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
to do the Mississippi 50 for a long time, since the
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
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
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
North Mississippi AllStars for
Mississippi and for the jog across Louisiana,
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"
headed into Jackson, MS.
This is nice
country to drive down. I first saw small town America
to ultramarathons. I was living in
Stillwater, OK and driving to races in
Oklahoma and Kansas. I only really saw scenery on these
I never went out of town (broke) and
when I returned to Canada I went on the
This trip is Interstate down to Pine Bluff, AR then a
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
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
ultramarathons. Fortunately I'd put a track leading from
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
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
drink much. I'd had 1 liter of Gatorade before the race
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
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
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
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
terrain in the first 12.5 miles, the orange or big loop,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Unfortunately there'd been a controlled burn by the
that covered about 4 miles of the
small loop. It smelled and I actually had
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
miles were nice, no burn but most of the rest are
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
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
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
parking spot. Rich Limacher was there as well in the 50
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
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
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
needles on the sand were very nice. So I really
did enjoy the course.
The title of the following massive rhetorical
abomination, written by The Abominable Snowbird
MY ULTRAS IS NOW OLD
ENOUGH TO DRINK
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...
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!"]
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
And your sex times can improve with Kama
[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
[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
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.
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
ALMOST THERE, SERIOUSLY
MARLBORO REDS AND WATER JUST
COORS LITE AND PORK RINDS. BUY ONE -
GET ONE FREE
BEWARE OF THE KING - ELVIS RUNS
And my all-time favorite:
RINDS, PEE'S CORNBREAD, AND PECAN PIE (BONUS: POSSUM
ON THE 1/2 SHELL)
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
is MY MAN!!! He's the guy that actually recognized
me and exclaimed: "Number Twenty-One!!!"
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
( 00 )
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:
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:
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
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.
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
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!!!
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!"
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
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.