2013 Race Updates

Race Update Number 3 is now available – just click on the name below to open a PDF file of the Update, or scroll down to read the text below.  This was posted Thursday, December 19, 2013.  Update number 1 is shown below Update 2, and was posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013.

Race Update Number 3

This is the final Race
Update – no, the next one will be – no, the one after that ;-) .


New information keeps coming
in – some of you may have seen the Facebook post I put up on the FUR site
regarding volunteers.  I’ve had several
people step up and offer to help out, but there’s always room for a few more
;-) .


In particular, I’ll need
help cleaning up on Sunday, because I can’t read a calendar properly ;-) .  I thought my 6-day race at Across The Years
started on December 29, but I noticed last weekend while perusing the race
website that it actually starts December 28.
Since I’m driving out, and it’s a 3-day drive (especially since I’m
delivering my Mom to her sister’s house in New Mexico along the way), I’ll need
to be leaving next Tuesday morning.


So I won’t be able to take
my sweet time on Sunday cleaning up, and then finish up on Monday morning in
leisurely manner – I’m going to need to get home with the vanload of Ancient
Oaks crap on Monday, unload it, reload the van with ATY crap, and hit the road
12 hours later.


If you end up in contention
for the DFL (Dead F-ing Last) award ;-) , then you may experience the course
disappearing around you as markings, orange cones, directional arrows, and eventually
timing mats get swept off the course.  The
aid station will get increasingly clean and somewhat bare, but we’ll still have
aid as long as someone is on the course.
There just might not be as much of it, or as wide a selection, as was
the case earlier.


The other change is that the
Indian River State College research team is not going to be coming to the race
after all.  Much of the team has been
taken ill with a virus, and they figured (correctly, I might add) that you all
would not appreciate them bringing it with them ;-) .  So no research – just running this weekend!


See you at the starting line
– at 7:00 AM Eastern Standard Time ;-) Saturday morning!



Race Update Number 2

Race Update Number 2


This is likely the final Update I’ll send you, since I’m
leaving for Titusville tomorrow morning.
Between now and Saturday morning, I’ll be spending most of my time prepping
for the race, so I’m not going to be spending much time checking e-mail.  If you have some last-minute question burning
up your brain cells, it’s best to either call my cell phone at 772-349-1704 or
text me at that number.  If you text me,
don’t be surprised if I just call you back instead of replying to your
text.  I’ll have my Bluetooth with me and
I can talk and work at the same time – texting means I have to stop what I’m
doing and fiddle with my phone.  I’m
getting to be SUCH a cranky old man ;-) !




Dr. Steve Hammer, a professor at Indian River State
College in Fort Pierce, Florida (about 90 minutes south of Titusville) is an
ultrarunner and also a scientist who studies endurance performance.  He’ll be doing some research at the race, and
he’s looking for volunteers to participate in his study.  He’ll be at the pre-race packet pickup on
Friday evening as well as at the race on Saturday, so if you have questions you
can talk with him then, or you can e-mail him at stevebhammer@gmail.com .  Since I’m a science geek myself (BS in
Chemistry and spent 5 years as a Chemist in a former life) I would encourage
you to help advance the frontiers of science and volunteer for the study.


There’s a Research Consent form on the race website, on
the same page as the race Waiver forms.
You can print it out and bring it with you, and we’ll also have copies
of it at the pre-race meeting as well as at the race itself.




There are some points – as happens every year – that need
some clarification.


First, there are one or two runners who will have RVs at
the race.  This is because they are from
out of state, and it’s the only vehicle they have to drive to the race, and
they’re going on to spend some vacation time in Florida after the race is done.  Park personnel are skittish about this, but
we’re working out a place for the RVs to park at the race site.  It’s VERY important that the RVs just look
parked – and that they do NOT look like they’re camping out.  This means no awnings rolled out, no welcome
mats, no patio sets, no pullouts pulled out.
It also does NOT mean that everyone can bring an RV to the race next
year ;-) .


Second, it’s fine to set up your own aid station supplies
and/or put your stuff out near your vehicle.
Please use common sense – we should all be able to recognize the
difference between a small personal aid station and a group campsite ;-) .  You can bring a small cook stove, such as a
propane stove, but it would be best if you set it up and used it inside the picnic
area because there’s less chance of an inadvertent fire.


