In the midst of a record breaking heat wave, 100 plus participants decided to embark on a journey that made them wonder if indeed the devil had taken over their minds and bodies. I mean really there aren’t many people who participate in a race where the day time high was projected to be in the high 90’s to 100º with the northeast humidity added in of course.
The Running with Devil race was held on the Mountain Creek Ski hill in Vernon NJ, next to one of my favorite childhood water parks, Mountain Creek water park or Action park back in the day. Each participant was given an option of 3, 6 or 12 hours to see how many times they could finish a 5k loop up a steep 1,200 ft ski hill then back down to racer check in, which was in the ski lodge. Every time you were finished with a loop you would have to run into this very, very inviting atmosphere where chairs called your name, friends stopped you to say hello and the slightly hidden icy cold beer beckoned a swallow.
I decided pretty much that morning to participate in the race until then my thought was to go out and support my teammates Chris and Zsuzsanna who were pushing themselves to complete the 3 hour race. But instead I signed up for the 6 hour race with hopes of getting some supported training in. After the first 2 loops I realized my mind & body were not up to the task of competing or completing it anyway.
I was so relaxed I actually stopped after 2 laps and started hanging out in the lodge. On a normal day I would have zipped in & out to be sure not to waste time but not this day, my head was not into it at all. Instead I decided It would be more fun to catch up with old friends, meet new people and cheer the others on, while including a lap here and there.
Amazing achievements were on full display, Jason friedman won the 12 hour race by completing 50 remarkable miles in 12 hours, he is getting ready for the leadville 100 mile race and Jennifer Brunnet won the womens race completed 41.8 miles in the 12 hour division. Alll in all 21 people completed an ultra distance which is any mileage over 26.2 miles. Wow watch out, the NJ ultra running scene is really taking off. Big Congrats to MPF Campmor athlete Zsusanna Carlson, she placed 1st in the 3 hour race and Chris Focacci placed 13th.