Dogettville 12 Hour Ultra Run: A Day On The Farm

A race recap from a race I didn’t run.

I close out Summer 2019 with another first. Spectating and crewing an Ultra. I ran a 100k, 4 person relay a few years ago, but this was a completely different set up. I spent most of the day under the shade of what is known to be one of North Carolina’s largest trees. But first, a little about how we got here.
My adventure seeking, endurance loving, warrior husband found the goal of a 12 hour race challenging and a must do. This is the guy who has paddled past the third island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and who only runs twice a week at most. In other words, nothing phases him. His love for endurance and adventure is one to take notice of. He’s up for it all. He’d never tell you any of this. His humility is part of why I love him. There’s not an ounce of ego there. One of his latest adventures was a 22+ mile hike from Sandbridge to Corolla on the beach. If you’ve ever hiked with him, you know it’s a full on experience. More of a deliberate march. In April, he also checked off the ultra distance of 31 miles in a local race. Obviously… the next logically step would be to tackle a 12 hour. He was all set to do so in August. The perfectly picked course and with all preparations made when our world was rocked. Two days before the scheduled event, we learned some sad news which pushed me into unexpected surgery that Friday. That particular race dream faded away. It felt like another heartbreak for me when I knew he wouldn’t get his day. Any runner or endurance athlete know the feeling. When a race is suddenly canceled or your unexpectedly sidelined for no reason. After a couple weeks of searching Jason found Doggettville. A little road trip might be just what we both needed. I was thrilled to tag along. The hope for me was to crew for him as he tested the 12 hour time frame. This would be a first for Jason and myself and we were excited.
From the minute we arrived in Greensboro we felt welcomed. The local Fleet Feet held packet pick up and the staff and race director couldn’t not have been nicer. We knew this was gonna be fun. Early Saturday morning we arrived to the course by 6. With 50ish people and a 50m walk to the start, we were good to go. I set up our station near the end of the mile long loop and started my crew duties. I would play the bartender, blending up the perfect ratio of tailwind to water. And of course we had an array of snacks. Which I ate most of.
Scarlett & Carolina

The people: If you’re looking to run far, this is the run for you. If you chasing any amount of distance and want support and fun, head south to Summerfield North Carolina near Greensboro. Saturday, The Doggett Family opened up their family property to runners with open arms. They were the most amazing hosts.  At one point, I observed four generations helping, cheering, cooking, and spectating with each other at the 6th annual race, not to mention the farm dogs, donkeys, and cows. This run was a family affair. Many spouses, friends, parents, and children of other runners were hopping in through the day to walk/run with their loved ones. Many even hit the course and surprised themselves. This community of trail runners and distance chasers is outstanding. Everyone was supporting each other, each only competing with themselves.  A fun loving group who appreciates the sport for what it is. Time on your feet!

runner pickles

Grills, music, and coffee were going all day. Tables were continuously being filled with provisions provided by the Doggett Family at the ready. It was like an epic tailgate party except instead of beer there was every flavor of tailwind imaginable, by the bag load. Let me elaborate more on the snacks. There was anything you could wish for. Options included: rice crispy treats, veggie burgers, seaweed snacks, rice balls, bacon, grilled cheese, watermelon, assorted candies -chocolate to gummies, and the BEST homemade salty pickles you’ve ever had.

 The course: The Doggettville course was beautiful! Clean and scenic through the family property and farm. With that came unfamiliar more difficult rocky terrain, especially when it’s on repeat for 12 hours. Let me remind you Virginia Beach is at sea level. Our local park has trails, of the dirt variety. According to my Garmin, this course was nearly 4 times the elevation of the Rudee Bridge run I did a couple days ago. This course, while gorgeous and sprawling, was deceiving. Mostly unpaved and nestled with an insane amount of uneven divots and again, those rocks. However the scenery changed so often on the mile loop, it made it go by quickly. Jason mentioned this course was more difficult than Blue Ridge. All that being said, I would absolutely recommend this race. If you’re looking to chase distance and test your limits, this is the race! The absolutely best supported race I’ve ever seen. Ideal as well for relay teams.

 The learnings: I learned a lot from simply being present for this 12 hour day.

1. Don’t overthink, just do. I witnessed 16 year old girl got 50 miles w 90 min to spare

2. Have the flexibility to abandon your way of thinking. Let go of a finely tuned plan.

3. You can have a great workout experience, when you least expect it.

4. Think beyond the strength you’ve shown. You have more.

A friend of a runner came to join her for 2 laps. She had completed 10 miles by the time she left! Absolutely amazing. If Jason had told me Friday that I’d be going 11 miles w him Saturday I would have: been nervous, tried to carb load, and basically would have planned it to death. Instead I enjoy a salad and veggies with dinner and a happy hour martini. Turns out, all that planning it’s not necessary. After surgery a few weeks ago, I shed any expectations or limits when it comes to what my body is capable of. So glad I did, cuz I’m just scratching the surface. My perspective of personal pain has completely shifted since our loss.

The results: These 12 hours were one big experiment for Team Cherry. Everyone we saw had a fine tuned system in place. As did we.  Jason was hydrated and nourished the entire time. Thanks the majority to Tailwind and beef jerky. He did toss back a few pickles, some watermelon, and bacon as the day grew long. He did it. 12 hours on his feet, logging 42 miles respectfully! That is completely epic in my book. Shattering his previous distance by 11 miles! It was a memorable adventure for us and one I am so glad I was there for. I can already tell you there’s more of these in our future. We have already started planning!

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