AT THE RACES: THE JAVELINA JUNDRED, by Lou Joline with Ben Holmes, Nov 2003



A brand new hundred mile run made its debut this fall in Arizona, and the web site declared that this was AN EASY HUNDRED! Alex, Ben and I rushed to sign up along with 174 others, a huge turnout for a first time event, but then how often do you get to run AN EASY HUNDRED!

The Javelina Jundred was scheduled for November 8 and 9 at McDowell Mountain Park a few miles northeast of Phoenix Arizona. The desert setting was beautiful, with the giant saguaro and barrel cactus dotting the landscape. There were no trees to block the view. No trees, no shade, a great place to work on your tan in the eighty degree heat, but those in the know were wearing desert hats with white drapes covering the neck and ears.

Like most hundreds, we started in the dark at 6 AM. Our group consisted of Alex Kovelev, age 32, running his first hundred, Ben Holmes, 46, running his second, and myself running my eighth. We were to run the 15+ mile loop course six and a half times. Back in February Ben and I had run the Rocky Racoon 100 at Huntsville, Texas, and I had stayed up with Ben, running rather fast for almost half the race. I was barely able to finish at Huntsville, so I determined to go out much slower at the Javelina. At the end of the first loop, Alex led me by 22 minutes and Ben led me by 20.

Alex, Ben and I were armed with the latest light emitting diode head lamps and hand held flashlights, but a surprising number ran without a light, relying on the brilliant full moon. Besides the full moon in the sky, there were four awards at the end for the four best full moons! Our Bible belt trio abstained from such shameful exhibitionism.

I am often asked if I stop to sleep on these long runs, and what I eat. People do stop to sleep on six day runs (I have never done one), but on these short runs you keep plugging along, stopping only to put on or take off clothing and to grab some food.

As the day wore on and the miles piled up, we slathered on the sunscreen, stripped off clothes, and guzzled our sports drink. There was lots of food on the aid station tables, but nothing looks good after fifty miles, so we just nibbled a bit here and a bit there and moved on. Unfortunately for Ben, he nibbled on a small turkey sandwich that had sat in the eighty-degree heat for ten hours. Late in the night he was hit with uncontrollable, continuous vomiting. He didn't know how he got off the hill.

"I was delirious and hallucinating, and my heart rate was ultra high. I couldn't move in a straight line". At the main aid station, with 93 miles completed, Ben had to drop. Several others suffered the same illness and were forced to drop as well. Alex relates the following:

"I was changing my socks at the base aid station after the first 61 miles. The stereo at the shelter started playing one of Justin Timberlake's songs and at about the same time one of the runners stumbled to the edge of the camp ground about 12 feet away from me and started making loud heaving noises as if ready to throw up. Life is so strange, I thought. I would never have imagined myself sitting under the evening Arizona sky, listening to this curious mix of Justin Timberlake and vomit inducing sounds, (although some people may think these two go hand in hand together)."

Alex took an amazing 17th place, finishing in 23:33.  Petite Stephanie Ehret, from Colorado, was the overall winner in 17:38, twenty-seven minutes ahead of the first man, Dennis Poolheco from Arizona. Women, in fact, ruled in this race, taking first, third, fifth and sixth places. I kept an eye on the clock and finished in 29:39, twenty-one minutes ahead of the thirty hour cutoff.

After six and a half trips over the course I have a pretty good memory of it, but I also remember the eclipse of the moon that occurred that night, and the amazing sounds of the coyotes. I always thought they merely howled. They not only howl, they yelp, bark, whine and yodel. Ben says "They sound like spastic, elastic-voiced party goers on an all-night binge".

So, just how "easy" was it? Alex and I were among the 81 runners who received a stuffed Javelina at the finish line, but there were 78 runners that went home without one. It has been almost a week now and we are still having trouble running. It will probably be two weeks before we are completely recovered, but already Ben is making plans for Rocky Racoon.