We will have a two-burner propane stove in the race aid
station, and you are all free to use that.
We’ll also have electricity, and a small pot that heats water
quickly.  The aid station will keep hot
water available in two metal thermos pitchers, and instant coffee, hot
chocolate, Ramen noodles, and instant soup will be available after dark.  If you or your crew have some equipment or supplies
that you can share, please do so – it’s always better when we work together to
supply everyone’s needs.  Take care of
yourself first – but if you’ve got excess capacity, please share it.


Third, a clarification on tents.  There’s a difference between a tent that is
designed for sleeping in, and a popup tent of the 8×8 or 10×10 size that is
designed to provide shade.  Canopy-style
shade popups are OK – but again, fewer of them is better.  I will have two popups set up in the picnic
area for general use by anyone, and if your next-door neighbor has set up his
popup, please ask if you can share that one instead of setting yours up right
next to his.  A small number of communal
popups scattered about will pass muster – a parking lot converted to a boy
scout summer camp will not ;-) .


I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting –yet another
sign of my accelerating senility ;-) !  If
it’s really important, I’ll send another e-mail blast out.  If it’s mildly important, I’ll tell you
during the pre-race announcements about 15 minutes before the race starts.


I’m excited about the race – I hope you are as well!  I wish each of you a strong race, and I look
forward to shaking your hand after you finish!
You cute chicks will probably get a hug ;-) !


Sincerely tongue in cheek,


Mike Melton


2013 Ancient Oaks Update Number 1

2013 Race Update Number 1


Please accept my deepest apologies for the lateness
of this first Update – there’s no adequate excuse, but I’ve been so focused on
taking care of all the stuff that’s THE most important thing at the moment that
I let some things slip, and getting this Update to you in a timely manner is
one of them.  Since September 21, I have
worked 21 separate races (many more if you count the multiple race options at
some events – a 5K/10K, or the Dam Hill ultra races) – that’s 12 weeks of time,
and three of those events were ultras that took place out of state (Canada,
Tennessee, and Texas).  That’s no excuse
– but a bit of an explanation ;-) .


This confirms that you are
an Entrant in the 2013 Ancient Oaks 100-Mile Endurance Run being held Saturday-Sunday,
December 21-22, 2013 at the Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary in Titusville,
Florida.  The park address is 444 Columbia Blvd, Titusville, FL 32780 in
case you wish to GPS it or Google it.  I’ll also have directions and a map
posted on the race website www.ancientoaks100.com


If you’re not coming to the
race for some reason, please let me know so that I have an accurate idea of who’s
running and who’s not.  You can make your decision on whether or not to
run up to and including on the morning the race begins.  In short, if you KNOW you’re not coming,
please let me know.  If you think there’s a ghost of a chance that you can
run, plan on showing up and toeing the starting line.


A point to remember – the surest
way to get banned from all future Ancient Oaks races is to NOT communicate with
me.  I already have a list of three runners who will never get another
Invitation To Run at Ancient Oaks, because they were inconsiderate enough to
hold an Entry slot, not bother to show up on Race Day, and most importantly,
not bother to let me know they weren’t coming.  Holding a slot from
someone else because you can’t be bothered to let the RD know you’ve bagged it
is a High Crime in this event.  The limitations of the field size make
every race slot an important one!


Note – this requirement
does not apply to the Race Director – and that’s because he’s the one who is
The Decider ;-) .  And just read the race
website – this race is patently NOT fair ;-) .


So talk to me if you’re
having an issue ;-) !  I’m already having good conversations with some of
you on this very topic – kudos to those of you who have taken the time to share
your situation with me!




will be race check-in both at the pre-race dinner from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM on
Friday evening, and on Saturday morning before the race starts.  Make sure
to check in with plenty of time to get situated before the race starts.
You get a t-shirt, a race number, your timing chip, and you need to sign the waivers
- that’s the extent of check-in.  It’s not complicated, but we’ve got to
get about 55 to 60 of you ready to go by race start time.  I will be leaving the restaurant promptly at 7:30
PM – please don’t arrive at 7:29 PM and hope to get checked in ;-) .  There will be plenty of time on Saturday
morning to check in – there will be less than 60 people running the race, and
there’s not much to the check-in process, so it shouldn’t take too long.



