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2014-11-02 - Potomac Heritage 50k

~30 miles @ ~20 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/PH50k_2014_z_Gayatri_Ken_Delia_Maureen.jpgOn a beautiful autumn day, why not take a walk (with a bit of running) in the woods, with friends new and old? The 2014 Potomac Heritage 50k is put on by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. The "Official" results for this free event are basically whatever you write down and claim on the sign-out sheet at the finish. In my case, that's 9 hours 54 minutes. The iPhone GPS Runkeeper app says ~30.3 miles at an average pace of ~19.6 min/mi.

The PH50k nominally begins at 8am, but since it's all for fun some of us decide to take an early start at 7am, to avoid cut-off pressure and enjoy the scenery to the max. We pause where the course enters Rock Creek Park for a group photo: ^z, Gayatri Datta, Ken Swab, Delia Edelman, and Maureen Rohrs.

This is Delia's first trail experience, and she does well. Her friend Maureen, who has finished the Vermont 100 and is a long-distance swimmer in the Annapolis area, sticks with Delia and me for the first half-dozen or so miles. Gayatri and Ken trot ahead on the C&O Canal Towpath toward Georgetown. We regroup at mile ~8.5, the Teddy Roosevelt Island aid station, where I skip rope (click here to download short video). Then Ken runs onward solo.

After some rough terrain along the south bank of the Potomac, Delia decides to stop at the Chain Bridge aid station. Gayatri, Maureen, and I carry on together, meeting Ken on his return trip from an out-and-back segment. Under the American Legion Bridge at mile ~18.5 we pose for a friendly hiker-photographer at a graffiti-clad pylon. (see 2014-03-01 - Icy Potomac Heritage Trail with Barry for imagery from a visit to that same point 8 months earlier)

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/PH50k_2014_Maureen_z_Gayatri_bridge.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/PH50k_2014_finish.jpgThe rest of the run is pleasant and uneventful. Ultrarunner Cindy Cohen joins us for a while, runs ahead, misses a turn, and is reunited with us at the finish, where Ken has been waiting for an hour. We pose on the front steps at the finish line, the Woodley Park (DC) neighborhood home of Kerry Owens and Doug Sullivan.

Past results for this race are 8:27 (Potomac Heritage 50k 2007), 7:45 (2009-11-01 - Potomac Heritage 50k 2009), and 7:14 (2010-11-07 - Potomac Heritage 50k + Potomac Heritage Trail 50k 2010). It's a lovely day and I make some lovely new friends — and that's what life's all about, eh?!

^z - 2014-11-27