2014 Photos & Stories
Photos from reporter and 50 kilometer competitor, Peter Ickert. Includes his race report in German. (English translation, courtesy Google, appears at the bottom of this page.)
Photos by Peter Ickert
Photos by Josh Maxwell in Four Stakes Prairie and at Mud Tram aid station:
Photos by Jill Behr-Medved: Jill's album
"Official" race photographer, Rose Flynn, captured the start of the 25 kilometer race on video:
Rose Flynn's "Official" race day photos: Race folio
Rose Flynn Photo Gallery, including additional "Ultra" photos. Beautiful views of the Fakahatchee, the slough, animals and plants. Rose Flynn Gallery
Assorted photos from friends of the race: View here
Well-known Everglades photographer, Jay Staton, has some video cameras positioned along trails in the Fakahatchee. To quote Jay: "Changed out trail cameras the other day and found some footage of you weed eating 'Mud Tram'." It shows that we are really out there trimming trails to get them ready for race day: Video: Mud Tram prep, and friends
Race report from Dino Barone, race marshal and aid station manager, and Fakahatchee volunteer extraordinaire:
2014 EVERGLADES ULTRAS - Dino Barone: perspective from a volunteer
I am one of the fortunate volunteers who has been on the ground floor since the inception of the races in the summer of 2011, when this was first proposed to the Friends of Fakahatchee (FOF) Board of Directors, which I had the unique opportunity to serve as an Officer. Bob Becker, Race Director, Renée Rau Park Manager and Park Rangers spent a lot of time, endeavoring to develop a race course, in the largest strand swamp in the world, for the 50 mile, 50K and 25K events that would ideally be “dry” by race day. Well, most of course is dry, and “Mud Tram”, as the names truly denotes, has some soft areas.
There are approximately 60 miles of Trams, Prairies, and Janes Scenic Drive that need attention prior to the race. As Floridians know, once the combination of heat, humidity, and an annual rainfall of close to 70 inches descends upon this land, the vegetation goes into WWWWOOOO HHHOOOOO turbo growth. From June through November, due to the soft and wet condition on the trams (trails through the swamp), Park Rangers and volunteers can only transverse most of the areas with UTV’s and ATV’s, with some areas of deeper water that that we cannot touch until December. This is where the "FAKA-hackers", volunteers working in conjunction with Park Rangers, earn their sweat equity. Armed with chainsaws, double sided hedge trimmers, machetes, and loppers, we take on the vegetation, doing our best to avoid poison ivy, which seems to blanket the trams, like the ivy walls of Wrigley Field. Hey, lookie there, that is Bob Becker, live and in color, hacking and whacking his way, with other FAKA-hackers from the FOF or Ultra runners, doing our best to keep the trails open, while the ravenous swamp mosquitoes are trying to drain the last drop of blood available. Thank goodness for insect repellent, else Bob could be picked up and flown away by the mosquitoes. During our workdays, we can usually see some varieties of snakes here and there, while the gators are staying cool in the water until around midday when they encroach upon the land to find a dry sunny spot to warm up their scoots for thermoregulation.
To say the least, a full court press takes place from December until race day, with our FAKA-hackers flexing their muscles, swarming the Preserve to open up, manicure and mow the race course. There is careful coordination with the Park regarding equipment and vehicles and areas of focus, as this is the beginning of Prescribed Burns in the Prairies.
Two weeks until Race day, and now is where the fun really begins. Each course has to be clearly marked with the correct race colors ( blue for the 50 mile event, yellow for the 50K event, and pink for the 25K event ), as we do NOT want any runners blazing their unique trail in search of Yogi & BooBoo bear and a picnic basket. One last trip on the trams to see if any washouts are in need of a bridge, any deep ruts in need of filling, any collapsed culverts in need of attention or any last minute trimming needed.
One week until race day and time to put the jigsaw puzzle of assignments/logistics together: volunteers to aid stations, rangers and volunteers marshaling specific segments of the course, a supply runner, someone for drop bags, do NOT forget all the water and ice needed. Begin to stage tables and chairs at all the aid stations.
