Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 Riddle Run Results

6 Riddle Run finishers. Photo: Tom Rice
"A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame and money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well." 
- G. K. Chesterton

Most of the Riddle Run starters had little hope of finishing, much less winning. And the winners would receive no monetary compensation. And no fame. That was just fine. We still had a fantastic day for the 19th annual Riddle Run event at Lake of the Woods park. This is your basic ultra fun run with no fees, no aid, no (real) awards, and no wimps. Just running with friends. The weather was perfect (42-50F) and the trail was in fairly good condition (just slightly soft and muddy). Would there be new course records (3:39 for men, 4:18 for women)?

Sarka seemed like the natural repeat champion on the women's side. And she was probably capable of a new course record. In the men's field, there was no clear favorite, but several past finishers were back. Depending on their motivations and training, at least three or four were potential champions.

I ran my first 4-mile trail loop with Pat Mills who had just completed a marathon in Thailand last weekend. He was running way too fast for a guy that should have been fatigued from that marathon plus the long international flights home! When done with that loop, I took a break at the parking lot to grab a running gel and water, then headed out for a solo loop--in reverse direction to hopefully see more runners. And at a slower pace. That second loop felt great. Stopped a couple of times to chat with runners, but still maintained a reasonable pace. Once back at the start/finish lot, I grabbed another gel and water, then kept going for my third and final loop (12 miles total). I actually picked up the pace on this lap--I knew Sarka and Pat were just ahead of me and I thought I might catch them at the 12 mile spot back at the parking lot. I was wrong. I ran well, but they ran even better. When I finished my 12 miles, they were already out on their fourth loop. I went home, showered, changed clothes, and ordered pizza and cheesy bread to bring back to the runners. I joined the other DNF folks in the parking lot. We ate, drank, chatted...and waited for the finishers.
Pat, male champion. PC: T. Rice
Sarka, female champion. PC: T. Rice

Pat finished first overall (4:15) and Sarka finished second overall and first woman (4:21). Pat's finish easily made him the oldest champion ever. And his time was good for someone half his age! Well done. Sarka just missed the female course record (4:18). If it was a little cooler, and the course was a bit firmer, she would have broken the record. She'll do it next year! In addition to the two champions, we had 4 more finishers of the full 28-mile fun run: John, Nic, Andrea, and Aron. All 2018 finish times, as well as the many DNFs, can be found here. (There will likely be a few updates as self-reported times/distances keep trickling in for me to post.) Here is a link to all champions of the Riddle Run from 2000-2018.

Tom Rice and I continued our Riddle Run streak--we've now done all nineteen. We'll both be back for #20 next year. I plan on the full 28 miles. It should be a wonderful 20th anniversary event.

As always, a huge thank you to Jeff Riddle for starting this event back in 2000. There's a reason it's called the "Riddle Run" rather than the "Mahomet 28-Mile Fun Run." Maybe Jeff can return as race director for the 20th celebration?

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