YMCA at 6:00 a.m. (the exception is Wednesday when we road trip to the King's Charter Food Lion - known as the Grub Kitty group). We are planning another assult of the PH Half course this Saturday, starting at 6:30. They'll be options to run the first or second half of the course also, so if you're interested, get in touch with Bryan or I.

I've also started conversations with the YMCA about starting a running program. Many of you may have seen some bright orange "Ashland Track Club" t-shirts around town. This club started as way to introduce kids to running, but many of the parents picked-up the habit also. It'll be interesting, with two new running events in Ashland this year to see how popularity grows. We also moved the Ashland Railroad Run (in it's 30th year) to two weeks before the Monument Ave 10K. We're hoping that many will use the Railroad Run as a turn-up for Monument, so we're hoping for a BIG turnout.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments about the blog. Stay hydrated!

Tom