RUN WITHOUT SIGNING BOTH WAIVERS!  We will have TWO separate waivers of
liability (thank county government bureaucracy for this duplication of effort)
and they’ll be available both the night before the race and the morning of the
PACERS AND/OR SUPPORT PERSONS!  There will be no exceptions to this
rule!  Essentially, anyone who leaves the parking lot area and goes onto
the course with you needs to sign the waivers.


The Waivers will also be
posted to the race website, and you can print them off from there and bring
them with you when you check in.  That
will speed the process some ;-) .




Unlike in past years, there
will be NO free pasta dinner at Stu Gleman’s house – for the simple reason that
he no longer has that house in Titusville ;-(.  Instead, there will be a
pre-race dinner at the IHOP restaurant in Titusville from 4:00 PM until 7:30
PM.  The IHOP is located at 3755 Cheney Hwy (SR 50) Titusville FL 32780
(telephone 321-269-4480).  It’s part of the Days Inn hotel, which is
located about a tenth of a mile west of Exit 215 at I-95, where most of the
motels are located.


We’ve got a back room set
aside for us, so when you come into the restaurant, just tell the hostess that
you’re here for the race check-in.  I
expect about 20 to 30 people to show up and eat, so you’ll have a chance to
mingle with many of your fellow ultrarunners.


You can get your race
number, your t-shirt, and you can sign the race waivers at the pre-race dinner,
but you’ll still need to check in on Saturday morning.  That way, we know
how many people actually started the race on Saturday morning.  We don’t
want to lose anyone on the course ;-) .




There are lots of cheap
motel options in the area right at exit 215 off I-95 (less than four miles from
the race site), and the race site address is 444 Columbia Blvd, Titusville FL
32780 if you need to find a location.  Just Google ‘Titusville FL’ in any
hotel search program and you’ll get plenty of low-cost options.  I counted seven different hotels within sight
of I-95 when I was there on Sunday November 18.


The Days Inn seems to be a
popular choice from the information I’ve seen.
I’ll be staying at this hotel from Thursday evening December 19 until
Monday morning December 23.  I’ll also be
having breakfast about 3:00 AM at the IHOP the morning of the race.


I don’t know of any local
camping facilities, but there is a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter located near
I-95 and they allow RVs to park overnight in their parking lot.  You might
want to do an internet search for camping options if you’re interested in that.




Since I will be at
the race site from about 4:00 AM on Saturday morning until about 6:00 PM Sunday
evening, my Days Inn hotel room will be available for use by anyone on Saturday
night, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon.
So if you absolutely need a nap or a hot shower after the race, the room
will be available on a first-come first-served basis.  I’ll have a couple of room keys at the brown
popup timing tent located across the path from the aid station – just stop by
and get the key.  Please remember to
bring it back when you’re done using the room – and please don’t steal any towels
or leave any mess that I would be embarrassed to have to deal with ;-) .  My standards are pretty low, but I do have
standards ;-) .


Please do not
attempt to drive home after running all night without any sleep – I want each
of you to run the race again in future years!




You will need to wear a computer
timing chip around either ankle.  Make
sure to wear it at all times – if you remove it to change clothes or shoes, and
you forget to put it back on, your laps may not be counted, and you wouldn’t
want that ;-) !  Even though this is a
free race with no swag and no awards, in past years we’ve had allegations of
cheating, so I’ll have more than $80,000 worth of electronic equipment on the
race tracking and timing you.  It helps
that I already own the equipment ;-) .


There will be a total of
six different timing points located on the course, including the Start/Finish
area.  As you pass over a timing point,
you should hear a distinctive ‘beep’ sound that tells you your timing chip was
detected.  If you hear that, all is well
– if you don’t hear it, you may want to stop and pass over the timing mat again
to be sure you hear the ‘ping’.  If it’s
clear the timing mat did not record you, simply report this to the timing
personnel (me) at the Start/Finish line when you pass through.  Each timing point will be battery-powered,
and it’s possible the batteries may malfunction.


Last year, everyone who
finished the race had 29 recorded times at each of the course timing mats –
which is exactly what should have happened ;-) .
I’m sure the same will be true this year.


The race will end at 3:00
PM on Sunday afternoon, for a total race time of 32 hours.  You are free
to leave the premises at any time, but if you decide to drop out of the race
for some reason, you must report to the timing tent at the Start/Finish area and
turn in your timing chip before departing.


