Race Reports , Comments, and So On
Earl Blewett Running Bear TheTroubadour

Dear Runner Folk,

Mississippi 50 2017 Race Report by Earl Blewett

I've put together a Mississippi 50 page with a photo gallery, topo map, and
GPS traces.

I've wanted to do the Mississippi 50 for a long time, since the mid-1990's.
I was down in Houston at the Sunmart Texas Trails Endurance Run, then the
biggest ultra in the southwest, and a guy tried to talk me into doing this
new 50 miler in Mississippi. There weren't many ultras around in those days.
I'd driven seven hours from Stillwater, OK, to be at this one. So I saved
the entry and planned on doing it but never did. Fast forward twenty plus
years and this is the race my running partner wants to do as his first
ultramarathon. We'd talked about it for a year. He was going to turn 50 in
March so the Mississippi 50 was a perfect choice. Long story short, he's
home sick and injured and I'm here doing the race by myself. But I'm glad I

I put together a bunch of CD's to listen to on the drive down. It's ten
hours each way. So I had some regional music, Pirates of the Mississippi,
North Mississippi AllStars for Mississippi and for the jog across Louisiana,
Jace Everett's album, Old, New, Borrowed Blues. One of the cuts on the album
is the theme song for Trueblood and will always mean Bon Temps, LA to me. On
the way back up I put Best of Johnny Cash so I could hear "Jackson" as I
headed into Jackson, MS.

This is nice country to drive down. I first saw small town America driving
to ultramarathons. I was living in Stillwater, OK and driving to races in
Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. I only really saw scenery on these trips because
I never went out of town (broke) and when I returned to Canada I went on the
Interstate. This trip is Interstate down to Pine Bluff, AR then a scenic
byway down through southeast Arkansas, Evening Shade Country. You continue
on another Scenic Byway in northeastern Louisiana, down to I-20, across the
Mississippi at Vicksburg. South of Jackson, MS you are on US 84 and US 49
and can see some interesting houses and barns down to Laurel, MS. Saw my
second roadkill feral pig in MS on the way back. Saw my first in LA, last

I got up at 3:30 am because I'd heard at the banquet that parking filled up
and I didn't want to be a mile from the start-finish area. Driving in the
dark through backwoods to the start is one of my least favourite things
about ultramarathons. Fortunately I'd put a track leading from the
interstate highway to the start onto my handheld GPS. It was useful. The
race directions to the start on the website are good though.

The race started at pre-dawn and was kind of neat. Really tall pine trees in
DeSoto National Forest. I ran with a lot different people on the first loop.
There's a big crowd at the start, 50 km and 50 milers start together. I
didn't drink much. I'd had 1 liter of Gatorade before the race started and
had one quick pee early in the loop. I didn't refill at the first AS but did
at the second station. It was still cool. It was rolling good running
course. Very dry, it's usually a mudfest. You could step over the water

I really liked this course design. You run 12.5 mile trail three times then
do two loops of a 6.2 mile trail. I did the Sunmart Texas Trail Endurance
Runmany times, which was four repeats of a 12.5 mile loop. I'd do the third
loop hating it the whole time, wanting to get to the fourth loop so I could
go past a place and say that's the last time I'll see that. At Mississippi
50 the third loop is the last time I'm going by here. It made the third loop
a lot easier. Then the first time you do the small loop you are seeing it
new. The next time you can say goodbye to each thing as it's the last time
you see it.

I started the race out pretty worried about my knees but ran pretty fast in
the first lap. It was around 36-38 F. Cold enough that the fire felt good
pre-race but once you were running, shorts and a singlet were plenty of
clothing. The terrain in the first 12.5 miles, the orange or big loop, is
rolling and some of the downhills banged the knees more than I would have
liked. It wasn't until 2 - 3 miles int on the second lap, around mile 13-14
overall, and after some up and down that the right knee got really sore.
About the kneecap was really painful and I was sure I was going to have to
drop down to the 50 km. I started walking and walked 5-10 minutes. It got
better. I planned to run until it got sore then walk until it was better and
repeat. I figured the run periods would get shorter and shorter. I had tons
of time to do the 50 km. Like many of my plans it failed. The knee ended up
being fine. I ran another 20 miles before I had problems with it again in
the last 12 miles of the race. Then if I tried to run fast, and I had the
legs and energy to do it, both knees started to hurt after 25 - 30 feet. So
I went back to shuffling, that didn't hurt but was 16 -17 minutes per mile.
I'm very happy I did get to finish the 50 mile. I didn't think I'd finish
when I started so it's a big win.

