By Gary Griffin


GWTC was well represented at the State Championship 50K on the Croom Hiking Trail in Brooksville.

Dana Stetson		4:14:16		3rd over all
Gary Griffin		4:24:06		7th overall
Malissa Auker		4:32:37		9th overall/2nd
George Palmer		4:41:54		15th (in his first
Mike Jaynes		5:10:30		20th overall
Jim Dessi		5:11:11		21st (in his first ultra)

It was a great day on the trail. Very comfortable the first 3 loops (7.7 miles each) and a bit steamy the last one. The field was tough, as two runners went sub-4, including Ray Bell, who won the Run Across America a few years back and has run in our ultra. My 4:24 would have been good enough for 2nd place (behind Dana’s winning time) last year.

In my book, the story of the day was George Palmer…as always. He decided to do it as an Ironman training run. Hasn’t run a marathon in 5-6 years since having hip replacement surgery, but once again is strong as a horse. Running on a titanium hip is enough of a miracle, but trail running, with all the roots and soft sand and twists and turns, and crawling out of sinkholes……I, for one, am astounded. He’s gotta learn one thing about ultra running, though: unless you are planning to use your O’Doul’s as a replacement fluid on the trail, do NOT carry your 48 qt cooler full of it to the start of the run, especially when you then have to run past it and finish up a 3/10 mile, totally un-runable, root strewn hill. After running 31 miles, carrying a cooler full of liquid anything up-hill for over a quarter mile could end your career!