The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Black Warrior 50k - What a run!
By Don Lastine
Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012

   On February 18, 2012 I ran my first ultra marathon.  It was the Black Warrior 50k in the Middle of Nowhere, Alabama.  If you want to get a feel for how “Middle of Nowhere” it was, click here.  See how far you have to zoom out before you recognize where you are at.



   I felt the race was a calling to me because I am black and I think, in my head, I am a warrior.  A great crew from Chattanooga came down for the 50k and 25k.  Some “rabbits” that came down included Laura Henry, Yoli Bell, and Kristine Whorton, who finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively in the female 50k group and were all from Chattanooga, TN.  Tyler Dawkins, Ryan Shrum, and Sal Coll, also from Chattanooga, were top 50k finishers.  



   I want to give major props to the always fast Jack Findley who finished 2nd in the 25k.  I saw him while I was still running and I asked him how he did. Now I am paraphrasing, but he said something along the lines of, "I did ok."  Then I asked him, "What place did he get in?" and he replied, "2nd place."  All I could do is shake my head.  Elites!!!!..........



   Here is my opinion of my first trail race and my first ultra marathon.  During the Ragnar Relay I rode in the van with Charlene Simmons, Jason Liggins, Caroline Outlaw, and Hillary Libby (congrats on finishing compadres!).  During our Chattanooga to Nashville race, we talked about running Black Warrior.  Later we finally agreed to run it.  We had to put many hours on the trails to get ready for the ultra.



   Fast forward to the day before the race, I wasn't excited about the ultra.  I more wanted to get it over with.  After we checked out of the hotel we drove 45 minutes to a more secluded area of Alabama.  The gun went off at 8:00 a.m. Central time.



   For people that don't know me. I am a muscular, 200 pound runner.  The constant pounding made me feel like I dropped the soap in the state penitentiary.  After following Ryan for about 13-14 miles, I fell off, but I kept on moving.  Later on I was getting passed by Yoli and Kris.  I stayed with them for as long as I could, then I fell off again.  My legs wanted to cramp, my muscles were exhausted, and without a crowd to cheer me on, I was miserable.  



   During the last 3 miles of the race I saw the most people I had seen since mile 5-7 of the race and I was passed by nearly all of them.  You know that feeling of wanting to run constantly, but your legs will only allow you to do Galloway's.  That is how it felt.  In the end I finished in 5 hours and 45 minutes with a group of 4 people at the finish line to cheer for me.  I was exhausted and happy to be finished.  I had no smile and I was not talking.  I was in zombie mode.  



   During an ultra you can tell who the “veteran ultras” are and who the newbies are.  The veterans talk about the next race and the newbies talk about how they would never do it again.  I was the newbie.  So right now I am happy to soon be purchasing the ultra sticker for my car.  But I don't plan on running another ultra for my own personal happiness.



   Congrats to everyone that ran the race.  We certainly are a crazy bunch of people!



(For race results or to plan your Black Warrior entry next year, click here.)


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