A suggestion:  If
you’re thinking of dropping out for some reason, take some time to recover and
reconsider before taking final action.  My Rule of Thumb is to take 60
minutes of rest before dropping out of a race, because in that hour you might
find that you feel differently than you did earlier, and you find the will and
the way to continue on.  There’s no downside in sitting on the sidelines
for an hour before dropping out, and there’s considerable upside if it allows
you to regroup and get back out and finish the race.


For example – in four of my
five finishes at Ancient Oaks, I’ve taken naps ranging from 60 minutes to three
hours, and then gotten back up and finished the race, and twice I got back up
and finished fairly strongly.  So if you consider dropping, don’t do so


Pacers are allowed for the
entire duration of the race, although because the race is 29 loops of a
3.46-mile course, you’ll see the other runners plenty of times, and will often
find someone to run with.  My suggestion is to use a pacer only during the
late-night portion of the race, when your vision may be compromised and fatigue
will be a factor.  REMEMBER – PACERS


Depending on lighting (and
certainly after dark) there will be a ‘scoreboard’ flat-panel display screen
that will show you at a glance where you are in the race (how many laps and
miles) as well as how long the last lap took you to run.  If it’s too light
during the day to see the screen, then someone will call out your information
to you as you pass by the timing area.


Please do NOT linger in the
timing area – pass across the timing mat and then proceed on to the aid
station.  Do not retrace your steps backwards across the mat – we don’t
want to have to fix your miscounted loops, and the software is programmed to
ignore loops that are suspiciously too short ;-) .


Results will be posted
about every two hours near the timing tent, so support crew and/or the general
public can follow the race progress.  If
you have someone who will be following you from afar, these interim results
will be posted to the official race website every hour or so at the race




The UltraLists will also be periodically updated with progress from the race,
and you should receive a post-race personal results e-mail that shows complete
results as well as lap-by-lap split times for each of your loops.  These will also be posted to the results page
of the website.


You’ll also be given a race
number, which should be worn at all times so park personnel and visitors know
that you’re in the race, and so that timing personnel can check you off on the
backup timing system each time you come by the timing tent.  Please help
us by keeping it visible ;-) .


Remember that this is a
100-mile race – 29 loops of a 3.46-mile course for a total of 100.34
miles.  NO CREDIT will be given for any intermediate distance – anything less
than a 100-mile finish will be listed as a DNF, although each person’s final
mileage will be displayed in the results, no matter how many miles are


There are no cash prizes,
awards, swag or anything else of value given to those who finish.  You get
a hearty ‘Attaboy!’ or ‘Attagirl!’ and the satisfaction of having done
something significant on your weekend time off ;-) .  There may or may not
be any special awards presented (the Dainty Flower award, or the Hello Kitty
Princess Tiara award, for example), and if there is anything like this, it is
entirely at the whims of race management and personnel ;-) .




The park is home to the
full array of Florida wildlife, including spiders, snakes, raccoons,
armadillos, gopher tortoises, and most importantly, feral hogs.  These
hogs can be as large as 200 pounds or more, and are most active during the
nighttime hours.  They root around in the soil and often some sections of
the course are significantly churned up by their efforts.  They should not
bother you, but it’s best to give them a wide berth.  I’d avoid getting
between a mother and her piglets, for example ;-) .


In the last year or so, the
Golden Orb spiders have become much more visible – their webs are both
beautiful and intricate.  They’re as
small in size as a quarter, and can be as large as the palm of your hand.  They’re not aggressive and I don’t believe
they bite – but I’d avoid getting tangled in a web just the same ;-) .




As guests in the park, we
must abide by the park rules, and here are the ones that will apply to

First, there is NO camping in the park – no tents, and no Recreational Vehicles
allowed.  There’s just not enough room in the park and parking lot areas
to accommodate anything more than passenger vehicles.  All vehicles must
fit into a normal-sized parking space!


Second, of course there’s
no littering at all in the park – please carry any trash you have to the aid
station or deposit it in the trash cans located around the park.  As of
this writing, there should be NO fires within the park – my first year as Race
Director, someone dumped some ash in the parking lot and the asphalt was marked
with a burn-like mark, and I spent some time discussing it with park management
and then some sweat labor scrubbing the area with a bristle brush.