I went out a bit fast on the first loop. Not too fast, but I knew it was
going to get warm. I haven't had any hot weather training yet up in Tulsa
and the forecast was going to get high 60's or low 70's F with no clouds. So
I thought I'll run in the cool. I ran with people for the first two laps. I
was passing people and getting passed on the second lap but they seemed to
be mostly 50 km people.

I had a longer stop after the third lap and had more soup, Gatorade and a
bit of ensure. I was looking forward to seeing the small loop for the first
time. Unfortunately there'd been a controlled burn by the forest service
that covered about 4 miles of the small loop. It smelled and I actually had
asthma trouble. I had to take a Ventolin puff which I rarely do. It's only 2
miles to the first aid station, manned by Louisiana Ultrarunners (LUR). The
first two miles were nice, no burn but most of the rest are burned.

I started the last lap full of food and energy. It had taken me 10 minutes
to get to the trail junction earlier and now took 13-14 but I think I was
faster. I did this loop faster than the one before I got passed more. People
were running fast because it was the last six miles. I could run, the legs
were there but the knees hurt too much. I really didn't care about my time
so kept the shuffle going. I didn't walk much, just did the shuffle that is
only a bit faster than walking but doesn't hurt the knees so much. I did
catch up to two older gentlemen, who I'd talked to after the dinner the
night before. I didn't know it but one was Harry Strohm II. He was doing the
50 km and the other fellow had done the 20 km and had come out to run the
small loop with his friend. They were the ones who told me to come early for
a decent parking spot. Rich Limacher was there as well in the 50 km.

I finished. I was happy. I got my buckle and they gave me some more good
stuff, a singlet. I got a lot of good swag at this race. I got a shirt, a
singlet, a buff, a buckle a medal and a $5 coffee mug. I was 10:41:07 25th
of 52 starters. There were 32 finishers and 20 people dropped down to the 50
km or dropped out. It was definitely a good run. I'd do it again but it is a
long drive. The course was dry this year and the weather good. Although it
was sunny there was a 10 mph wind and it was wonderful. I don't think it got
over 70 F. I ran with dry feet. It is a very runnable course, not many roots
and very much like the trails in Huntsville State Park in Texas. The pine
needles on the sand were very nice. So I really did enjoy the course.

Happy trails,



The title of the following massive rhetorical abomination, written by The Abominable Snowbird himself, is:


By Yours Troubly

And yes, a plural subject CAN take a singular verb IF the plurality of the subject is considered a singular entity. So, yeah. My "ultras" is, like, my whole freakin' adult running life...

…which is now-I hasten to add (up the years)-old enough to drink. Meaning: hey, I've now run The Mississlippery 50-50-20-30-80-10-5-1/2 Miles, and Kilometers, TWENTY-ONE YEARS IN A ROW.

So, yes please. My track record would now like to be served? Anything with liquor and hard knocks in it will be fine.

And take it easy on the ICE!!! Which is, after all, (i.e., NO ICE) the very reason why I come down to Ol' Miss every year in the first place.

Elsewhere this fine day, Mr. Earl "TriSloth" Blewett posted a very fine tribute and race report dedicated to this whole notion of running boucou miles in the MUD and the MONSOONS (usually) of Mississippi anyway. Very nice!

[Jokingly, I cannot resist asking the question that, whenever a guy like Earl really does "blow it" and says so, do you suppose everybody listening might say: "It's OK. We got it. You already gave us your name!"]

After all, didn't we have "I, Claudius"?

So, it really isn't much of a stretch to say: "I BLEWETT!!!"

And I? Me?

I "Limericked" it.

There once was a bunch of races called "ultras"
Whose distances, you might think, would insult ya's
But it's not what you think
Run 21 and you'll drink
And your sex times can improve with Kama Sutras!

[Not at all sure that's ready for Prime Time-OR if it's "family friendly"-BUT… how many other words do you know that rhyme with "ultras"?]

[And probably the whole premise is wrong to begin with. I'll bet you can buy a copy of The Kama Sutra BEFORE reaching the age of 21. Ya think?]

