Palmers Pond 50K

“They all have to touch the PP”

The finish line to the Palmers Pond 50k was a pair of wooden letter “P’s” tied to a cowbell.  Colin Bailey, Race Director of the self named – PP50K required all finishers to jog across the parking lot and touch the letters then ring the bell for the race to count.

The Palmers Pond 50k was run on Saturday, April 2nd under the classification of a “Fat Ass Race.” A fat ass event is a race that offers runners the bare minimum. No sign up, no bibs, no fees, no awards, and no whining.

“I wanted runners to see the trails around where I live and share in the experience together. I figured a Fat Ass was the way to go.” Said Bailey, 46, of Scio, NY.

Race Director Colin Bailey giving pre-race instructions
Race Director Colin Bailey giving pre-race instructions

19 hard core runners showed up to run a course on NYSDEC ATV trails in West Almond, NY with the added benefit of enjoying all 4 seasons of weather during the course of the race as Mother Nature refused to make up her mind.

More than the distance, the mud was a challenge and runners traversed soggy ruts created over the years by ATV use and Horseback riding. At times the mud was shin deep and on many of the hills runners felt as if it was two steps forward one step back.

“After thousands of miles run and seven ultras, this was the only time I had to stop and find my shoes. Five times over, because mud. ” Said Michael Valone, 35, of Greece, NY.

Mike Valone works his way through the trails
Mike Valone works his way through the trails

#TrailsRoc, a Rochester, NY based running company was well represented in the event with both the male and female champions being board members. Mike Mertsock and Sheila Eagan took home their respective titles.

“I anticipated I would come out and run the course in 5 hours or so” Said Mertsock when discussing the mud. With a Personal Record (PR) oF 4:46 for the 50k distance his winning time of 6 hours and 15 minutes shows just how much an impact the mud had on runners.

Overall winner Mike Mertsock touching the PP
Overall winner Mike Mertsock touching the PP

Sheila Eagan the female winner said “I had considered dropping a few times, at mile 11 then at mile 22.” Instead of quitting she put her head down and went back out into the mud.

“The only thing keeping me moving relatively quickly was knowing I was in the lead for women, but not knowing where anyone else was behind me.  I tried to really focus on hiking as quickly as I could, which wasn’t particularly fast with the mud and my hamstrings begging for mercy.”

Female champion, Sheila Eagan with 1st overall female prize
Female champion, Sheila Eagan with 1st overall female prize

For his first foray into Race Directing, Bailey was praised by runners and support crew alike. “He even had hand-made finisher medals for runners  as they crossed the line” Said John Strossman who was there supporting runners all day.

With such a successful first event, there was much talk of how the event would be handled next year and Bailey said he was confident he would put the event on again and both champions hoping to be back to defend titles in whatever weather mother nature throws their way.

 

 

 

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