E.A. Sports Today

In the long run

Ultra-marathoners hit the trail in White Plains area Saturday for In the Heat of the Night 100K, the first 100K trail race in Alabama this year

Here’s the course map with distances and locations to aid stations.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

You’ve heard of the loneliness of the long-distance runner? Now try running it through the middle of the night if you want lonely.

Trail running enthusiasts from six states will toe the starting line in the White Plains area Saturday night for the inaugural In the Heat of the Night 100K.

Most distance runners are familiar with the Woodstock 5K or the 5Ks run by the high school cross country teams in the fall. But as Monty Python used to say, now for something completely different.

“It is about finding yourself and passing the point of ‘I can’t go on any more,’” race director Becki Jones said. “You are pushing your bodies to the limits that you don’t even think you have something you can do.”

Jones, the mileage coordinator for the Anniston Runners Club, has put on two ultra-distance races in the county earlier this year – the McClellan Madness, two time-based races on the bike trails in March, and the Delirium, a 15 and 32K race on four of the Coldwater trails in June. She has another race, the Lake Yahou 50K, in October.

The Heat is actually a program of four distance races – 10K, 25K, 50K and 100K – with the start line and finish chute at the Frog Pond Overlook. The starting gun goes off at 6 p.m. Saturday and the runners – more than 150 of them – they go into the night. Awards are given to the top three male and top three female runners in each race.

Twenty-two hearty souls will set out in the 100K race (62.14 miles). If all goes well, the winner is expected to cross around 8 a.m. Sunday.

The projected favorites in the 100K race are Fulton Williams of Birmingham and Sam Kuhn of Auburn; Kuhn finished second in the Delirium 32K. The projected 50K favorite is Fort Rucker’s Matthew Deyo. Oxford’s Patrick Bussey and Anniston’s Jamie Limbaugh are seeded eighth and ninth, respectively, in the 50K race. 

“It’s pretty amazing to watch,” Jones said. “It’s actually so peaceful. We’re supposed to be coming off of a full moon, there’s supposed to be a meteor shower, there’s critters you don’t see during the day. It is just peaceful because everybody’s sleeping and you’re just out trying your hardest to stay awake and stay alive.”

Here’s the view the runners can expect in the early stages of the race.

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