What a difference a year or two makes

January 14, 2007

I first ran the Bridle Trails 50K in January of 2005. It was only my second ultramarathon, so my approach was somewhat casual, and communication between myself and my crew (my wife) was suboptimal. After the first of six five-mile laps, I lost some time removing my wind pants while my wife scolded me for having worn this extra layer over my shorts. After the second lap, I expected her to hand me a flashlight (the race starts at 3 PM), but she was nowhere to be seen, having left with race director Scott McCoubrey to hang glowsticks along the course. Mishaps aside, I ran the first three laps while chatting with Brian Morrison and Jim Kerby, who gave us periodic updates on the Seahawks game to which he was listening. I eventually outdueled Brian, 3:40:24 to 3:41:07, with both of us eclipsing William Emerson’s course record (3:44:28) from the previous year.

Last year, I skipped Bridle Trails because I was preparing for a road 100K and didn’t want to risk injuring myself while trying to run fast in the dark. Phil Kochik won in 3:50:58, an amazing time considering the horribly rainy and muddy conditions that afternoon.

This year, I decided to run once it became clear that both the course conditions and my left Achilles tendon would allow me to take a shot at my course record. The trail wasn’t muddy at all; in fact, due to the cold temperatures this week, it was frozen solid, which wasn’t a problem except for a few patches of ice here and there. And the thin layer of snow on the ground reflected light remarkably well, improving the visibility quite a bit.

My preparation and attitude were also conducive to running fast. For starters, I wore “Runderwear” under my shorts this time and carried a flashlight with me from the beginning. My overall plan was to run a Dan Salazar first half and a Greg Crowther second half, meaning that I hoped to post some fast splits in the daylight and then finish strongly and steadily.

I followed the 50K relay leader through a 33-minute first lap, then logged splits of 32:00 and 32:30 on my own. Darkness descended during the fourth lap, but I managed to clock another 32:30. At this point, a new record was well in hand, and the main challenge remaining was to see if I could break 3:20. In the end, it was close, but laps of 34:30 and 35:10 brought me to the finish in 3:19:40. It was very satisfying to slice so much time off of the record, and I also snuck under Uli and Trish Steidl’s pairs relay record of 3:19:54, though I doubt I’ll get credit for that even if I argue that I was “paired” with myself.

The next items on my running agenda: (1) give my Achilles a couple days (or more, if necessary) to recover; (2) decide which races to do during the next few months.


  1. Congrats Greg! I am amazed at your consistency and strength…and the way you write about it…like it was no big deal at all! Hope the achilles is doing well. Can't wait to hear about the next race!

  2. Hmmm, something must have gotten you used to being up at night. I wonder who?Congratulations on the big win and bigger course record. Very impressive indeed.

  3. Congratulations!I enjoy how this story is told with simplicity and an as-it-were attitude. Yet you did something very big.

  4. Way to roll!!!!! Congrats!!!!!

  5. Nice job, and ditto what everyone else has said!

  6. Nice goin' son.

  7. Congrats, Doogie. Impressive stuff considering that you were presumably running on your own. Next year I'll come up and you and I can go for the relay record. You can run the first 49.9 K and I'll take care of the finishing kick. 😉

  8. Dang: That's an impressive 50K time run on a road, in broad daylight, let alone on a trail, after dark. I don't know how the trails compare but according tohttp://www.doitsports.com/newresults3/client/14723_21364_2006.htmlthe winning time for the Sunmart 50K in Dec. was 3:37, with over 500 runners competing for the title. That puts things in perspective, IMHO.Congrat's,Balto

  9. Wow.

  10. Greg,Very impressive indeed. You can actually get credit for the mixed team record if you argue that you were paired up with the FEMININE SIDE of yourself. :)And Balto: Bridle Trails 50 is not much more hilly than Sunmart 50, but more technical in some sections, and of course the darkness in the second half makes it even more difficult. The Sunmart winning time this year was pretty weak, given the CR for the 50k there is under 3:10. And Greg's 5:37h at the 50 mile race at Sunmart means (assuming even pace) that he came through the 50k there at about 3:30h, about a mile ahead of the 50k winner.Here's my prediction: Howard Nippert will NOT be the fastest 100k runner in the US in 2007.Uli

  11. Nice work Greg! Amazing stuff!

  12. Uli, that Sunmart 50K course record is really fast. I wonder who holds it???

  13. Wow, awesome run! So great found your blog entry. Congrats on CR at Bridle Trail, that night running does kick some interesting twist into running:)

  14. Nice run Greg!

  15. Following up on Uli's suggestion, I'd like to see the USA put 3 runners under 7 hours at the 2007 World Championships in Winschoten.

  16. Have you thought about running the 100k in Madison – April 7th?

  17. Yes, Jay, I plan to go to the Madison 100K.

  18. I knew there was someone who looped me three times in a row that night!!! Congrats on breaking the CR!

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