Race Update Number 1 – Sent April 30, 2013
Welcome to the 35th annual Strolling Jim ™ 40 Mile Run!
This is the first Race Update, and this update will be posted on the race website at www.sj40mile.com, under the ‘Update’ tab at the top of the home page, so you can always find it there if you delete this e-mail .
I’ll be traveling all day tomorrow (Wednesday May 1) and will be working on race prep all day Thursday and Friday, and so I may be delayed in replying to e-mail. The best way to reach me will be by calling my cell phone at 772-349-1704, or better yet by texting me at that number. Please identify yourself – it helps when I’m responding back to you . If you get voice mail, leave a message and I’ll return your call as soon as I can.
The following is in no particular order – but it’s all important, so please take the time to read all the way to the bottom. I’m verbose, so you’ll just have to deal with it .
If this is your first ultra, please be aware that this is NOT your typical marathon or half-marathon, where your every whim and desire are catered to by a vast staff of volunteers
assigned expressly to you. Ultras are all about personal responsibility as well as embracing the minimalist philosophy where less is more. If you’ve got a complaint about the event, please bring it to me but don’t expect much in the way of any response other than a heartfelt ‘I’m sorry’. ‘I’m sorry you got lost on the course’… ‘I’m sorry you missed your drop bag.’… ‘I’m sorry I didn’t have free-range organic fair-trade no-kill vegan Oreo cookies doublestuffed with dark chocolate filling for you’. You get the idea.
Having said that, here’s some stuff you should know.
Pre-race packet pickup will take place in the field located between the Walking Horse Hotel and the Town of Wartrace – if you get anywhere close to the area, it’ll be really hard to miss. There will be three popup tents set up as well as a couple of tables along with race supplies. Packet pickup will be held from 4:00 PM until 7:30 PM on Friday night, and then again on Saturday morning from 5:30 AM until 6:45 AM.
There’s not much of a packet to pick up – you’ll get a race bib, a computer timing chip, a t-shirt, a commemorative logoed duffle bag, and a cool race booklet. Safety pins will be provided if you need them for your race bib. If you need more swag, you’ll need to pick another race to run .
There will be NO pre-race pasta dinner this year! It became simply too costly to provide the meal for the relatively small percentage of entrants who attended. Instead, you’ll be receiving a commemorative logoed duffle bag in honor of 35 years of running The Jim. This way, everyone gets the benefit of the money spent .
If you’re looking for a place to eat on Friday night, the Circle 9 Café located in the town square of Wartrace will be open and will be serving meals geared to runners. Remember that this is the old-time south, so you’re probably going to have choices from all the major food groups, such as fat, grease, sugar, and meat . Shelbyville also has lots of restaurants to choose from.
This is a computer chip-timed race, so you’ll receive a timing chip at race check-in. Please wear your timing chip around either ankle using the Velcro ankle strap
provided. The strap must be worn around either ankle – if it’s located any higher off the ground than your knee, it will not be read at the finish line. Please do not disassemble the chip and the strap – it’s designed to be easy to put on and to remove, and to insure that your timing chip is in the best possible position to maximize the ‘readability’ of the timing chip by the finish line timing mat.
The timing chips are NOT disposable – we’d like them back once you finish the race ! There will be a large plastic bin located at the end of the finish line exit chute, and you just need to drop your timing chip into the bin as you exit the chute. Then you’re free to enjoy the fruits of your running labor!
Please wear your race bib number somewhere on the front of your person, so that everyone on the course will know that you’re part of the race.
Gary Cantrell, the race founder, will give a course tour beginning about 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon. It’s worth your time if you can make it. The course tour takes about 90 minutes to two hours.
The race will start promptly at 7:00 AM Central Daylight Time, in the town square across the railroad tracks from the historic Walking Horse Hotel. Make sure you’re on the correct side of the tracks when the race starts ! If you need directions, use the following address in any mapping or GPS program:
101 Spring Street Wartrace TN 37183
That’s the address of the Walking Horse Hotel, and is as close as you need to get to be in the right place .
There’s a small white building in the town square that says something like ‘Home of the Tennessee Walking Horse’ and the starting line will be clearly marked on the ground next to this building in red and white paint. Look closely at the way the starting line is marked, because that’s the way the rest of the course markings will look. The course markings are all painted on the road, so you’ll need to look down at the ground to see them.
There will be no flashing directional signs, no volunteers pointing the way, no orange cones – just the paint. Follow it and you won’t get lost. The course is well-marked enough that even ultrarunners who get lost on other courses have had no trouble
here. If you get off course, you’ll need to retrace your steps back to where you left the course and continue on from there. Just count the extra as bonus miles.
The course is 41.2 miles long, and there are markings every 5 miles as well as at the half-marathon, the marathon, and the 50K point. There’s also a 1,000-mile mark for those finishing their 25th Jim, and there are some other inspirational markings along
the way. Please enjoy them!
The course is all roads, and there’s not much traffic except all the support vehicles for the other runners, so you’re allowed to have a pacer or bicyclist go along with
you. Please use common sense and run or ride properly on the road, and please do not hinder the other runners. Please tell your crew or support vehicle to drive safely and obey the speed limits – the local law enforcement officers are always on the lookout for tourists to enhance the area’s revenue . We’ll have some driving directions for crew to take along with them.