Race Day. It’s Show Time folks. By 4 AM the Park Campus comes alive. As my responsibilities/setup/marshaling are on the extreme north end of the Park for the 50 mile race, I am rendezvousing with other energetic volunteers before 6AM. It is still very dark with some light fog, as we slowly travel west on the tram. As we enter the strand, the tram is now more like a dark tunnel. Using the lights on the UTV and a million candle power hand-held spot light, we continue our travels. However, we are now encountering, invading and displacing spiders. Some smartly jump off the UTV after making visual contact recognizing I am the driver, while others must be delirious from the abrupt early morning displacement. Some are just thrill seekers, enjoying the ride with their noses turned up and their 8 legs firmly holding on. After about 20 minutes and a couple of shallow watery washouts, we safely arrive, and there is much joy and jubilation with the passengers. HHmmm. We offload the supplies and drop bags, double-checking to ensure this station has everything, then back in the UTV, with some visible light of daybreak approaching, and good golly more spider webs. Everyone keep your mouths shut, else you will be swallowing spiders. Arriving at Pennington Post around 7 AM. The 50 mile runners are already an hour into their adventures. We are 16.75 miles from the start line. We have time, yet a fair amount of prepping to do. I now drive back east to the first aid station set up. Thank goodness all the spider webs are now cleared, and the sun is slowing rising across Big Cypress and the eastern edge of the Fakahatchee. The kaleidoscope of hues fill the sky, filtered through the majestic Cypress trees, softy turning from purple to orange, then slowly a bright yellow. Thanks for polarized sunglasses. Arrive at the first aid station and no runners yet, but the anticipation is growing as we look south. And then, there they are, like whitetail deer in a methodical running rhythm, our first set of runners. Looking at these ultra-conditioned athletes, by looking at them, you have no idea if they just ran a mile or 12 miles. A quick stop, smiles and THANK YOU to the volunteers at the aid station and poof like the road runner (Beep-Beep) they are running to the next aid station. As all is wonderful, I head back west to my other station, doing some lopper work on a few stray palm fronds or small branches. For the next four hours I am full-time marshal, and part time Cheer leader. When a runner is in sight, I clap, WWOO HHOO and cheer the runners. Typically they will smile, give me a thumbs up, and one very energetic runner wanted a double high five up in the air. This made me smile.
By the time the runners get to Pennington Post, they are close to 17 mile into their 50 mile journey. Every runner that leaves the aid station, with sincere appreciation says THANK YOU to the aid station volunteers, who assisted or attended to any need such as filling water bottles with Heed or ice. They have cut up oranges or bananas, and prepared or displayed the multitude of products available for the runners. The runners are Amazing.
Later in the day, I went out to the aid station in Four Stakes Prairie. By now, the 50 mile and 50K runners have spent the last 20’ish miles running in the hot, sunbaked golden prairies, bookcased between Cypress Strands. As I saw runners approaching I would walk out about a 100 yards from the aid station and begin to clap, cheer and give them a hearty WWOO HHOO, trying to give them some positive energy and to let them know we do care for the runners and are there to provide any support. I enjoy talking with the runners until they reach the aid station, speaking about how they are feeling, the course they have run so far and what they still have in front of them. Again, once the runners have rested and recharged, consumed some food and or drink, before they depart the aid station, they were all so sincere in thanking the volunteers for their help.
The sun is now setting, temperatures are dropping and the shadows are growing longer Soon darkness will encase the Fakahatchee. At the big tent, the furious pace of activities is slowing, however we all know there are runners still on the course, battling fatigue, some nagging ankle or knee, muscles screaming, and whatever demons sitting on their shoulders trying to convince them to stop. These runners have been like the Energizer bunny to this point. They keep going and going and going; nothing is going to stop their stride. They are now single minded in their determination to finish what they started. With their head lights on, these last few runners make their way to the finish line to the cheers of loved ones so happy to see them and share in their accomplishment for all the hours and months of training. This is the runner's shining moment. I stand there at the finish line, clapping and cheering for these runners. I pause, smile and reflect. By and large, these athletes were happy with the courses and very respectful and appreciative of the volunteers. The Park never looked better.
Now it is time to clean up the tent site, break down all the equipment, load the supply truck back up, park all the vehicles back at the shop, turn off the lights and head home. I just cannot wait until the fourth running of the Everglades Ultra in 2015
Purple doo rag wearer
Peter Ickert's race report and magazine article (link above to original story and photos), translated from German by Google:
The order M4Y - book
22:02:14 - Special Event
Everglades Ultra Trail Run : Fortunately, not marshy
Author: Peter Schweickert
Author: Peter Schweickert
Running is in itself a challenge, trail running is there one better. And when the trail still leads by a particular landscape, the adventure. Whether mountains, desert, in the mine below ground, snow, or as it is now in the swamps. The only real trail Ultra I know that leads through swamps, is in the Everglades in Florida Fakahatchee Preserve State Park beach.
You have the choice between 25 km, 50 km and 50 miles. Since the 50 miles to be run partly in absolute darkness a little adventure, I was the result of the wildlife in the marshes but too much and I had decided on the day variation of 50 km.
I was in Florida, had between 2 dates in Miami and Largo the Saturday off and could therefore make the run, which also took place more precisely between these two cities.
So I set off in the morning from Miami at 3:30 clock to be on time to pick up the race packets at 6 clock in a state park. The start is near Copeland, a 100 inhabitants village in the middle of the Everglades, but still listed in my GPS.
The journey leads through the famous Tamiami Trail, a paved road across the Everglades. This road is also known as Alligator Alley , because you left and right tough anywhere, everywhere you can see these amazing animals are in the swamps. Well, now it was still dark and, as usual in national parks, strict speed limits apply at night, in this case of 45 miles, or about 70 km / h I realized soon why this is so, because in the spotlight but actually appeared on alligators that crossed the road. It's kinda scary, but if you go slowly, you can also respond in case of 45 miles, or about 70 km / h I realized soon why this is so, because in the spotlight but actually appeared on alligators that crossed the road. It's kinda scary, but if you go slowly, you can also respond
The journey leads through the famous Tamiami Trail, a paved road across the Everglades. This road is also known as Alligator Alley, because you all these amazing animals are in the swamps of left and right arrived Sean race number, it was still pitch black , but because the 25 km runners go later at the start, sufficient free parking was still present and I could go to the tent to give me the starting documents starting to pick up .
