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YELLOW SPRING, W.Va., May 19, 2012 — One wasn’t trying to win. One was. Both approaches suited their respective characters just fine on Saturday at the Capon Valley 50K trail race in southeastern Hampshire County, West Virginia.
In his first-ever ultra marathon, 29-year-old Andrew Allstadt, of neighboring Boyce, Va., paced himself and left the field behind over the final 26 miles to stop the clock in 3 hours, 52 minutes and 2.4 seconds. <Note: Verifying if this is a course record.>
“I was running with people for about five miles or so,” said Allstadt, who primarily races on the roads. “Up a big hill, I kind of lost them.”
Allstadt’s early pace was deliberate. His later, faster pace was just as planned. The former University of Albany (N.Y.) cross country star said he spent a few years trying to qualify for the men’s Olympic Marathon Trials “but I didn’t quite get it.”
“I came trying to win,” he said. “I didn’t really have a time expectation. I tried to start out easy. Mostly I’d run hard on the parts where there was good footing and take it easy on the technical stuff.”
Now that ultras are a part of his routine, Allstadt said he’s like to do a 100-miler some day. Among the possibilities of his race of choice is the legendary Leadville Trail 100.
Meg Harnett, meanwhile, wasn’t planning on winning. The 25-year-old from Baltimore, Md., simply wanted to log some miles in the woods. Her time of 4:30:11 just happened to put her atop the women’s field — and third overall among 198 official finishers.
Harnett said she only transitioned to the ultra world in December 2011. So far, she’s doing pretty well. Her resume includes a Labor of Labor 50-mile win — outright, male or female — on April 21 in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I just want to know how far I can go,” said Harnett. “I want to be able to see things like this trail (and) go to beautiful places.”
Harnett insisted she’s not worried about any build-up of pressure now that she’ll be considered a contender in any race she enters. Instead, she plans on running her race.
“I don’t actually go out to win,” said the former cross country All-American from Roanoke (Va.) College. “I just go to do my best and enjoy the trails. Some days are better than others. People can put expectations (on me) if they want. Mine are just to have fun.”
Frank Lum, 47, of Boonsboro, Md., won the men’s masters (40-and-over) crown in 4:38:45.7. He placed eighth overall. Right behind Lum was Ragan Petrie, 46, of Arlington, Va. Petrie won the women’s masters title in 4:39:30.2.
Timing was provided by the Potomac Highlands Distance Club. Visit http://PhDispatch.com for complete results.