Friday, March 30, 2018

The 2018 Lake Martin 100

I just posted a new Blog on the 2018 Lake Martin 100. It's at

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Run Your First Ultra is MOVING

Yes, I am moving the "Run Your First Ultra" blog.

Starting with the blog post published 6/25/2017, Best Laid Plans..., or Maybe The Cruelty of the Jewel is more appropriate, all future posts will be on our website Southeastern Trial This post is the story of my disastrous attempt at the Crewel Jewel 50. Even with careful planning, all my supplies in place and everything I could possibly need waiting for me, if you don't do what you know you are supposed to do, you're doomed to failure. I failed!

I apologize for any inconvenience but our new website on "Weebly" is so much easier to use, they even has a Blog Page.

I have also posted the last post on BlogSpot, The 2017 Lake Martin 100 on the Southeastern Trial Runs page.

Again, Here is the link to the first post on Southeastern Trail Runs:

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The 1st Annual BLOOD ROCK 50 Mile, 50K and 25K (And in 2017 the Blood Rock 100

On November 19th, Southeastern Trail Runs held our most exciting race ever, The Blood Rock 50 Mile. Next year it will be twice as exciting with the inaugural Blood Rock 100 Mile Endurance Run. It will have almost 40,000 ft. of elevation change. And you thought Alabama was FLAT!!
It’s very rare for a first year race to sell out but that is exactly what the Blood Rock 50 did! The final race in the 2016 Southeastern Trail Series surprised us all by selling out by the end of September. In October, after talking things over with our local trail club, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society (B.U.T.S.) it was decided we could handle up to 300 runners so we opened registration again. Within a matter of days, the race was full again. The Southeastern Trial Series is a seven race series starting in April with a 3 & 6 mile race and ending in November with an ultra.

50 Mile and 50K Start

The Blood Rock 50 was actually three races, 50 miles, 50K and 25K. The runners in all three races got to enjoy the awesome backcountry section we call the “Outback.” Everyone had all the climbing a trail runner could ever want. The 50 mile had over 19,000 feet of elevation change, the 50K wasn’t far behind with over 14,000 feet of change and the 25K had 10,000 feet. We had some tired runners at the end of the day but after a beer and some of Logan Cook’s awesome food everyone was all smiles.

Just a sample of Logan's "Fare"

As with most Southeastern Trail Runs races, runners don't leave after finishing. They hang around and enjoy the food and company of fellow runners and friends.



 In the weeks leading up to Blood Rock there was more excitement about the event than any race we have ever done. Oak Mountain State Park allowed us to use old, no longer maintained trails in areas few people ever see, including an old abandoned wagon road down the back side of the mountain. Some of these amazing trails followed a ridgeline with spectacular views out across Dunnavant Valley. And then there was Barkley Hill, named after the infamous Barkley Marathons. This climb is only 1/10 of a mile from bottom to top but the climb gains 233 ft. We installed 600 feet of fixed ropes just to be sure everyone made it up the hill.

The 50K and 50 Mile started at 6:30 AM with 165 runners, the 25K began at 7:30 AM with another 130. Runners have an easy first mile along a park road to give everyone time to spread out before heading into the backcountry at Oak Mountain State Park. Five and one half miles of the first 10 miles is on unmaintained backcountry trails with over 4,000 ft. of elevation gain.


                                                           Yeah, it really is that steep!!


Barkley Hill is so steep we had to install 600' of fixed rope all runners would make it to the top.


  That's a lot of very heavy rope to haul up the mountain, then, back down.

The Blood Rock 50 mile was also the RRCA State Ultra Championship Race. Our overall winners were Brandon Sullivan of Nashville, Tennessee and our own Lisa Booher from right here in Birmingham. The 50K winners were Mark McAlister from Sewanee, TN and Sarah Grappo also from Birmingham.  Sarah is also this year’s Southeastern Trial Series Points Champion. The 25K race was won by Alec Hill also from Sewanee, Tennessee (must be something in the water in Sewanee) and the first woman was Natalia Pribytkova of Metairie, Louisiana.

RRCA State Champions, Lisa Booher (center) after finishing.

 Brandon Sullivan receiving his awards from RRCA State Representative, Alex Morrow.

Take a look at the finisher medal for the 50 Mile and 50K. I can’t wait to see what the 100 Mile buckle will look like!

The RRCA Alabama State Ultra Championship medals on a pile of “Blood Rocks.”

 And the Blood Rock awards weren’t too shabby either.

This is Natalia Pribytkova of Metairie, Louisiana Showing of her 1st Place award.

As always, Southeastern Trail Runs has some of the best aid stations and aid station food anywhere. These great aid stations are, in no small part, thanks to efforts of the Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, "B.U.T.S." Here are just a few pictures from around the course. Thank you BUTS!!

The Marina Aid Station Crew                           The North Trail Head Aid Station Crew

The High Crest Aid Station                        The Peavine Falls Aid Station



If you plan to run the 2017 Blood Rock 100 or any of the other Blood Rock races, you had better register early. The race will be December 9th & 10th. You can find more details about the Blood Rock 50 and 100 Mile Trail Race at

Pictures provided by: Charles McKenzie, Marye Jo Tosch, Suman Silwal ( Southeastern Trial Runs.