One Epic Run 24HR - Spartanburg, South Carolina
December 5, 2015 - My Uncle Bud from Albuquerque, New Mexico, has asked me 
for a couple years since moving to North Carolina if I had ever been to Camp Croft
in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  He had served there when it was an Army depot 
during World War II.  Learning that this event was scheduled at Croft State Park,
converted from the old military reservation, I found reason to sign up and become
physically acquainted with the area.  Now I can respond to his inquiries that I have
been there.

The park is a beautiful tract of deciduous forest with a perfectly lovely stream
that we crossed twice on an elevated bridge with each 3.1-mile loop.  The trail was
easy to follow, single-track mostly with some fire roads, rocky and rooty as one
would hope for.  The two hundred or so participants were of all levels of experience
with a lot of first timers.  The objective was to go as far as you wanted with a
24-hour time limit.  Most would run or hike through the day and then eat burgers
at the one and only aid station which served as the start and finish.  My ambition
was to test my fitness level with a solid effort and retreat before I got tired.

There is always someone you know at these events, and others you meet.  I got
to share a few exchanges with Joyce Ong from Virginia and Tin Ha from Charlotte,
and run a lap with Joe Fejes girlfriend, Kelley Wells, from Columbia.  The day
started at 30 degrees, but the sunshine made for comfortable running in shorts
and a light fleece.  The course rolled with the landscape and offered variety enough
that I didn't get tired and didn't become too bored with doing 3.1-mile loops.

I kept a comfortable 5 mph tempo through the first 5 loops and very close to the 
same through the second 5 loops, finishing 50K in just shy of 6 hours and 10 
minutes, satisfying for the effort and terrain.  I opted to stop while I was feeling
good.  It really meant nothing to me to extend the run to 50 miles or 100K or more,
going around in circles for the balance of the day and into the night.  I stopped
when I had had enough and went home pleased with the effort.  I noticed in the
results that the lap counter shorted me one lap, which has been true in every
lap event I've ever participated in.  It would be nice if they used electronic chip 
timing, but given the low-key nature of the event, it's kind of what you expect.

As I was crossing the bridge on my final go-round I was delighted to encounter a
group of little girls with their mothers, probably out on the trail together to cheer
on their husbands and fathers.  As these little 5- and 6-year-olds scurried to get out
of my way I slowed to challenge them to race with me, across the stream over the
bridge to the other side.  I was delighted when their mothers offered quick
encouragement for them to go for it.  So I finished a perfectly good day chasing
across the bridge with three energetic little girls, countering their moves to pass
me, mothers cheering, only to succumb to their charm by the other side and a high 
five from each one.  Entirely amusing.  The best part of my day... and maybe theirs 
too!  :)  A good way to end my racing season this year.