MAY 2006 Newsletter for the Cherokee Road Runners

After a winter of few temperatures under 35 degrees, race day dawned in Louisville with the first snow of 2006. It began at 6:15am, just about the time most of our runners were rolling out of bed and looking out the window. By the time they arrived at the race, the ground was covered, the winds were howling, and many scurried back to their cars for that extra shirt. For the 3rd running of the Lovin’ the Hills 50K, temps would not reach 20, Gatorade would freeze and runners would learn to peel frozen bananas. As new race directors, Joan Wood and I had advertised valentine love to be found on the trails of the Jefferson Forest. We were heartbroken about the weather, but amazed at the runners who continued through it all, many even pretending to like it.

Eric Grossman started this run in 2004, with 37 runners, mostly locals. In 2005, with a website and a bit more advertising, 53 runners finished the challenging course with the 17 hills. When Eric moved to Virginia during the summer of 2005, the Cherokee Road Runners decided to accept the challenge of putting on a trail race. We added a 15 miler for trail virgins, hikers, and the untrained, keeping both courses open for the same 10 hours and offering a one-hour early start. We were even more amazed that 81 runners finished the 50K course on such an unlovely day, some doing a GREAT job of pretending that it simply provided an extra tidbit.

With the weather, a couple of volunteers who could not make it around the police barricades on the freeway, and the added need to deliver supplies to replace the frozen ones, we did not get to meet everyone. We want to thank each person who traveled up Holsclaw Hill that day to wander in our woods. Eric returned to run his own race, winning easily in 4:49. Our female winner, 22-year-old Melissa Beaver drove 2 hours south from Bloomington, IN, finishing in 5:13. Many others straggled in over the next few hours, praying only that the locks on their cars would let them in and that there was enough Kentucky BBQ to renew their spirits and get them home. Our last finisher was Don Lindley of Ft. Wayne, who smiled all day long, thanked every volunteer, told stories, smiled some more, and made us realize more than anyone why we were out there. We knew that he was not pretending. We knew that he loved every minute of it.

Thanks again to each of our runners, their families and our volunteers. Please give us another chance next year. We promise to love you better J.

Brenda Gutmann. Co-RD