The Double Chubb 50k is put on my by my ultrarunning group the SLUGS. It is held just west of St. Louis, MO on the Chubb trail which is a 15 mile out and back with a short but steep climb on the Chinkapin trail to round out the 15.5 miles. This race is a popular one that sold out in 5 days!! It is a fast trail with about 3000 feet of climb. The majority of the climb comes on the front and back end of the course with the middle section hugging around the curves of the Meramec River and giving some flat single track to open it up and run.
With me just coming off of the pavement pounder Mad City 50k last weekend I was not quite sure how everything would hold up. I decided a few days before the race to keep it somewhat conservative and just use the big bulk of running these 2 races to hammer out a solid month of total mileage. I found my buddy Stuart Johnson and asked him his goal time and he said 5 hours. I thought that may have been a bit much, but asked if he minded if I ran with him as long as I could and he was good with it. Then my friend and SLUGs president Lee said Stuart was going for the masters record and that I had to keep him moving and get him in in 5. “Ok,” I thought “now I have a mission for this race” We hit the start line and were off.
Stuart and I ran together the entire time. He led the first out and back up until the last bit. I had discovered over the last few aid stations that he did not mess around at aid stations at all. He got in and out of them fast! I had to drop a few things off and needed to fill both my bottles so I took a lead on him blasting down the Chinkapin trail and tried to build some time so we could get out of the AS together and he still filled up and was out first. I need to work on how I come in and out of AS more. I should be ready with lids off and know what my plan in about a 1/10 of a mile or so out of the AS. We ran this first lap in around 2:23. We were on pace for 5 hours but did not leave a lot of time for error.
I caught back up with Stuart and we walked up the asphalt hill to the trail head and started running again. Stuart made a comment that I needed to “short leash him” through the flats to keep him running. I was feeling good and said that I would take the lead through the flats and try keep the pace up to hit that 5 hour mark. We worked our way down the rocky winding section of the course down the West Tyson bluff then hit the open prairie section. We had several miles of flat running from here so we just kept chatting and tried to keep the conversation up. At one point I said, “let’s run until the hill then we’ll walk up it.” He agreed and we kept going and going and going. When I said it, I thought it was just around the next corner.. not so much, it was like 10 minutes away still. We finally got there and power walked up it. I saw my buddy Jason who had already been out to the turn around aid station, he was cooking and looking great! We hit the aid station and I looked at my watch and told Stuart that we needed 14 minute miles to get 5 hours. That seems pretty do-able but the back section of the course was the hardest part. Yes, we had the long flat section but as soon as we were off of it, it was about 1200 feet of climbing on technical trail and that was going to be slow so we needed to push it in the flats to build some buffer.
We hit the last AS with about 3 miles to go. I put in just enough water to get back to the Finish line and we headed out. We worked our way up the rocky slow moving bluff and just ran when we could even if it was just a few hundred feet. We finally started hearing people talk and knew we were close. Now we just needed to get down the asphalt road and then up and down the Chinkapin section to secure 5 hours. Stuart was having some cramping issues but kept powering through. I looked at my watch and we were at 4:56 something and I was getting nervous, about a sub 5 finish. I told Stuart I was going to power it in and he was good with it. Turns out there was no need for it. The finish line was less than 2 – 1/10th of a miles away. We could have walked it in and made it. I came in with my wife and daughter there yelling for me (you can hear them in the video below) along with the other finishers, like Jason who landed a 4:30 after being 4 weeks off his first 100 miler!!!!! Stuart came in about a minute later breaking the 5 hour mark and setting the new masters record by around 20 minutes.
Afterward we hung around for several more hours cheering in friends and other runners as we chowed on food and drank a few cold ones. It was an unbelievable day on the trail. It’s one of those rare days where everything is right from trail conditions, weather, to picking the right shirt to wear, the aid stations were awesome and the RD’s David and Victoria did another bang up job on this race. Just an awesome day.
Ben Creehan – won the overall with a blazing time of 3:37!!
Christine Crawford – Ran strong as usual and took the women’s overall. I’m not sure on exact time but I’m guessing its was around 4:40 or so.
My friend Howard ran his first ultra in a while on a brand new trail for him and went negative splits to finish under 6 hours.