I’m hoping that we can have
a metal fire pit thing and have a fire during the night Saturday night, but my
thought is that this is best done once park management has departed for the
evening, and it should be cleaned up by the time park management returns on
Sunday morning.  I’ll keep you posted on
this possibility.


Third, the park will be
OPEN to the public on Saturday and Sunday during the bulk of each day.  DO
NOT run over or knock down any hikers or lollygaggers who are meandering around
aimlessly while you’re hell-bent on knocking off a big PR ;-) .  Please be
polite to the people you meet in the woods ;-) .


The issue with the park and
its rules is that the land that the park encompasses is pristine old-growth natural
Florida forest, and as such it’s protected under the Brevard County
Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program.  In fact, the park is
billed as the ‘flagship property’ under the EEL program.  There is a
contingent of very active environmental activists who feel strongly that ANY
human impact within the park should be strongly discouraged, and these people
feel that the race should not be allowed in the park at all.  We presently
have the support of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, but it
would take just one incident for much of that support to evaporate.
Please be considerate of the park and the race and act accordingly!


The park front entrance
gate will be locked after hours, but we’ll have the combination and if you need
to exit the park (or you have people who need to enter), have them get in touch
with me on my cell phone at 772-349-1704, and we’ll have a volunteer escort you
out or escort them in.  We’ve had issues with non-race-related people
trying to get into the park after hours, so we need to respect the need for
security.  It’s about a half-mile or less from the start/finish aid
station area up to the front gate.


The visitor’s center
bathrooms are large, sanitary, clean, and WARM (during the chill of the night!)
and they will be available for our use for the entire duration of the
race.  Please keep them clean, and please report any issues (like a lack
of paper!) to the aid station personnel.




The temperature during the
race will vary widely, so plan accordingly.  Daytime temperatures will
probably be in the 60-80 degree F range, but could be lower or even up into the
low to mid 90s.  Nighttime temperatures could be very low, with the
possibility of below-freezing temperatures.  Florida’s nighttime is also
damp, and often windy, so a temperature of 38 degrees F with a cold north wind
blowing will chill you to the bone quickly.  Do not underestimate either
the heat of the afternoon or the chill of the night ;-) !


Rain is always a
possibility, but not likely.  In the past six years, it has rained lightly
for a couple of hours a couple of different times.  I’d plan on a mostly dry
race, but have some rain gear available just in case.




You are encouraged to crew
yourself out of your vehicle, which you will pass 28 times during the race,
since each race loop begins by passing through the parking area.  While we
will provide a variety of food and some liquids, you should assume that you
will receive nothing except access to clean water during the race.
Whatever else you want, you should bring with you!


There are several picnic
tables located near the start/finish area which will be available for runner
use, and you’re free to set up a small table and/or chair near your
vehicle.  Just remember that the park is home to lots of wildlife, which
is looking forward to scavenging through your race supplies while you’re out on
the race course ;-) .




You’re free to have a pacer
for any part of the race you wish, although with 50 people running 29 loops
each, you’ll be within sight of someone else for much of the race.  If you
think you’d like a pacer after dark, please talk to race personnel and we might
be able to find someone for you.  No guarantees, of course!  Make
sure to have any pacer sign both park waivers before accompanying you onto the
race course.




The aid station will be
located at the Start/Finish area, and will probably be stocked with water,
cookies, pretzels, chips, some candy, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, and
Gatorade.  We’re making plans to have grilled cheese sandwiches and hot
soup and possibly coffee after dark, and there may also be pizza sometime
before midnight.  Although these are our plans, nothing is certain until
race day ;-) .


ANYTHING AT THE AID STATION!  Anything we provide should be viewed as a
bonus ;-) !


My advice is – if you want
something to be there, bring it yourself.  Do NOT depend on us to provide
you with ANYTHING except access to clean water and bathrooms.  We’re
working or having a well-stocked aid station but I would count on nothing ;-) .


If this is your
first ultra, please be aware that this is NOT your typical marathon or
half-marathon, where your every whim and desire are catered to by a vast staff
of volunteers assigned expressly to you.
Ultras are all about personal responsibility as well as embracing the
minimalist philosophy where less is more.
If you’ve got a complaint about the event, please bring it to me but
don’t expect much in the way of any response other than a heartfelt ‘I’m
sorry’.  ‘I’m sorry you got lost on the
course’… ‘I’m sorry you missed your crew person’… ‘I’m sorry I didn’t have
free-range organic fair-trade no-kill vegan Oreo cookies doublestuffed with
dark chocolate filling for you’.  You get
the idea ;-) .




