A Report from 
RD Jim

fter the stress of last year's bus debacle, one has to wonder why a sane person would want to be responsible for organizing an event like the Damn Wakely Dam Ultra.  But when the clock starts, and my own run begins, all that stress disappears in an instant and I'm rewarded with a full day of running through one of the most wonderful wilderness areas anywhere - and I didn't even have to pay an entry fee (don't tell anyone).

RD Jim addresses the runners.Planning for this year's run started back in September, 2003 with the approval of our Temporary Land Use Permit.  Once again, we had a large number of returning runners, many were here for their 3rd Wakely, and two, Inge and Rich, have been with us since the first Wakely when 9 runners (and some misplaced Kenyans) explored this course for the first time.

Once again the run sold out within days of posting the open registration form.  45 people made it to the starting line and 45 people successfully completed the 4th annual event.... some more successfully than others.

The Wakely Crew arrived at the dam early on Tuesday afternoon to secure a choice camping spot on the far side of the dam.  This paid off as all of the runners who wanted to camp out at the dam were able to find a spot with us when they arrived Thursday and Friday.  We had two days of sunny and hot weather and took advantage of the location with a strenuous hike up Mt. Snowy just south of Indian Lake and some fishing in the Cedar River and the flow.  Then the rain started again with some steady wetness on Thursday and Friday.  But all that ended Friday night and Saturday morning arrived with cool and dry conditions.

At 4:00AM the bus arrived (15 minutes early!).  Runners were signed in and our bus and our van were off to Piseco by 4:35AM.  When the van arrived at the intersection to Rt. 8, the bus was no where in sight.  Flashbacks of last year's bus problems crept in... turns out the bus had to make a stop in the bushes to answer the call of nature.... where's Mom to nag us to go before we leave?  After a few words at the start, the race began at 6:35AM under a rising sun.

All of the preparations were complete and the success of this year's run was in the hands (and feet) of each runner - all bringing to Wakely their own personal goals for completing this 32.6 miles of the Northville Placid Trail.  My run was unremarkable except for the fact that it was unremarkable. 

My knees felt great, my chronic Plantar Fasciitis nagged but did not shout.... and my hydration system did not fail.  I was thankful for the miles I was able to spend with some of this year's runners.  Following Wendy and Lindsey proved too distracting resulting in a face plant in the mud.  So I tried to push ahead.  Around mile 14 Mark Justh passed me full of energy.  A mile later I caught up with Mark and he advised me that he had a badly sprained ankle but would push on.  The trail was muddier than I've ever seen it, but a skilled runner could avoid a wet foot if he worked at it... and I hate wet feet so I always took the long way around standing water.

Lindsey passed me on the up hills, but I was able to catch her on the down hills until she powered her way out of sight.  I did some passing myself for the rest of the race running the grassy road with Mike Erickson and Jay Yanovich.  Jay disappeared after we reached the barrier and I just can't catch what I can't see.  So I settled for a steady push to the finish with the confidence that I would break my goal of a sub 7:30 finish.

It was no surprise that our professional crew had everything well in control.  I heard that Tim and Dan both broke the previous course record and that Inge reclaimed her Wakely crown.  I'm sorry that I couldn't finish even sooner so I could have spent some time with the runners who had to leave early, but I was glad to share stories with those still at the finish.  We waited for news on the runners still on the course.  We had Mark with his sprained ankle and heard that Magali was suffering from blisters. 

Reports were that they were both in good spirits and making progress.  Frank Dolen and Mike Cunningham were also making steady progress towards the finish.  Magali arrived under the 11 hour mark with her blisters and a sore knee.  Our crack Sweep Runner pulled in with his trusty dog Sierra and joined our cheering section.  Mark managed a skip across the dam and welcomed a cold beer.  He would later drive himself to the Glens Falls hospital to discover he had a broken tibia.  Frank and Mike pulled in last but not least. Turns out Frank broke a rib in a fall somewhere along the trail.

The crew cooked steaks on the fire and everyone who wanted to, joined us for a fine meal.  I was looking forward to more than a few beers with the guys, but alas, I ended up asleep in my chair by 10PM.  I'd like to thank everyone for helping make this year's event a great success and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again on July 23rd, 2005!