Barefoot Rick's Patriots' Run Report -
A Nine Hour and 11 Minute Remembrance Run - September 11, 2006

I thought I was a distance runner before 9/11/06. Possibly I'm a little closer to that characterization since that day -- the day of the 9 hour and 11 minute Patriots' Run on that Monday, the fifth anniversary of that horrific day when so many died. Along with the tragedy was the incredible heroism of that day in 2001 and the perseverance and the endurance of the first responders and rescuers in NYC, DC, and PA. How fitting, that we as runners, had the opportunity to put forth our puny efforts, and endure possibly in a small measure as those did on that fateful day.

The Patriot's Run started at noon on Monday 9/11 in Olathe Kansas. There were contingents of Marines and Army at the run which added to our "reasons to run" as we thanked them for their service to our country. A couple of minutes before noon, I had the privilege to sing the National Anthem. It was a humbling honor that I will never forget.


Hanging out before the Patriots' Run


BJ the DJ and Barefoot Rick Chatting Before the Race

We started at noon. The course was a 3/4 mile asphalt bike path around Two Trails Park in Olathe. This was unlike any run that I had done before. I have never ran a timed run before, but I knew with 9 hours and 11 minutes I could very well make this an ultra-marathon (def; an "ultra" is anything beyond the marathon distance of 26.2 miles [for my non-running friends]). Around and around I went. After approximately 16.5 miles I stopped for the first time and took about a 10 minute break. As others continued walking when they weren't running, I chose to stop and rest on my breaks and not walk. In retrospect, I'm sure I could have covered more ground by doing the run/walk regimen, but I really just wanted to record running miles. After my initial stop, I ended up stopping every 2 to 3 miles for a food and liquid break.


The first 20 or so Miles!
 

Throughout the day, I got to run with several folks including Rusty Collins and BJ the DJ. It was great chatting at various times just to get my mind off the lap repetition. Running a 3/4 loop after a while really is a mind game. Add to the mix that a runner knows he or she has 9 hours and 11 minutes to finish and there is real temptation to not drive as hard. One had to continually keep oneself continually going no matter how they were feeling in their mind and body (not unlike, I'm sure how the rescuers behaved on that somber day).


The Last 20 or so Miles (Fresh Shirt)!

At about loop 48 or 49 (approximately 35 miles), I was tightening up BAD! Tony Drew, the RD, came over to where I was sprawled out on the grass and told me that he had a Chiropractor up at the pavilion that was working on folks. I gladly accepted. The Doc got my legs massaged and feeling much better. I got up and was able to finish a few more laps (55 laps total) which translated into 40.10 miles. I was thrilled! This was the farthest I had ever ran in my life, barefoot or not! My previous longest was 28 miles back in '01 in shoes!

Not only was this a personal best for me, but it also was good enough for 2nd Male Overall in the event and 3rd Place Overall (a woman from West Virginia took first place with 68 laps!). Kudos to all who had a hand in putting this phenomenal event together, especially Race Director Tony Drew.


Thanking Our Troops After the Race!


2nd Place Men Overall Award!

Was it worth the pain and the fatigue I felt after the race? You bet! All I could keep thinking of throughout the race was how so many had made the ultimate sacrifice for me to be able to be out there running, barefoot no less. I thought of my son Nathan who is currently in National Guard basic training in Ft. Jackson, SC and how proud I am of him! It was a day of reflection for me and a day of personal sacrifice. Not near, however, compared with all the sacrifices of those who have gone before to allow me to live in blessed freedom!

Special Thanks to Photographer Dick Ross at www.seekcrun.com

Results and More Pics!

Factoids:
Ran 40.1 Miles
(NOTE: I chose to be a RUNNER this day, and not walk any of the course!
16.5 miles continuous running with 10 to 20 minute breaks each additional 2 to 3 miles of running thereafter)

Average Pace of 6:33:44 - 9:44
Average Pace of 9 hours 11 minutes - 13:44 Pace
(A New Distance PR and My First Ultra Marathon Distance!)
2nd Place Men Overall
3rd Place Overall

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