It was the 6th Annual Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic (aka: YUT-C) 50K and 25K yesterday. The biggest crowd of runners to date and a day that started out around 50F and only climbed into the 70s. Clear, low humidity, perfect. There's not many things that will keep me away from Mill Creek Park each year, a week before the Akron Marathon. NEO Trail (Northeast Ohio Trail) Club puts this race on and being a member and good friends with the founders, it's a race I'm loyal to. Another race, the NorthCoast24, moved it's race to land square on top of YUT-C this year. It's a 24 hour endurance race at Edgewater Park in Cleveland. Actually, it's the 24hr USATF National Championship. Many friends are participating, crewing, and volunteering. While I don't agree with the move, I do support my friends doing it and if not on the same day, would volunteer or run it. A 24hr timed event is one that I haven't done before...and I want to. This one is done professionally and is right here so of course, I'd love to support it as I do all local events but until it moves from this date...just not going to happen. As I type this, the NC24 is about 2hrs from completion. I'm very excited for a few good friends...Laurie Colon, Greg Murray, Dan DeRosha and Ladd Clifford. Jim Chaney is running the live feed online and all timing and you can actually see the sun rising over Lake Erie right now. I will attest...the sun rising on the 2nd day of an ultra-marathon is a spine-tingling event. It is surreal, powerful, and like nothing else. It's like rebirth of your whole being and brings new life to your steps. I am envious...no doubt.
YUT-C was a great day and I was there at 6:30am to help with packet pickup and then for whatever else they needed. The runners got hooked up this year. Tech tees worth the cheap $40 registration, alone, were handed out and aid station food and logistics that are classic "NEO Trail." Who has an ultra-marathon anymore for $40 and gives the ladies silk-weight Patagonia, long sleeve tech tees and the guys La Sportiva tech tees? Then, serves a smörgåsbord of food at the aid stations including pizza and lasagna at the finish? Oh yea, pictures and results up the same day, too. Oh did I mention, they allow an earlier start for those who want/need more time to complete the distance? Flexibility, unwaivering commitment to the runners and to each other, and a passion for the sport. After the race kicked off, it was picture time. I took a few before the steel steps then headed to the main aid station at the Covered Bridge. I tried to assist, offered multiple times, but none was wanted so I did what I love to do when not actually running...that being cheering on my fellow trail-mates and taking pictures...780 of them to be exact. I have had my Canon GS11 for about a month or a little more and have tried nearly every setting to capture a non-blurry moving trail runner on the shaded trail. This has proven to be a very frustrating task. Cameras simply insist on focusing on the bright, green foliage on the trail!!! Yesterday, I used a new setting. It has a low-light mode and I combined that with the auto-focus, rapid fire mode. That limits my resolution options, size options, etc., but gives me better chance of a clear shot. You can see in the pictures that as the day got brighter and I moved into daylight, the pictures got better. Those in broad daylight are very good, actually. Enough talking...here are the pictures. Album #1 of 200 photos. Album #2 of 27 photos. It was great to see so many of my good friends again! See many of you at Oil Creek in one month!