We have several people who
have graciously volunteered to donate part of a day, a whole day, or a whole
weekend of their lives to us and the race.
DO NOT abuse the volunteers!  If
you have ANY issues, then bring them to me at the timing tent.  I’ll be there for the duration of the entire
race, with the exception of about a 45-minute nap around 4:00 AM.  I may also need to spend an hour or so on the
course checking on equipment and such.
Otherwise I’ll be in the timing area.




Please run within the
limits of your ability.  If you are having a medical issue, please report
it immediately.  Remember that if you are having an emergency, you need to
call 9-1-1 as soon as possible or have someone call for you.  Paramedics
are located within two miles of the race site, so they should be readily
available.  We do have a couple of small first-aid kits at the timing
area, and there are a couple of doctors and a nurse or two who are running, so
there may be some medical-personnel availability.  We reserve the right to remove you from the
course and the park at any time if we deem that you are a danger to yourself or
to others.




Since many people have
asked, if you’d like to contribute to race expenses, I’ll be paying for all
supplies and race expenses such as liability insurance, aid station stuff, race
numbers, and the like.  There will be a donation jar at the aid station,
and at the pre-race packet pickup/dinner.
Please do NOT feel as if you need to contribute ANYTHING.  THIS IS


I’m happy that you’ve
decided to spend a few days of your life with us here in sunny south-central
Florida ;-) , and I’m looking forward to having a GREAT time this coming




The updates you’ve received
are posted to the race website www.ancientoaks100.com,
so if you forget what was said and have deleted the message, just check the
website and you can see what has been sent out so far.




If you arrive and realize
you’ve forgotten something, there is a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter located at
the northeast corner of the intersection of I-95 and Hwy 50 at Exit 215, and there’s
a Lowe’s at the same Exit.  Either or both of those stores should have
what you need.  There are also a couple of drug stores located in the
vicinity.  There’s a gas station/convenience store located less than a
mile from the park entrance as well.




If you’re thinking you want
a last-minute carbo-loading feast before the race, there are two 24-hour
restaurants located at Exit 215 off I-95 and Hwy 50 – one is a Denny’s (located
in the Ramada Inn) and the other is an IHOP (located at the Days Inn).  If you’re staying in the Days Inn, they’ll
offer you discount coupons for use at the IHOP at the time you check into your




A couple of you have asked
what time the race starts – according to the race website www.ancientoaks100.com, the race will
begin promptly at 7:00 AM Eastern Daylight Savings Time.  There’s been
nothing to change that, so plan on starting at 7:00 AM on the dot!




The race is being held
within a few days of the shortest day of the year, so the sun will set about
6:00 PM on Saturday evening and it won’t get light again until about 6:30 AM on
Sunday morning.  Plan for 12 hours or more of darkness – bring spare
batteries for your headlamps and flashlights!




I would prefer that you NOT
bring a popup tent or canopy with you to the race – if the start/finish begins
to look too much like Occupy Wall Street, we’ll get in hot water with the park
personnel ;-) !  There will be three popup tents at the start/finish area
that will have some space for your gear – one is the timing tent, which I’d
prefer to have limited access to, the second will be the aid station and there
will be one located in the picnic area right next to the aid station.  You
may use either the aid station or the picnic popup as covered space for your
things – but please use common sense and use only the minimum space necessary so
that others may have room as well.




The park will be open on Friday from 9:00 AM until
5:00 PM, and I will be in the park from 9:00 AM until about 2:00 PM, marking
the race course and doing final race prep.
After that, I’ll be at the pre-race dinner.

Saturday morning I’m planning on opening the park
gates about 4:30 AM, so you should have plenty of time to get into the park and
set up before the race begins at 7:00 AM.
Some of the parking lot will be roped off – please do not park in this
area.  That’s the area that the public
will use while the race is going on.  We
are allowed to park on the west side of the parking area, and in the large open
space just before the paved parking area – this would be on your left as you
drive into the park.  I’ll try and have
it clearly marked as Race Parking.

