Cape Cod’s 6th annual “Frozen Fat Ass 50k” was held Saturday, January 28, at Sandy Neck Beach in West Barnstable. Though slightly windy at the 7:30 am start, the weather was as close to perfect as one could expect for January! This is a grueling course, and due to the mild temperatures Cape Cod has experienced this winter the sand was particularly soft. The rocky marsh trails, as well as
the unusually soft sand, offer runners an exceptional physical competition - a
true test of endurance. Competitors noted the no-frills, fun-loving atmosphere of the race and that the Cape welcomed the diverse group of ultra runners who had travelled from off-Cape for the event.
Runners chose from two options for the event - the 50k, which involved the completion of two 15.7-mile loops (nearly 32 miles total) and the 25k. which involved completion of just one loop. This year, a record number of runners competed (71 total participants), and all completed the course within the required 8 hours. Finishers received an embossed quahog shell.
Bob Jensen, race director, explained that his heart belongs to ultra running. He organized this race six years ago because there were no ultramarathons offered on Cape Cod (an ultramarathon is defined as a race with a distance of more than 26.2 miles, the tradional marathon distance). Ultras are unique in that there is little publicity, no medals, trophies, or cash prizes. His goal was to offer a fun race that truly defines Cape Cod, and the Sandy Neck course does just that. The first year the race was held there were seven participants, and the event has attracted
more participants each year since its inception. Bob completed the race several years ago, but now he devotes his full attention to organizing and running the race.
Assistant race director Pete Stringer is a running coach and long-time ultra competitor. He completed the 25k portion of this weekend’s race. As a young man he said he was fascinated with endurance training. He enjoyed organized athletics but found them to be rather limiting. He found endurance events to have a much greater emotional pay-off, and he discovered that the longer the race, the stronger he became. He discovered ultramarathons 20 years ago and fell in love. Prior to competing in ultrmarathons, Stringer said he had participated in road races and successfully completed 50 marathons.
But after running several 50-mile races he found he not only liked them, but he was also "really good at them." He also participated in the Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon (“The Race Across the Sky”) several times. This ultramarathon is held annually on trails and dirt roads that twist and turn through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. 100-mile races closely resemble hiking and a dedicated crew person is necessary for completion. Even now - at age 71 - Pete still competes just as seriously in ultra competitions.
For further reading, Pete recommends the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall.
A local runner and employee of Hanlon Shoes in Hyannis, Justin Neviackas participated in this weekend’s race. He was introduced to ultramarathons when he
crewed for a friend many years ago. He was intrigued and decided to participate in his first Ironman triathlon. In 2001, he competed in a double Ironman,
completing the course in 23 hours, 28 minutes, 52 seconds. He won it in record time, and his record stood for 10 years. Two years ago, he completed the 25k portion of the “Frozen Fat Ass 50k” when he was training for the Boston Marathon. Training for the full 50k this year, Justin’s 28- and 30-mile training runs went very well. He experienced no injuries and the training even helped him alter his eating habits.
Prior to this weekend's race, Neviackas said his goal was to “have fun.”
“Of all the things I've done – school, training, endurance events - that was hands down the most difficult thing I have ever done," Neviackas conceded after this weekend's race.
"I underestimated the sand big time. I ran the distance in training and ran a lot of trails but never 31 miles of sand. I guess they call it Sandy Neck for a reason. I basically crashed at mile 23-24. Every muscle in my legs was screaming with pain, every step of the way. My feet were beat up from the rocks since I didn't run in trail shoes. I will never run the full 31 again unless
someone is chasing me.”
He finished the 50k in 5:18.
25k results - MEN: 1. Jamie Zschau (2:07) 2. Julian Jamison (2:10) 3. John Martin (2:17) 4. Eric Nelson (2:23) 5. Norm Sheppard (2:24) 6. Scott Paptnode (2:24) 7. Will Daniels (2:25) 8. Randall Friedlian (2:34) 9. Clinton Morse (2:36) 10. Chris Cunningham (2:41) 11. Jeff List (2:41) 12. Pete Stringer (2:43) 13. Ben Kissam (2:45) 14. Keith Reilly (2:45) 15. Paul Ghelfi (2:49) 16. Blaise Aguirre (2:51) 17. David McPharson (2:52) 18. Willen Van Dijk (2:53) 19. Mike McKenna (2:55) 20. Eric Macklin (2:58) 21. Kristopher Karnavskas (3:00) 22. Bill Comp 3:01) 23. David Gigas (3:02) 24. Victor Couto (3:02) 25. Bob Richards (3:23) 26. Seth Amburso (3:26) 27. Jeff Heap (3:27) 28. James Rochelle (3:37) 29. Lucas Janulaitis (3:46) 30. Chris Marden (3:48) 31. Bill Dalrymple (4:24) WOMEN: 1. MollyAlesch (2:19) 2. Janel Aronson (2:44) 3. Caroline Muriama (3:03) 4. Marilyn Oberhart (3:05) 5. Anna Wilkins (3:23) 6. Diane Water (3:27) 7. Miriam Wilcox (4:01) 8. Betty Rose (4:34) 9. Mindy Parres (4:57)
50k results - MEN: 1. Gregg Stone (4:33) 2. Justin Contois (4:37) 3. Adam Wilcox (4:52) 4. Joe Wrobleski (5:06) 5. Gregg Lowe (5:07) 6. Dave Boudreau (5:13) 7. David Merkt (5:15) 8. Justin Neviackas (5:18) 9. Mark Kruger (5:31) 10. Neil Lacy (5:31) 11. Dean Barbera (5:36) 12. Anthony Parillo (5:55) 13. Kevin Mullen (5:57) 14. Fred Murolo (6:27) 15. Joe Polequin (6:29) 16. Steve Edwards (6:41) 17. Koa Hasegawa (6:55) 18. Doug Grey (7:00) 19. Carl Gustafson (7:16) 20. Glen Pacheco (7:30). WOMEN: 1. Colleen Murphy (5:24; 9th overall) 2. Francis Ambruso (5:43) 3. Brenda Phillips (6:25) 4. Bekki Wright (6:29) 5. Kirsten Wiley (6:57)
Are you interested in participating in an ultramarathon for a great cause? Tentatively scheduled for October 13-14, 2012, “Running Below the Noise” is a 100-mile race between Woods Hole and Provincetown. Participants are responsible for providing their own crew. This race will raise funds for the “Calmer Choice” nonprofit organization (teaching mindfulness in schools: http://calmerchoice.org/) For more information about this race please contact Bob Jenson at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in learning more about
The Cape Cod Ultra Society, contact Pete Stringer at email@example.com.