This Week In Running (Week of 11/8 & 11/9)

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by, your source for […]

By on November 5, 2008 | 3 comments

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by, your source for mud, mountains, miles and so much more. Today’s we preview a few of the races on tap for the weekend of November 8 and 9, 2008, including the Mother Road 100, Pinhoti 100, and Stone Cat 50 Mile.

We begin, as always, with this week’s featured race, the Stone Cat 50 Mile Race, which takes place on Saturday, November 8 in Willowdale State Forest, Ipswich, Massachusetts (a trail marathon is also offered). Put on by Gil’s Athletic Club (“G.A.C.”), Stone Cat‘s course is run on a 12.5 mile loop of rolling trails (a mix of double track and single track) in Willowdale Forest. The course is very runnable but has a lot of rocks and some sections containing many roots. There is a 13 hour time limit for the 50-miler.

There will be at least three aid stations on the course (at 4 miles, 8 miles, and the start/finish area of each loop). Aid stations are well stocked with water, Gatorade, soda, munchies, sandwiches, GACers, etc. The 4 and 8 mile stations are reachable by car and a short walk (under 5 minutes), making the event very crew-accessible. [Trail Goat Note: At least one aid station usually has “pain relieving tonics.”]

Coolrunning and Kevin Molloy wrote a fantastic article about G.A.C. entitled The GAC: A Little Bit of Running Heaven!, which will give you a look into the G.A.C., and reveal exactly why this event has grown to be so very popular :

Stone Cat 50 mile aid stationIt’s a beautiful late summer evening in the quaint New England town of Topsfield, MA and the runners of the GAC have already started to gather in and around “Gil’s Grocery” – one of the few remaining “Mom & Pop” grocery stores left in the country. James Gilford (“Gilly”) inherited the store from his Dad and now runs not only the store but also one of the most unique Athletic Clubs in the country. As you enter the grocery store, your eyes are bombarded with pictures of club members at a zillion different races as well as racing bibs from literally all over the world. These guys and gals have raced them all … from 5k’s through a heavy dose of ultra’s and triathlons. Literally every available space is taken up with pictures or numbers instead of advertisements for store products which should tell you something about Gilly!

Stone Cat 50 mile courseGilly is adamant about one thing as I start the interview … “the story here is the CLUB … it’s not about me … make sure you use pictures of the guys and not of me!” I tell him “Fair enough … but let me hear the story of the GAC from you first.” A former high school wrestling standout, Gilly started running in 78 and his store quickly became a gathering point for local runners. They would use the store, with its’ great parking space, as the starting and finishing point of runs of every conceivable distance whether it be on the roads, the trails or the track. Finally, after a few years, this group “formalized” into an athletic club in 1983. HOWEVER, it was a club with NO DUES … and NO FORMAL MEMBERSHIP. Now, every run ends with a social gathering … usually in the basement of the grocery store where a wonderful home style “clubhouse” greets tired runners …and what a clubhouse!!!!! You’ll need to duck your head around the beams if you’re tall but there’s always a cold keg in the fridge and you can either sit around in old comfortable chairs and “chill out” or workout with weights or listen to CD’s or watch television. Everybody has their own private mug hanging from nails along one of the beams and the picture of the all women’s bike race is … well … you’d have to see it to believe it!

Read more of the article: The GAC: A Little Bit of Running Heaven!

You can also read iRunFar’s 2007 Stone Cat 50 race report for more information.

The Mother Road 100 mile race takes place on Saturday, November 8 in the western part of Oklahoma along historic Route 66. MR100 was intended to be a one time road running event celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the commissioning of Route 66 (which took place in 2006). It began at the Round Barn in Arcadia, Oklahoma, one of the most recognizable landmarks on Route 66; traveled 100 miles along historic Route 66 utilizing the oldest alignment whenever possible; and finished at Carls Jr. west of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Apparently, a great demand for a return of MR100 has lead to the 2008 edition, but on a different course.

Another 100-mile event set to make its debut this weekend is the Pinhoti 100, a point-to-point trail run starting in Heflin, Alabama on the unmolested Pinhoti single track trail. Runners will make their way over the highest point in Alabama while navigating over rocks, through creeks and across beautiful ridge lines of the Talladega National Forest. The course will consist of 80.62 miles of single track trail, 16.98 miles of jeep road and 4.52 miles of pavement and will finish on the rubberized track in the Sylacauga High School Football Stadium. The Pinhoti course elevation profile looks to be challenging. The course map and a detailed course description (.doc) can be found on the race web-site.

The 13th annual Rockledge Rumble will feature 50k, 30k and 15k trail runs on Saturday, November 8 in Grapevine, Texas. The course is on the beautiful and rugged Northshore Trail, along the scenic shore of Lake Grapevine. The terrain is rocky and will provide a challenge for the fittest athletes. The 30K goes out and back from Rockledge Park to the turnaround. The 50K course i
s one long out and back to the turnaround, then one short out and back. The 15K fun run course is out and back from Rockledge Park to Murrell Park.

There are several marathons to choose from this weekend, including the following:

Saturday, November 8

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon (Chickamauga, GA)
Louisiana Trails Marathon (Shreveport, LA)

Sunday, November 9
Harrisburg Marathon (Harrisburg, PA)
Orange Blossom Marathon & Half Marathon (Tavares, FL)
Inaugural Two Cities Marathon (Fresno, CA)

You can, of course, click on any of the marathons listed above and peruse its website for more information.

That will wrap things up for this week. Be sure to stop by next week for another edition of This Week In Running !

Anthony Portera
a contributing author to