If for some reason you will not be at the start of
the race at 7:00 AM, but you’re still planning on running (maybe you’re giving
the other runners a head start ;-) ) please check in at the Timing Tent before
you start the race.  I need to know that
you are starting the race, and I need to make sure I know exactly when you

You are not required to remain in the park at all
times during the race – you’re free to leave if you need something outside the
park, and then return and continue running.
If you need to leave the park boundaries for some reason, please tell
someone at either the Aid Station or the Timing Tent that you are leaving
(check out with us), and then tell us when you get back into the park (check
back in with us).  That way we don’t
start looking for you in the weeds and the canals ;-) .

If you decide to leave the park, you should take
your timing chip off and leave it with the timing personnel, and then make sure
to get it back and put it back on when you come back into the park.  This way, if for some reason you don’t make
it back (the bed magnet gets too strong, for example), then you won’t take your
timing chip home with you by mistake.




This is mostly
going to be a list of Do’s and Don’t’s, to remind all of us – me included –
what will help and hurt the race and your ability to run it.


DO – be
responsible for your support crew and pacers.
Please make sure that they know all the rules of the race.  Each year, crews and/or support personnel
come in and scurry around doing what they think their runners wants them to do,
and often it’s at odds with race or park rules.
Please tell your crews and support people that when in doubt, just ask
someone at either the timing tent or the aid station.  We’ll be happy to help out!


When incidents
happen (such as the fire evidence) park management get concerned.  They get concerned about the safety issues, but
they also then wonder about my ability to manage the race and its
participants.  I have a GREAT working
relationship with the park management, and that incident is the closest I’ve
come to possibly not being allowed to have the race in future years.


I’d like to avoid
having any such incidents this year – or in any year.  Please check with your crews and support
people to make sure they’re not planning any ‘surprises’ for you that might
impact the park and/or the race.


Let’s go through some
of the more important Don’t’s again –


Don’t bring a
tent, an RV, a camper or any vehicle that cannot fit into a normal-sized
parking spot.  Parking  space is somewhat limited, and since there’s
no camping allowed in the park, we cannot give anyone the impression that any
camping is going on.


Don’t be obvious
with your alcohol.  We’ve never had a
problem with this, and I’d like to keep it that way.  The red solo cup is your best friend here
;-) .


Don’t litter on
the trails, or spend a lot of time bushwacking off-trail.  This is a sensitive environment – let’s leave
it in better condition than we found it ;-) .


Don’t forget that
the park is open to the public both Saturday and Sunday, and that most of the
public has no idea what in the heck we’re doing ;-) .  Please be courteous!


Don’t be rude or
abuse my volunteers!  If you have ANY
issue with ANYTHING, please see me at the timing tent across from the aid
station.  Do NOT take issue with the
volunteers – they’re likely doing or not doing whatever it is because I asked
them to.  Remember that no one is getting
paid for this – and that each of the people who is helping out has taken time
out of their life and money out of their pocket to help make your race better.


Here are some of
the more important Do’s.


Do bring anything
you want that’s special.  We’ll have some
aid and supplies but if Wal-Mart doesn’t sell it, we probably won’t have it
;-) .  If you absolutely must have
fair-trade, no-kill, free-range, organic soy whey protein fruit smoothies
blended to a specific thickness and temperature, then you’d better plan on
bringing the blender, the ingredients, and a barista with you ;-) .


Do ask politely,
if you need anything.  We’ll likely have
an amazing assortment of stuff out there, and if we don’t have it, a volunteer
may be willing to run out and get it for you.
So if there’s something generic that you need, ask first before assuming
that it’s not possible.  I will stress
that being POLITE makes a huge difference in this regard ;-)


Do wear your
timing chip at all times, as well as your race number.  Although there’s no prohibition against it,
please do not run the loop backwards – the course is laid out so that you’ll
run in a counterclockwise direction.  Please
do run all the loops in the same direction – all the timing data will make much
better sense that way ;-) .


Do make sure all
of your crew and support personnel who go out on the trail sign BOTH waiver
forms before they go out with you.  We’ll
have a pile of them at both the aid station and the timing tent.  This helps tremendously with our ability to
return to the park in future years!


Do have fun and a
good attitude ;-) .  Remember that you
CHOSE to do this, so you might as well enjoy it!


See you in Titusville this weekend!  It looks like it’s going to be a great
weekend to run a hundred miles!  I’m
really excited about seeing you all and having another amazing weekend with a
great group of ultrarunners!




Mike Melton

Race Director



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