Ultra runners inspiring


By Dana Statson,


The Croom Trail 50k State Cross-Country Championship was held recently in the Withlachochee Forest near Brooksville, Florida. This course is deceptively tough and when combined with the good old Florida sun, it can chew up those who would run it.

This year Tallahassee had three representatives in this race.Our lone gnarled veteran was Jim Dessi. Two newcomers to this race and to ultra distances were Corri Moore and Kate McFall. These runners had been training specifically for this race for quite a while. A lot of this training was done in the Forest Meadows area, and at Red Bug, and the Lake Overstreet trails. These area’s duplicated a lot of the conditions of the Croom course. They trained very realistically by running long, twisty, root filled, hilly runs with lots of sun added for realism.

On race day all this training showed through. Each of our runners, in their own way, showed themselves to be extraordinary. The race quickly became two races and it was a wonder to watch. The lead man ran away from the pack and never looked back, but on the women’s side there was a six woman pack always within striking distance of each other. Due to the distance (31 miles) no normal lead can be a sure thing. The top four women finished within six minutes of each other, after over four hours of running.

Our two women competitors each earned state age-group championships and the respect of all the runners that they had run against. Jim Dessi showed his strength in a different way. Due to a clothing related injury, early on, it soon became apparent his race was going to be slower, and more painful. Massive blisters appeared on his ankles in the first lap (of four). Tape, Band-Aids, and everything else would not change this fact. He chose to push on through all of it and an ever increasing temperature and sun factor to finish honorably and with a smile on his face.

Congratulations to our ultra-runners. Your hard work has given us the next wave of ultra-athletes.