Bob Hagan Race Report – Trilogy ’11

Praise God we can run!

I was fortunate enough to participate in the 50K first leg of the WV Trilogy on Friday, 7 October.  WV is indeed a wild, wonderful place (wet and wrocky, too) !

This was my 17th ultra overall and the sixth I have run in WV, so I should probably know that WV is the Mountain State for good reason.  I think I was happy to believe the qualifier on the race site that said the elevation profile was exaggerated and that the only truly technical parts of the course were on a segment of the 50M second leg. . .no complaints though, this was an awesome run, in any case, it was exactly what I wanted!  Since my first ultra at JFK in 2008 and really getting the bug at Holiday Lake in 2009, I have enjoyed the opportunity to challenge myself physically and mentally in some beautiful places.

The beauty of creation has been amazing, but the most profound effect of my ultras has been a vibrant experience of God’s incredible Grace and his unmatched Glory.  Being stretched physically and mentally has prepared my heart to be tender and receptive to God’s love in new ways, and to clarify on whom I depend.  I know I must do my part in all things, but to be truly successful, I need to depend on God’s provision and I need to ensure that my part is oriented on bringing Him glory.  Too often I am the clay questioning the Potter (Romans 9:19-21);  the chance to do these events has definitely helped me understand this.  It has also allowed me to meet some exceptional people who are living their faith.  Friends like Matt ( whose prayers and support I greatly appreciate!  Congratulations to Matt and his bride for welcoming a new generation of ultrarunner with their son’s birth on Friday, too!

As I reflected on Trilogy 50K, two verses I wanted to share:

“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful” Psalm 116:5

“but, God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8

The Trilogy 50K was an awesome experience: the people, the event, and the course.

People:  I had met both race directors, Adam Casseday and Dan Lehmann, before – impressive men for sure.  They are quite a team, great friends and genuinely nice people.  Organizing and executing an event like this is extremely demanding of time and attention, but for these men, it is clearly a labor of love.   Their families and all of the volunteers at the aid stations and the folks at the Mountain Institute really worked hard to make everything go smoothly.  I am profoundly grateful for their efforts and the opportunity they provided – THANK YOU!

Event:   I think the 3-day stage format is exceptional – I hope I can give the whole weekend a go next year.  Getting on the starting line for day 2 is a real gut check.  My hats off to everyone who took on all three events and particularly to the 15 runners who completed all three – very impressive!  The Mountain Institute is an awesome venue –at night  I think you can see every star in the sky, just a wonderfully beautiful place.

Course:  Tough and beautiful and wet and rocky.  Mostly trail, which I found fairly technical, but I am really challenged on the rocks – not a mountain goat at all.   My feet were wet most of the day, from the wet grass in the first few miles and from the many stream crossings on the route, but it really did not cause me any real problems and the later stream crossings were refreshing.  There were several good climbs – made moreso by the essentially straight up trail route.  My friend Bruce noted that a few switchbacks would be nice!  I greatly enjoyed the AS3/4 area – remote and crewed by horse riders – wonderful cheese quesadillas.  Leaving AS4 was my favorite spot on the course, climbing through the meadow of amazing Autumn color at Judy Springs.  I had seen this spot in pictures from last year’s Trilogy – wow.

God’s Grace and God’s Glory – Praise God we can run!

Hope to see you on the trails! 

Author: Bob Hagan