|Across the Years
Across the Years 12-Hour Night Run,
Laura Nagy, 2003 ATY Co-Race Director
What kind of run starts at 7:00 PM in the countryside outside of Litchfield Park, Arizona, and goes all night? Well, it was a test run to evaluate the course and facilities at Nardini Manor, the new location for the 72/48/24-hour Across the Years run held annually over New Year's Eve. The date of the trial run was set so that the race committee would have enough time to make critical decisions and changes before the "real" event in December. So, July was it. We wanted to test out the lighting on the course, so we made it a night run which also avoided the heat of the day. We chose 12 hours, because let's face it, we're ultrarunners and we like to run, no, love to run. There were some runners who have 100-milers coming up and running through the night is always tough, so this was a good training run for them. A few of the runners with big events coming up are Anthony "Woofie" Humpage and John Malick, Bloody Basin; Debbie Leftwich and me, Vermont; Jody Chase, Angeles Crest; Alene Nitzky and Lynn Newton, Javelina.
A total of 34 runners showed up for this no-fee, no-tee, very little aid event. We had Zing, an electrolyte drink, provided by one of our sponsors, Mercury sports drink, and water. About twelve runners were running throughout the night. The rest showed up to run a few hours at the beginning to help us evaluate any congestion problems with the track. We had walkers, road racers and ultrarunners all moving around the track, having a fun time. Rodger Wrublik, Nardini Manor owner, had just finished the track that day and the dust was still settling as we got underway at 7:07 PM. Yes, first mental note, start on time. It's not like there were people warming up with strides before the event, but knowing that you have to run to 7:07 AM versus 7:00 AM can really bring an ultrarunner down. Some ultrarunners were taking advantage of it near the end, trying to get in as many laps as possible before the final buzzer.
Gary Culver ran the most mileage he has ever run at one time, covering 57.6 miles in 12 hours. Way to go Gary! Jody Chase was very strong and consistent running 56.1, an excellent training night for her. All the mileage was unofficial, as there was no official timing, so the results are from the runners who kept track of their own mileage. There were also no awards, so it was all for fun and to collect information for the real event in December.
Among the many unique sights and sounds of the event were frogs, coyotes, donkeys, birds, roosters and ducks. The shady grounds, dirt track and large event tent are a few things that attracted the runners to come out and see what kind of event could happen here in December.
After going over the comments and suggestions, standing on a 24-foot lift to watch the running traffic (that was my favorite part), spending the night on the grounds, running and talking with everyone out there, Alene Nitzky and I (co-directors of the event) decided that the items we need to fix and improve before the event in December will not keep us from having the event at Nardini Manor. There were so many positive comments on the facilities, dirt track, and ambiance of the new location, that we feel we have the opportunity to put on a really good event at Nardini Manor and continue the Across the Years tradition. It won't be exactly the same as the track, but that can be a good thing too. Having a 6000-square-foot heated tent and fully equipped kitchen area will be a huge benefit for a three-day event. We also have a few sponsors that will help make the event successful. Dad's Catering will be providing a meal, Shamrock Farms will be sponsoring the awards banquet, Zing will be providing giveaways and Road ID, Claritin and Aquaphor will be providing coupons, samples and giveaways. We are still working on getting more sponsors and have a race committee member with a talent for signing them on. We have a strong group of nine dedicated race committee members who are excited about this event and the new location. Even our key aid station worker, Sinead, came out to practice staying up all night. She has worked the aid station during the night at Across the Years for the past few years. What enthusiasm! Anything can happen on race day(s), but we've got a lot of positive energy flowing and feel like we've got a good understanding of what needs to be done before December.
Here are the unofficial results, listed as the number of laps and approximate miles completed on an uncertified 0.3-mile loop. We will be getting the course certified before the main event in December. Some chose not to keep track or lost track of their laps, but I wanted to list everyone who showed up to help us evaluate the new location. Thanks to everyone who came and helped with the run.