So yeah, anyhoo… I did indeed have yet another GRATE TIME (my race times, just as my sex times, are probably starting to grate on ya, huh?) slogging along, through the MUD (only occasionally this year!) in my heart and with a SONG under my feet.

It's like the old (just now invented) saying: "Life isn't about waiting out the monsoon; it's learning how to finish a damn footrace in Mississlippery!" Yo, and it's now a "life lesson" that I STILL haven't learned all throughout my one score and a twentieth.

And taking a cue from "I, Blewett," here IS music you'll need in order to do this swampy bayou-specific post-Mardi Gras race in the deepest woods of the Deep South:


Starting with C. J. Chenier...


…and boogieing on down from there.

If you have this music playing inside your head (or ear buds, as the kids today all swear by) you'll have no trouble having fun and "digging" the wonders and signs:






And my all-time favorite:


All these, by the way, are posted in advance of Bubba's Trucks Stop, which is your very first aid station.

And here (bottom pic on the page, on the left, I'm guessing) is Bubba himself:


Bubba is MY MAN!!! He's the guy that actually recognized me and exclaimed: "Number Twenty-One!!!"

And so is Earl! He DIDN'T "blow it." He actually mentions me in his post. (Of which I'm taking the liberty of re-posting below, just so's ya won't miss it.)

( 00 )

So finally, after all these years, all those thrills and chills (yes, I can remember FREEZING in Mississippi), AND ALL THAT MUD, what can I say? How can I conclude this, my own, report with anything at all meaningful that you will pay attention to, remember, and will change your life?

How about this:

THIS WHOLE THING is now dedicated to the memory of Dr. Carl Touchstone, who befriended me in "the early days." I'd like to mention several things here that did, in fact, change MY life:

1) Carl STILL-to-date was the ONLY race director ever to call me long-distance afterwards and ask me (ME!) what I thought of his race, and

2) Carl's wife at the time, Wanda, (who STILL, by the way, comes back every year to volunteer, and she STILL remembers me, and STILL gives me hugs) waited until I finished my 50-miler there and then (March 2, 1996) to present me (ME!) with a birthday cake. And everyone there at the finish line sang "Happy Birthday." And she then sliced me the biggest piece.


And so… those two things alone have changed my entire life for the better.

"Oh yeah?" you ask.

"Oh yes," I answer.

"And just how has that stuff changed your life?"

"Because, hey, for one thing: I've come back to Mississippi every single year since, for 21 straight! AND-you betchur sweet bippie-I FULLY INTEND TO return for 21 more."

And then some.

[Did I tell you that my own personal physician has "cleared me" for a very long life? All Systems GO, baby. I'm gonna live longer than Mississippi!!! ;-]

Oh, and did y'all know that THIS YEAR is Mississippi's bicentennial of statehood? Yup. 1817 - 2017. And just never-you-mind those "pesky years" in the middle. And, well, I probably won't move there [and become, in the words of Harry Strohm: "A DAMN Yankee" (one who won't leave)] but…

…in 1976 I was living in Washington, DC. Anybody old enough to remember our very country's bicentennial???

Well, in the words of yours troubly, at the time I called it "The Buy-Five-and-Ten-Cent-Tennial." Hopefully MS won't be so profiteering.

In fact, y'all know what? I've gotten SO MUCH FREE STUFF over the years of running "Carl's Race" that…


…let's just say I now have to rent Storage Space.

Have a nice 60-something year, y'all!!!

Yours troubly,

Rich Limericker
("your mince-wording mid-evil song-and-dance-man for well over 800 years-
now into Zydeco!")

Yankee Folly of the Day:
Please (and I asked Bubba himself, and HE didn't know) WHAT IN THE HECK IS PEE'S CORNBREAD???

PS: Here's my Ultras talkin': "I'll drink to that-now that I'm legal-and worry about what goes into that cornbread later!"


Bears do it in the woods. Even when it's too cold, or too hot, and they could care less if it's too wet.

Hope everyone had a great pre-race supper and race day. The temp was a little cool at the start but soon turned into a perfect day for a nice run in the woods.

Once again we had a great group of runners, plus Rich Limacher come to our run. We had a good crowd despite a lot of new races competeting with ours this year.

Many, many thanks to everyone who registered, ran, watched, or commented on the race. Trail runners have to be the nicest people on the planet. And MS50 trail runners are the best of all. Hope to see you all again next year.