The 2011 Tussey Mountainback Relay

On Sunday I ran in the Tussey Mountainback Relay with some friends. Our name was the Flying Ninja Weasel Squad, there were eight of us on the team. The relay is a 50 mile course, full of climbs and descents.

The race topography (courtesy of

I had a light assignment. I ran the seventh leg, which is a 4.9 mile stretch. It is approximately the brown band on the top of the middle mountain near the 30 mile point. I have no idea what my time was, for my watch battery decided to check out right as I prepared to start running (I’ve had that watch for years and the battery decided to expire right when I wanted it most). I passed four people on my leg–and was passed by no one–so that made me happy. There was an elusive runner wearing red who started well before me that I was trying to catch. I managed to get him in my sight in the late stages of the leg, but I could not overtake him (I think I needed about an additional 3 miles to catch him).

It was a good day. In the morning it was cold, there was a frost and the thermometer read 32° F. This did not feel bad while running, but the standing around and waiting at transition zones was chilly.

Ultramarathon runners were racing the full 50 miles as individuals (disturbed individuals?). The ones we saw were mostly moving at a shuffling pace, but the guy who won the ultramarathon flew around the course. Our team ran the race in 7:13:59, which I thought was respectable. The winning ultramarathon runner had a time that was an hour and forty minutes less than that!

My nose missed the finish line and continued running into the evening. From the time I finished running my leg in the early afternoon I dealt with intermittent sneezing for the remainder of the day (I am confident I broke my personal record for sneezes in one day). I have no idea what triggered this.

I really enjoyed the day. It was great to hang out with friends, run, and take in the sights and sounds of race day.


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