In addition to the starting number, there was also a nice functional shirt, of course with alligator on it, and a backpack. Was run with a chip to detect the intermediate times, and not possibly find the alligator that had the word runners breakfast misunderstood.
At 6:45 clock we went via shuttle to the launch site (about 6 km). There was also a bit bright and Bob, the race director, gave final instructions.
Since the growing season is continuous in the Everglades, had his team of volunteers and rangers used two weeks so as to cut the trail to some extent. However, reference was made to the local peculiarities, such as skin irritation caused by poison ivy, a climbing plant that acts as a strong nettle and of course the alligators.
Bob and the rangers show again point out that alligators normally avoid people and we would therefore probably not see any. If that would have been in the vicinity of the trail, they would have long since been displaced by the anticipated speed 50M - runners and the patroulierenden Ranger. Should we nevertheless encounter an alligator, we should him by the ausgehäFreilebende with the starting documents alligators were, despite their menacing appearance harmless to humans, and it was in Florida no known case where a wild alligator had attacked and injured a man.
That sounded everything quite well and to hear it from rangers seemed credible than it would have said any tourist guide.
© trailrunning.de 30 images
Then it started already punctually at 7.30 clock. The light fog also indicated already that the humidity was very high, at about 80%. The temperature at the start was 20 degrees and rose in the first hour already at a whopping 30 degrees. That made all the runners clearly to create. Even if the ground was not too wet, for now the winter is here too dry season, the ground was swampy and extremely resilient and accordingly debilitating.
The trail was marked very well but with colored ribbons and we ran mostly in small groups. The 100 participants came mainly from Florida and the climate were used to. Despite this (or because of) the also went to the race slowly. I had enough bottles there and that was a good thing, because the supply points were indeed well equipped, but , as usual, while trail running , a little further apart. Sometimes it was from one to another aid station 1.5 hours on the go. From time to time there were water points without staff and you could refill his bottles.
So much for the " technical aspects ". But what matters here is nature, it is simply stunning and a real experience. Everywhere you see the two native palm species: the saber palm to acknowledge the crossed old stems on the trunk, and the Cabbage Palm, from which the edible palm hearts are cut . Addition, however, also grow maple trees and mangroves, and of course all the Sawgrass. Saw here means really saw. Going from bottom sweeps up about it, it is smooth and safe. But can be spread from top to bottom, it acts with his teeth like a saw , causing corresponding cuts . Therefore, the hardworking crew had cut through the Sawgrassfelder for us a path. Thanks for that.
© trailrunning.de 32 pictures
On the way I met the second German participants, Jürgen Kuhlmey . He lives through the winter in Miami and in the summer in Germany, so he had a short journey.
Again and again we passed through water-conducting channels and saw many of the native birds such as the White Ibis and herons there. Sometimes it was believed also to see a submerged alligator, but there could be father to the thought , the desire .
I often stopped, a piece went back to accommodate the nature in me. It was beautiful, really unique!
The Everglades is the way, not really a true marsh, but the widest river in the world, which flows from north Florida to south and empties into the sea . It is approximately 1.5 meters per day flow rate and the slowest river in the world. The average water depth is about 30 cm. Then follow generally 10 to 20 cm sludge from dead plant remains and then starts including Limestone, a massive limestone layer.
That was a surprise to me and new, but what makes me even more astonished and delighted, was that I was able to collect fossils. This is my second hobby, besides running. Believe it or not, on some "open" Imagine there were actually fossilized shells and snails. Since I could not resist. Already kinda crazy: A German runner in the American Everglades, the stones put in the bags. But it made me even happier.
© trailrunning.de 22 pictures
After about 44 km we came to a gravel road, the " Janes Scenic Drive," which led us to the goal. Here 's what happened to two notable encounters. First came two cars, the first since I had left the shuttle over. The drivers were wondering first about the runners, then they fired at us.
Then the second: An alligator was besides the road and looked blankly at us runners. Since the path was quite wide, we were able to distance happen after a scary moment in "safe". The alligator did not move. After another kilometer we met a Ranger. The Advised us another alligator, but would also just lazy there. It was a real showpiece that could admire our existing from now four runners group.
© trailrunning.de 11 pictures
The great and insights into the Everglades continued and then we also saw (unfortunately ?) Already Situated on a lake destination. A short sprint and it was done.
7 hours 47 minutes, almost 2 hours below the target time and almost 40 runners behind me. Not so bad, I think. And yet one far more experience of this unique run.
At the finish, there was still a hearty barbecue and opportunity to greet the remaining finishers at the finish. Simply a very successful event. END