Saturday, June 24, 2017

2017 Lake Martin 100 - It Just Gets Better

By David Tosch, Southeastern Trail Runs

I never cease to be amazed and inspired by our runners, whether it’s the Lake Martin 100, The Endless Mile or our newest race, the Blood Rock 100. That’s what makes putting on these events worthwhile. Over the 5 years of Lake Martin races we have had some amazing accomplishments and almost super-human performances, including a woman that had never run further than a 10K in her life who finished the LM 50 Mile in 2013. In 2014, an 18 year old young man that had never run more than a 50K, finished the 100. This year’s Lake martin 100 was no exception.

2017 was the 4th annual Lake Martin 100 Mile Trail Race and 5th annual LM50 Mile and 27 Mile Fun Run. For the first time our finish rate in the 100 went over 50% with 42 of 75 starters completing the 100 miles. The course is beautiful, following small creeks for miles and some sections along the shores of the lake. The race is entirely on the private lands of the 20,000 + acres of the Russell Forest Trail System. The course is about 85% single track trails and 15% Carriage Paths and gravel roads that do not allow cars. The only paved section is a short paved trail leading to and from the Cabin Aid Station. There is absolutely nothing technical anywhere, at least by Alabama standards. What it does have are hills, Lots of hills! They are all small, with only a few exceeding 100 ft. in height and even fewer could be considered steep. But those hills never stop. Quoting Karl Meltzer, “the hills are RELENTLESS!” All those little hills add up to about 13,000 ft. of elevation gain.

This year we had the best weather yet with a little light rain falling at the start. The rain ended before noon and the rest of the race was dry and cool. The good weather contributed, but I think the primarily reason for our high finish rate was that so many of our runners had run one of the Lake Martin races before and knew how deceptive the course can be. We also spent a little time at the prerace meeting reminding runners to go much slower on that first lap than they feel like they need to.

This year we had 235 starters in all three races. We still had a lot of runners drop down to a shorter distance but that’s fine with us. If you enter the 100 but only make 50 miles, you did run 50 miles after all, and you are still a 50 Mile finisher. This is true in all Southeastern Trail Runs race. We reward runners for he miles covered. Due to the easy access to virtually any point on the course, we have no qualifying requirements to run any distance at Lake Martin including the 100.
Russell Crossroads and the starting area of the Lake Martin 100 

The Cabin 15 minutes before the start of the Lake Martin 100 

The South, 7 Mile Loop, of the Russell Forest Trail System extending to the lake in the distance.

A view of Heaven Hill. Everything you see is part of Russell Lands and a whole lot more.
 Let the FUN BEGIN!!

The Start
Betsy Wright going strong in the 27 
Danielle Zemola, Crissy Coutts & Adam Bickford                                   Brian Boatman headed for a 100 mile finish.
starting the 2nd lap

Elaine Stypula on her way to 1st place in the 100 and a new women’s course record, 26:30:25.

Runners heading for Heaven Hill Aid Station

The BUTS - Heaven Hill Aid Station is ready for the first runners to arrive.

Heaven Hill at Sunset

The BUTS Heaven Hill Aid Station is a great spot to watch the sunset.

50 Milers Finish   

What is Chris Hemphill Drinking? What ever it is worked. He finished the 100 in 31 hours.

It was a very long, cold night for Aid Station volunteers and runners.

Heaven Hill can be very unpleasant in the middle of the night.

BUTS (Birmingham Ultra Trail Society) has it's image to uphold!!

Just a few of our Lake Martin 100 Mile Finishers

 Congratulation Chris, Now that's a cool pose after receiving the buckle. Looks Familiar!!

Suman holding up all 4 of his LM100 Buckles.

Aerial photographs by Bradley Gann – Eagle Film

Photos by:

Bradley Gann – Eagle Film

Suman Silwal –

Worth Parker

Marye Jo Tosch

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