There is one busy road crossing (you’ll go both out and back across the road) and traffic control will be provided. Please follow any directions the traffic personnel give you.
The course is flat with gently rolling hills and showcases the best scenery that middle Tennessee offers, so make sure to look around occasionally!
As you run, be aware that the roads are not closed to traffic. Use of headphones is strongly discouraged, but if you absolutely must use them, please use just one earbud or keep the volume low enough so that you can hear what’s going on around you. Traffic is not runner-friendly, and the area dogs are very territorial.
The finish line will be directly in front of the Walking Horse Hotel, and you’ll get a nice finisher’s medal when you cross the line. The post-race barbeque dinner will be
across the street under the tents, and it will consist of chicken, beans, cole slaw, sweet tea, and some cans of soda on ice. If you’d like something else, please bring it along – and that includes any adult beverages you wish to consume. Please don’t get so drunk that you embarrass yourself or us.
There is NO early start option – it causes way too many problems with race logistics. You simply cannot be too slow for me – I’ll be at the finish line until the last person finishes, even if it’s Sunday afternoon . Seriously, although there is no race cutoff, please use common sense if there’s any issue about your ability to finish in an upright and locked position. If you need to drop out, please report to the nearest aid station and someone will eventually come get you. You may also call me on my cell phone which is 772-349-1704 and I’ll eventually get someone to come get you. If you do decide to drop out, please be kind enough to tell me and to return my timing chip – they’re not disposable.
There will be water on the course, but there will be NO CUPS on the course. You MUST bring a handheld water bottle with you if you wish to drink while you’re running.
In the interest of good hygiene, you may not drink directly out of the one-gallon water jugs placed every two or three miles alongside the road. There will be at least 15 water stops, and probably more. There will be plenty of water at each stop, but it will be ambient temperature (no ice).
There will be four aid stations on the course, located at 13, 21, 28 and 35 miles. There will be minimal aid – cookies, pretzels, probably some sandwiches, maybe some candy -
so please take only what you need and leave the rest for the other runners. There will be Succeed salt capsules at both the 21-mile and the 28-mile aid stations, and if it gets hot, please remember to replenish your salt losses. You’re encouraged to bring whatever you think you’ll need – the best way to insure that you have what you want during the race is to bring it yourself .
Each of these locations will also be a drop bag site, so you can have up to three drop bags if you wish. The 13-mile and 35-mile drop bags will be the same bags – they’ll be moved around the corner from the 13-mile to the 35-mile mark after you pass by.
There will be large plastic bins located at packet pickup that will be marked as follows – 13/35, 21, and 28. Just drop your bag into the proper container, and make sure your bag has some identifying mark on it. We always make a good donation to
Goodwill with all the unclaimed and unmarked drop bag stuff. You should only put stuff into your drop bags that you can live without – there’s no telling when your bag will arrive back at the finish line. It’s highly likely that your drop bag will be on the front porch of the hotel on Sunday morning, but it may not arrive until then.
If you finish in under 5 hours, you’ll receive a beautiful gold award t-shirt as well as your finisher’s medal. Under 6 hours will get you a blue shirt, under 7 hours a red shirt. If I owe you a shirt from a previous year, please see me and I’ll get that one for you as well . I’ll be in the brown popup timing tent at the finish line.
It looks as if the weather will be rainy and cool this Saturday. The race will start rain or shine, and remember that the weather can change quickly. If the sun comes out, you’ll wish you had thought about applying sunscreen, so think about it even if it’s cloudy. Please run within your ability – there’s enough roadkill on the Tennessee roads as it is – please don’t add to it !
If you’re still looking for hotel accommodations, your best bet is to look in the town of Shelbyville, about 20 minutes’ drive from the race. There are plenty of options, and
lots of restaurants, and there’s a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter located on Highway 231 North.
There’s a large field out back of the Walking Horse Hotel, and hotel proprietor Joe Peters has graciously offered the field to anyone who wishes to camp out the night before or after the race, so feel free to bring a tent and pitch it out on the northwest side of the hotel. You’re also free to sleep in your car the night before the race. Just don’t pee on the asphalt in the night .
Parking for the race will be in the large parking lot located on the north side of the hotel, and then in the field out back of the lot, and there may also be some space in the field
next to the popup tents. Please do not park in all the town parking spots – there should be plenty of options without clogging up the small downtown shopping area.
If for some reason you cannot run this year, you can defer your entry into next year’s race. Just let me know at some point if you want to take advantage of this option.
The information in this e-mail will also be posted on the race website under ‘Race Updates’, so you can reference it there. Results will be posted on the race website, they will be posted throughout the day at the race, you’ll get a post-race results e-mail, and they’ll be submitted to Ultrarunning magazine.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten to tell you something. Rest assured that I’ll probably send another message out . Please call or e-mail me if you have questions.
I hope you’re looking forward to running this weekend! I’m looking forward to seeing you in Wartrace this Saturday morning!